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Joe Cushing

Hall of Fame Class of 2014

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Joe Cushing is a pioneer and producer of modern ski area planning and design.

During his 35 year career, his contributions to skiing in North America significantly influenced what ski resorts are today and what skiers have come to expect from their favorite resorts.

In 1964, Cushing joined Sel Hannah’s company, Sno.engineering, which became the pre-eminent international ski area planning and design firm. Hannah’s leadership at the time led to his being inducted into the National Hall of Fame five years later. Cushing would take it to a whole new level. He had the ability to “read” a mountain and create a network of trails that catered to all skier ability levels. Together they developed techniques and standards that continue to guide ski area development today.

During the course of his career, Cushing was invited to explore more than 400 projects, of which more than 150 include some or all of his design influence. Many were built from scratch, while others were existing ski areas that renovated to modern standards. His influence can be seen at the many of ski areas in the United States, where trails flow gracefully down the mountain, lift capacity is balanced with terrain capacity and facilities are balanced with a comfortable carrying capacity. His work is now enjoyed at many resorts including Loon Mountain and Bretton Woods in New Hampshire; Sugarbush and Stratton Mountain in Vermont; Copper Mountain and Keystone in Colorado. He was involved in the design of Deer Valley in Utah from the very beginning until the near completion of the project on 1998. The resort has named a guest facility at the top of the mountain, Cushing’s Cabin, to recognize the key role he played in designing the famous resort.

In the 1980’s, he started to mento the younger planners that would carry forward his design legacy, including, Tim Beck (Vice President, Mountain Planning, Vail Resorts) and his son Chris (Mountain Planning Director, SE Group). They continue to utilize the techniques developed by him.

Career Highlights:

mid 1960’s: Created Ski Are Design Guidelines
1989: National Ski Area Design Award (Copper Mountain) Snow Country Magazine
1990: Best Overall Design (Deer Valley) Snow Country Magazine
1992: National Ski Area Design Awards (2) Snow Country Magazine
2008: New England Ski Museum “Spirit of Skiing” Award
2013: Carson White Quill Award, NASJA

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Hall of Fame Tribute Video


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