American ski racing lost a giant Monday, when George Macomber passed away at age 88 in his sleep. The Macomber name is synonymous with racing in New Hampshire and around the East. Named to the U.S. Ski Hall of Fame in 1973, Macomber skied until he was 84, and supported racing with his soul and checkbook, recently contributing $500,000 to the opening of the Mittersill alpine training facilities at Franconia Notch.
A member of the 1948 and 1952 Olympic teams, he also competed in the 1950 World Championships at Aspen.
He was the 1949 national downhill and combined champion and his sister Gail won the women’s downhill crown the same year.
Macomber teamed up with Brooks Dodge, Malcolm McLean and Mack Beal to build Wildcat Mountain in New Hampshire in the 1950s. He was an early member and president of the U.S. Eastern Alpine Ski Association and held membership number 100015.
He was instrumental in constructing ski hills and installing snowmaking at Eaglebrook School; Wolfeboro, N.H.; the Dartmouth Skiway; and Mittersill. He served as a member of the U.S. Ski Team Foundation and won several national Masters racing championships.
He graduated from MIT with a degree in mechanical engineering and served as president and CEO of George BH Macomber Builders and Macomber Development Associates. The firm built the New England Aquarium’s IMAX theatre and renovated Faneuil Hall Marketplace and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.
George and his wife Andy contributed $1 million to establish the Macomber Family Endowed Scholar for Cardiovascular Performance Innovation at Massachusetts General Hospital. The hospital’s cardiovascular performance program is the first nationally to explore cardiac care for competitive athletes.
He is survived by his wife, Andy, a former USSA official, sons John and Jory and a daughter Grace Bird. All three children served as Dartmouth Ski Team captains, a legacy currently being carried out by one his eight grandchildren.
His son Jory reports George had asthma as a youngster and was the smallest child in school, hampering the ability to compete athletically. His mother was familiar with skiing from a college exchange program in Grenoble, France, and so his parents bought a learn-to-ski book and taught George the basics on hills near Newton, Mass. They would take the train to Hanover where he took lessons from Ford Sayre. He began racing at the Eaglebrook School in Greenfield, Mass. After World War II, Macomber spent a winter at Alta working for Alf Engen, and then two seasons at Sun Valley. He also received some instruction from Dartmouth coach Walter Prager.