John P. Litchfield
Hall of Fame Class of 2002
John P. Litchfield began skiing at the age of four. Encouraged by his father, one of Maine’s pioneers in the sport and a licensed ski jumping judge, he became proficient in ski jumping, cross-country, downhill, slalom and giant slalom.
Johnny Litchfield, Dartmouth 1939, roommate of Dick Durrance, was a member of Dartmouth’s noted 1936-39 ski teams. He was on the American “A” Team and the World Championship teams of 1937. John was selected as member of the U.S. Olympic Jumping Team of 1940 which did not compete because war was breaking out in Europe.
Some highlights of John’s career follow:
• 1935 Placed 2nd, USEASA Ski Jumping Championships, Rumford, Maine, Class “B”
• 1936 Placed 2nd at Berlin, New Hampshire, Winter Carnival, Ski Jumping – Class ”A”
• 1937 U.S. Eastern Amateur Ski Association, Jackson, New Hampshire, placed 3rd in cross-country, 4th in slalom
• 1937 14th Annual Rumford, Minnesota, Winter Carnival, placed 3rd in ski jumping – Class “A”
• 1938 Dartmouth Winter Carnival, Hanover, New Hampshire, placed 3rd in ski jumping, 4th in Nordic combined, Dartmouth Ski Team placing 1st overall
• 1938 15th Annual Rumford, Minnesota, Winter Carnival, placed 2nd in ski jumping – Class “A”
• 1939 16th Annual Rumford, Minnesota, Winter Carnival, placed 2nd in ski jumping – Class “A”
• 1939 Dartmouth College Winer Carnival, Hanover, New Hampshire, placed 1st in ski jumping, 7th in cross-country and 3rd in Nordic combined, Dartmouth Ski Team placing 1st overall
• 1939 At U.S. try-outs for 1940 World Ski Championships (F.I.S.) in Oslo, Norway, held at Lake Placid, New York – placed 3rd in Nordic combined, thus selected for Group 2, Nordic Combined F.I.S. World Ski Championships and Olympic Winter Games
• 1940-42 Ski Instructor, Sun Valley Ski School, Sun Valley, Idaho
• 1942 U.S. National Downhill and Slalom Championships, Yosemite, California – placed 2nd in downhill, 7th in slalom, tied for 7th in combined
• 1942 Harriman Cup Alpine Ski Races, Sun Valley, Idaho, placed 2nd in slalom
• 1942-45 10th Mountain Division, World War II
• 1946-48 Co-Director Aspen Ski School
• 1947 Southern Rocky Mt. Ski Association Downhill and Slalom Championships, Aspen, Colorado, placed 1st in slalom, 7th in downhill, 3rd in alpine combined
• 1949-51 Ski Instructor, Head Instructor, then Executive Director of Sun Valley Ski School, Sun Valley, Idaho
• 1951 Sun Valley Diamond Sun Award
• 1951 President of Pacific Northwest Ski Association, a division of the U.S. National Ski Association
• 1951-52 Korean War
• 1953 Executive Director of Sun Valley Ski School
• 1980-86 Rocky Mt. Ski Association Colorado Veterans Masters Series Races
• 1987-95 Recreational Skiing
In 1945-46, Friedl Pfiefer, Percy Rideout and Johnny Litchfield, all 10th Mountain Division veterans, established Aspen’s first ski school as co-directors – no contracts, no guarantees. Pay was whatever revenue the ski school generated. Jean Litchfield, Johnny’s wife was an associate. Aspen’s first chairlift opened unofficially on December 14, 1946 but the official opening occurred on January 11, 1947 with a parade of 10th Mt. Division veterans and a ride up to the almost finished Sun Deck. Johnny Litchfield presented a plaque to the Tenth’s veterans.
Johnny then purchased Tim Gallagher’s small run down saloon, the Red Onion, and converted it into Aspen’s prime gathering spot. Johnny eventually moved to Sun Valley and became director of that resort’s ski school.
Johnny Litchfield, a prime time player in the early days of Aspen’s development as a ski center, was elected to the U.S. National Ski Hall of Fame in 2002 and the Colorado Ski Hall of Fame in 2002.
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