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Luggi Foeger

Hall of Fame Class of 1973

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Information submitted in a nomination letter to the U.S. National Ski Hall of Fame by Historian, Bill Berry.

Skiers who knew Luggi Foeger rated him as “one of the true complete mountain men” of the world. When he was young his skiing and mountaineering flourished in the Austria’s Tyrol. As an adult he became acclaimed throughout North America as a beloved top international competitor turned ski teacher, mountain trooper, photographer, motion picture director, area developer and a homespun landscape architect whose ski slope development techniques were applauded by conservation-minded experts.

Luggi Foeger’s blue-blooded ski heritage reached back to the grand old man himself – Hannes Schneider. In 1938 Luggi was given 24 hours grace to depart his homeland by Hitler’s Nazis who in the meanwhile tossed Schneider into jail. The same group of American skiers who eventually secured Schneider’s release and sponsored the great one to America also became instrumental in establishing Luggi in the United States and Canada as a moving force in ski programs – having the support of the National Ski Association of America and the Canadian Amateur Ski Association. At the request of Dr. Don Tressider of Yosemite, Luggi reached California just ahead of World War II to head up the ski school at Badger Pass. Foeger was a member of the 10th Mountain Division. His onetime commanding officer, H.E. Link, Colonel USAR, told how:

“During his tour of duty, Luggi made many important contributions to the research and development of the original system of military skiing which was adopted then and has been used by the United States Army with few modifications ever since. Luggi also contributed immeasurably to the publication of the first United States Army Field Manual on military skiing. In the summer of 1943, Luggi served with me as a supervisor in the original Military Assault Climbing School at Camp Hale and the West Virginia Maneuver Area. Because of his outstanding abilities and judgement, Luggi was continually called upon for his advice and opinions during the decision-making process while the 10th was mobilizing and training at Camp Hale. He worked closely with Minnie Dole during our somewhat turbulent days at Camp Hale and kept Minnie advised with invaluable ‘grass root’ information whenever a crisis arose.”

In the mid-fifties, Luggi briefly moved in and out of ski teaching to become a movie maker in Hollywood. Behind him there was experience in such world-famous films of the early thirties as “Ski Chase,” preceded by “The Wonder of the Snow-Shoes,” “The Fox Hunt on Skis” and others.

And then there was ski racing.

Although dimmed by his other accomplishments, Luggi raced for the Ski Club of Arlberg during the 1926 to 1932 era. His successes included: placing second, third and fourth in six Parsen Derbies, in the Arlberg-Kandahar always placing within the top ten and as high as fourth, winner of the Schwarzwald Race and also held a second place. In 1929 Luggi won the Voralberg Championship at Bodelle, a downhill; he also captured the downhill Tschagguns in 1928 and at that time was selected to the Austrian F.I.S. Team. In America his racing career was brief but included placing on top in the prestigious Far West Kandahar at Yosemite in1939 – an event which he subsequently directed on several occasions, including its last time out in the Far West Division.

It was former USSA President Byron Nishkian who persuaded Luggi to give up Hollywood for the snowy slope at Alpine Meadows. “It just seemed unthinkable to me that Luggi Foeger shouldn’t be teaching skiing somewhere,” Byron recalled. Soon after Byron and friends had put together planning for Alpine Meadows, a delegation appeared at the Foeger residence in Manhattan Beach and the man with a blue-blooded ski heritage was on his way back to the Sierra Nevada ski country.

Luggi Foeger was elected to the U.S. National Ski Hall of Fame in 1973.

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