A star-studded group of eight noted skiing athletes and sport builders has been announced as inductees to the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame’s Class of 2017. They will be formally inducted next April in Olympic Valley, CA, the site of the 1960 Olympic Winter Games.
Among the inductees are freestyle icon “Airborne” Eddie Ferguson, freestyle’s somersault king Herman Goellner and legendary cross-country coach Marty Hall. Also joining the class are two of the most accomplished ski mountaineers alive – twin brothers Mike and Steve Marolt, along with the late 130 mph world record holder in alpine speed skiing, Steve McKinney. Rounding out the Class of 2017 is the local motor sport and snowboard pioneer Shaun Palmer and Thom Weisel, a passionate fundraiser for the U.S. Ski Team whose work over four decades helped to bring home more than 200 Olympic and World Championship medals.
Nomination of Thom Weisel
Hank Tauber, Highest Ranking US FIS Member for decades
John Cumming, President, Powdr Corporation
Submission to Committee:
In the past decade, the U.S. Ski Team has risen to its highest level ever as an acknowledged world leader whose athletes have greatly raised the awareness of skiing in America. Success at this level comes from leadership and vision. Over the span of four decades, no other individual has had such a sustained impact on the U.S. Ski Team and the success of America’s best-in-the-world Olympic athletes as Thom Weisel. His leadership, innovation and fundraising savvy have made a very direct and positive difference in the lives of U.S. Ski Team athletes.
While often credited with financial support, Weisel’s overarching contribution has been his vision of excellence and constant connectivity with the sport over many years. His engagement has touched over 200 Olympic and World Championship medals.
A highly accomplished elite speed skater, Weisel built a passion for skiing in his early days as a rising business star in San Francisco. In 1977, he channeled that passion into becoming one of the key supporters of the newly established U.S. Ski Educational Foundation. In the years to follow, Weisel provided both financial and leadership support that has touched hundreds and hundreds of Olympic skiers and snowboarders.
As chair of the Team’s Foundation during the pivotal period from 1983-94, his leadership helped to raise tens of millions of dollars to support U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association programs. His drive, passion and genuine love for athletes have kept him intimately involved in the USSA for 35 years. He was recognized by the USSA in 1999 with its highest honor, the Julius Blegen Award, and is considered one the most influential leaders in the more than 100 year history of the USSA.
U.S. skiers and snowboarders won 21 medals in Vancouver – Best in the World! The team came back four years later in Sochi, Weisel’s tenth Olympics, where 17 athletes won medals – including a record eight gold. Thom Weisel’s vision and personal dedication to the support of America’s ski athletes makes him a deserving candidate to be honored in the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame:
1977: Thom Weisel begins tenure as trustee for the newly formed U.S. Ski Team Educational Foundation.
1983: Weisel begins long term as chairman of USSEF, piloting it through changing times and dramatic modernization of sport.
1988: Weisel plays key role in consolidation of the U.S. Ski Team’s Foundation with the then U.S. Ski Association to create a centralized organization for the management of skisport in America.
1994: Weisel steps down as chairman, but remains one of the Team’s strongest supporters.
1999: The USSA honors Weisel with its highest honor, the Julius Blegen Award.
2009: The USSA’s national training and education facility, the Center of Excellence, opens with Thom as one of most influential leaders in the first 100 years of the USSA.
2010: Weisel is a major financial supporter of a team that saw 17 athletes win a record 21 medals at the Vancouver Olympics.
2011: The USOC recognizes Weisel with its prestigious George Steinbrenner Award. 2014: In his tenth Olympics as one of the Team’s top supporters and visionaries, U.S. athletes win 17 medals, including a record eight gold.
Since Thom Weisel’s engagement with the U.S. Ski Team in 1977, U.S. skiers and snowboarders have won over 250 Olympic or World Championship medals. Weisel’s impact came not only through personal support but by building a network of supporters from the highest level of American business, playing a role in recruiting over 100 trustees. Weisel and the network of trustees he recruited have provided direct financial support in excess of $100 million to U.S. athletic programs.
Weisel was a five-time national speed skating champion in the 1950s, masters skiing national medalist and three-time world champion in masters cycling. His athletic accolades are only a part of his diverse career. He has directed an impressive array of business enterprises and has served on numerous boards.
Other comments to the Nominating Committee:
Bill Marolt, Former President and CEO, U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association
Thom Weisel’s unwavering passion for athletics has directly benefited our athletes for nearly four decades. His vision, as well as an amazing ability to draw a focus and persevere to achieve a goal, has been a key component in our athletes’ ability to become best in the world in their sport.
Dexter Paine, Trustee and Chairman, U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association
Thom’s leadership of the U.S. Ski Team Foundation Board during the early and mid-1990’s and his involvement with the hiring of Bill Marolt as CEO set the stage for the success the U.S. Ski Team has enjoyed over the last decade. His selfless devotion to the sport of skiing has benefited thousands of athletes.
Phil Mahre, Olympic Champion
Thom Weisel has a passion for the sport of skiing and has always been a huge supporter of the U.S. Ski Team. During my career, every World Cup race that Thom attended, I was victorious. I remember him wishing me luck at the 1984 Olympics the night before the slalom in Sarajevo. Referring to Steve and me, he said he’d like a gold and silver medal performance, and it didn’t matter who won. Luck was on my side that day. A few seasons ago I bumped into Thom at Park City. He was there supporting his son who was competing in FIS races. Although it seems like yesterday, almost thirty years have passed since my retirement from competition. But Thom is still committed to the athletes and their quests to be the best in the world.