Hall of Fame Class of 1966
Through his famous radio broadcasts, many directly from famous ski areas, Lowell Thomas lured many people into trying the sport he so loved.
Lowell Thomas was born on April 6, 1892 in Woodington, Ohio and was raised in Cripple Creek, Colorado. He began his career as a journalist after graduating from the University of Denver.
Thomas was a war correspondent in Italy during WWI. In 1917 he was introduced to skiing by the Italian Alpine Troops of Monta Rosa, near the border separating Northern Italy from Austria.
He began skiing for recreation in 1926, “right on these rolling slopes of Quaker Hills,” as he recalled, near his home in Pawling, New York.
During the first Winter Olympic Games at Lake Placid in 1932 Thomas signed up for lessons from Norwegian, Erling Strom, who had been hired to teach members of the Lake Placid Club. When Katharine Peckett of Sugar Hill, New Hampshire brought over the first Austrian ski instructors, Thomas was introduced to the Arlberg technique of swift down mountain running and high-speed turns. He was soon a ski enthusiast.
Beginning in 1930 Lowell Thomas and the News went out over the airways five times a week for 45 consecutive years. Ten million faithful listeners tuned in to each broadcast.
From the appearance of the first rope tow set up by Bunny Bertram at Woodstock, Vermont in 1934 to the opening of Sun Valley in 1937, Thomas was on the scene. As ski areas developed throughout North America he could be found among the first skiers on the slopes. As a public figure, he as a wonderful ambassador for the sport of skiing and often found an excuse to broadcast from a ski area. His famous sign off after each broadcast was “So long until tomorrow.”
No cautious skier, Thomas paid his dues by breaking both legs and his collar bone over the years. In 1972 he was named an honorary member of the National Ski Patrol.
With President Gerald Ford, he served as honorary co-chairman of the Ski Hall of Fame building fund drive.
America’s most famous broadcast journalist, adventurer and ski enthusiast died on August 29, 1981.
Lowell Thomas was elected to the U.S. National Ski Hall of Fame in 1966.
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