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Marriott Library’s Ski Affair Reboots, Rebrands

By Mike Korologos

After a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the J. Willard Marriott Library’s Ski Affair will return to its place atop the friends, food and awards meter on Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2022.

With the re-emergence of the event comes a new venue – the Cleone Peterson Eccles Alumni House on the University of Utah campus. In addition, the archive has a new name – The Ski & Snow Sports Archives – and updated logos and branding. Activities will start with the popular silent auction and social hour at 6 p.m., followed by dinner and an awards program at 7 p.m.

And true to its 30-year tradition, the event will honor those who have made significant contributions to the region’s ski and snow sport industry. The 2022 awardees are the University of Utah Ski Teams of the past 75 years, the late Pat Miller who coached the U ski teams to nine national championships, and a ski archives volunteer.

The University of Utah Utes Ski team celebrates winning the NCAA Championship at Soldier Hollow in Midway, Utah on Saturday, March 12, 2022. (Photo by Nick Grace/University of Utah)

As per its custom, this fundraising event will provide attendees a festive evening of friendship renewals, silent auction bargains, fine food and lively video flashbacks.

All proceeds from the Ski Affair help promote and preserve the history of skiing in the Marriott Library’s expansive Ski and Snow Sports Archives, founded in 1989 and today comprise the largest collection of skiing and snow sport history in the country.

University of Utah Ski Teams to Receive History-Maker Award
Jubilant U. ski team members hoist university president David P. Gardner (left) and ski team coach Pat Miller on their shoulders after winning their first NCAA championship in 1981.

The University of Utah Ski Team, who will receive the History-Maker Award for being the U.’s most successful athletic program during their tenure and the current NCAA champions. Whoever first uttered the phrase “nothing succeeds like success” must have had the University of Utah Ski Team in mind.

Need proof? How about the string of successes. During their 75-years of existence, the U.’s ski teams have become the most successful athletic program in school history. And they have a school-record 15 – that’s one five – national championships to prove it. That remarkable record includes the 2019, 2021 and 2022 NCAA titles.

What’s more, many of the prominent U. skiers and snowboarders who plied the slopes and jumping hills of the Intermountain West over the decades went on to All-American, Olympic and international acclaim.

Names of some of those early-day skiers are deeply etched in the bedrock of ski history in Utah: Jack Reddish, Dev Jennings, Steve Nebeker, George Romney, Bill Hawkins, Darrell “Pinky” Robinson, Dick Mitchell, Spence Eccles, Mary Melville, Bill Spencer, Alan Engen, Karen Korfanta, Mary Lou Sine, Bob Irvine, Jean Saubert, Jim Gaddis, Ron Steele and Toril Forland.

And that beat continues to this day with alpine and Nordic skiers such as Scott Hoffman, John Aalberg, Luke Bodensteiner and Miles Havlick.

Title IX was signed into law 50 years ago which allowed women to compete on the ski team and other sports. Women were not allowed to compete in NCAA skiing until 1983. Some Utah women achieving national championships include Kathy Kreiner, Bente Dahlum, Anke Friedrich, Christl Hager, Katja Lesjak-Waters, Maria Graefnings and most recently Julia Richter, Sydney Palmer Leger, Sophia Laukli and Novie McCabe.

The team’s storied history, which began in the early 1940s as a collegiate ski club, continues to add champion-tinged chapter after chapter… like three straight NCAA titles and 15 national crowns since 1978, when the Utes penned their names into the record books as champions.

Pat Miller to Posthumously Receive S.J. (Joe) Quinney Award

The late Pat Miller, who coached the U.’s ski teams to nine national championships, posthumously will be awarded the S. J. (Joe) Quinney Award for Outstanding Contributions to Skiing.

The late Pat Miller was a winner… as an athlete, coach, gourmet chef and master gardener. Winning was in Miller’s DNA. By masterfully using his uncanny ability to identify talent and have it reach its highest levels of achievement, Miller instilled the winning spirit into those under his tutelage.

Most notable of that group were members of the University of Utah Ski Teams from 1974 to 2000 when the U. won nine national collegiate championships, one men’s NCAA National Championship and one Women’s Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) National Championship.

In addition, during Miller’s tenure at the U., 251 skiers achieved All-American status, 46 were individual national collegiate champions and 10 were named members of the U.S. Olympic Teams. Many have been inducted into Halls of Fame across the country. Those accomplishments are at the core of the U’s 75-year-old ski program being the most successful in school history.

And those accomplishments are a primary reason Miller posthumously will receive the J. Willard Marriott Library’s coveted S. J. (Joe) Quinney Award at the 2022 Ski Affair. Miller, who died in 2013 at the age of 65, was a native of Mexico, Maine, where he was a four-year, four-sport high school athlete and the National Junior Cross-Country Ski Champion in 1965. While attending Ft. Lewis College in Durango, CO, he was named All-American in Nordic combined in 1970 and in 2001 was inducted into the school’s hall of fame.

Pat Miller coached the University of Utah to nine NCAA championships during his tenure from 1974-2000.

He was a member of the U.S. National Nordic Combined Team from 1968 to 1970 and an alternate on the 1968 U.S. Olympic team which competed in Grenoble, France. Miller’s other accolades include being Rocky Mountain Inter-collegiate Coach of the Year; Coach of the Year at the U. in 1963; a member of the Ft. Lewis College Athletic Hall of Fame, the Maine Ski Hall of Fame, and the Intermountain Ski Hall of Fame. He also was the recipient of the Ski & Snow Sports Archives’ Sue Raemer Volunteer of the Year Award.

Sue Raemer Volunteer Award

Given to a volunteer who has made exemplary contributions to the Ski Affair. The award is named for the late Sue Raemer, a parttime Alta ski instructor and executive assistant to the Director of Libraries at the U.’s J. Willard Marriott Library. In 1989 she co-founded the Archives with Dr. Greg Thompson, then assistant director for Special Collections at the library. When Sue passed away in 1995 the library, the Ski Archives board of volunteers and her husband John and sons Chris and Corey collaborated to establish the Sue Raemer Award. It recognizes a volunteer who exemplifies Sue’s zeal for community services and history. The winner will be announced at the event.

Ski Affair
Wednesday, October 26; 6 P.M.
University of Utah Alumni House
Tickets are sold out. Click here to participate in the auction.

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