Thor C. Groswold
Hall of Fame Class of 1970
Thor Groswold was a competitive four-event skier, an official on the club, regional and national levels and a pioneer ski manufacturer whose well-designed products tracked snow all over North America.
A long record of active participation in skiing affairs made Thor C. Groswold a classic example of a sport builder at the divisional, national and international levels. Born in Kongsberg, Norway on October 28, 1895, Groswold skied competitively in his homeland before coming to the United States in 1923 to settle permanently in Colorado and become a leading light in the Denver-Rocky Mountain Ski Club.
Groswold was first a championship skier in both the nordic and alpine phases; secondly he was a top- ranking club, divisional and national ski association official; and thirdly he was a pioneer ski manufacturer whose products blanketed North America.
Thor Groswold’s competitive record was outstanding: 1924, first in Interstate Ski Jumping; 1925 and 1926, first places in Colorado Ski Association jumping tourneys; 1927, President of the Denver Ski Club and third place rider in Class “B” division of the National Championships staged at Inspiration Point; 1928 winner of the U.S. Western Ski Association’s Class “A” Jumping Championship, delegate to and competitor in the National Ski Association’s combined convention and annual tourney at Red Wing, Minnesota; 1933 winner of the first divisional alpine championships ever staged in the United States, sweeping the downhill, slalom and combined titles of the U.S. Western Amateur Ski Association (this was a few weeks after the NSA agreed to sanction alpine competitions, which had been held previously by the Intercollegiate Winter Sports Union).
Thor founded the Groswold Ski Company in 1934, simultaneously continuing his competitive career and stepping up other ski-related activities. He became a top ski jumping judge and a founder of the Zipfelberger Ski Club (after helping found the Arlberg Ski Club). Thor was a co-founder of the Arapahoe Basin ski area and a mover in the creation of the Berthoud Pass and Winter Park areas.
During World War II, Thor was a “father confessor” to many of the 10th Mountain Troopers. As Colorado’s Larry Jump noted, “His continuous involvement in junior skiing, jumping particularly; his role as a founder of ski clubs, his experiments with ski equipment from poles to bindings to skis and edges, the love of skiing he inculcated in his sons, the countless hours spent training officials, the many jumping competitions he judged, the various people he helped; these are but a few of the reasons he deserves fitting recognition as one of America’s great friends of skiing.”
As a ski manufacturer, Thor Groswold watched the sport boom, in part because of the downhill skis he designed in collaboration with Otto Schniebs, coach of Dartmouth College. Groswold provided equipment for Olympic competitors and other athletes. Although involved in the commercial side of skiing, his basic philosophy over the years was always, “You put back into skiing more than you take out.”
Thor Groswold was elected to the U.S. National Ski Hall of Fame in 1970.
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