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Cottonwood Heights Journal

Ski & Snowboard News / Olympic visionary and snow safety team honored at Ski Archives gala

Nov 07, 2018 09:05AM ● By Harriet Wallis

Honoree Howard Peterson (r) is warmly congratulated by Ski Archives Advisory Board members Tom Nielson (l) and Richard Hughes / photo: Harriet Wallis

While the 2002 Winter Olympics plans were on the drawing board, soft spoken Howard Peterson, executive director of the U.S. Ski Team, rallied officials to build venues that would endure as training sites long after the Games were over.

Soldier Hollow, a venue of rolling hills and vast open space in Midway, became the 2002 Olympic Games venue for cross-country, biathlon, and Nordic combined.

And since the Games, thousands of children have been introduced to the sports there, and it's a renowned training site for elite international athletes.

Peterson earned the Joseph Quinney Award at the recent Ski Archives gala in Salt Lake City. The award is named for the late ski visionary and founder of Alta.

The other top award, the J. Willard Marriott Library History-Maker Award, went to the Utah Avalanche Center and U.S. Forest Service.

The Utah Avalanche Center and the U.S. Forest Service work hand-in-hand to educate snow-lovers so they can "stay on top of the snow and not be buried underneath it."

The avalanche team / photo: Harriet Wallis

Educating the public is crucial. Avalanches play no favorites.

In 2003 on the day after Christmas, 3 young snowboarders hiked into the back country to try their new gear. An avalanche swept them to their deaths.

As a result, and with the support of the snow safety team, forecaster Craig Gordon spearheaded the "Know Before You Go" program -- basic avalanche savvy 101.

The program was presented to every outdoor group possible: snowmobilers, Boy Scouts. high schools. And then the program went worldwide.

What is Ski Archives?

The Utah Ski Archives is the country’s largest ski history research organization and repository of historic material. The Archives collection currently contains 500,000 images, 250 manuscripts and 6,000 audio, video and films.

Every year it holds a gala fundraiser to help support its mission. And the gala honors individuals and organizations that set a high mark for their influence on the ski industry.

The Ski Archives collection is open to the public and is located in the University of Utah campus library.