Tradition: Ski School staff hailed from varied backgrounds

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This column is brought to you by the Flathead Valley Ski Education Foundation and the Ski Heritage Center Museum of Skiing. Enjoy these fascinating stories about the rich and colorful history of skiing in the Flathead Valley.

That was then…

Twenty-five years ago, Karl Hinderman had a staff of 12 instructors in his Ski School at The Big Mountain. There were four rookies that fall of 1972. Tim Hinderman and Mike Porcarelli had been skiing for the University of Colorado for three seasons and were members of the NCAA. Championship Team. Mike, a native of Upper Michigan, competed for the Central Division in three Junior National ski championships and Tim represented the Northern Division at Junior Nationals.

Also new in the school from Spokane, a member of the MSU track team and two-year record holder for pole vault was Dick Prugh. Dick skied three Junior Nationals for the Pacific Northwest, and at college was Big Sky Ski Champion in 1970. A University of Montana graduate from Polson, Craig Webb was the other first-year man. Craig had four years teaching experience and was “a skiing stylist and deep-powder expert.”

Returning that winter were Jamie Lenon, an All-American and honor graduate of Montana State University. During the previous season Jamie coached Northern Division juniors in addition to teaching school classes. Also returning was Reidar Solberg. Reidar was voted most popular ski instructor by all The Big Mountain employees and spent his summers as a professional salmon fisherman off the Northwest coast.

Carol Coffee had taught at Snow Bowl and Bogus Basin before she came to the Hinderman School in 1968. Al Raddatz, “always much in demand for private lessons and class instructor and popular week­end coach of the Beginning-to-Race class”, was back for his fifth season ... that winter 25 years ago. Mark Schmidt, from the Twin Cities in Minnesota, spent two seasons with the ski patrol before joining the Ski School in 1967.

Dick Peterson had been a skier for 30 years and an instructor for 12 when he returned that season in 1972. Rob Tiernan was an examiner for the Northern Division Ski Instructors Association, in addition to Ski School teaching. He reported for his tenth year.

Working with Ski School director Karl Hinderman was Martin Hale as co-director of the Ski School and director of racing. Very popular with skiing guests of The Big Mountain since 1957. Martin was “well known locally and throughout the state for his contribution to the sport and ranked nationally among the finest junior coaches.”

From the Whitefish Pilot, Oct. 9, 1972.

This is now…

FVSEF Athlete Ian Calaway Receives Scholarship: Ian Calaway was recently awarded a scholarship by the Far West Ski Association Athletic Scholarship Committee. This is an award that includes consideration of not only excellence in athleticism but also academics, citizenship and other criteria. The scholarship is designed to offset training expenses and event entry fees.

Ian has done the hard work to demonstrate in all areas his commitment to skiing and excellence on and off the slopes. Congratulations Ian!

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