Meet Chuck Ferries, the first and only American man to have won the slalom in Kitzbuehel, Austria, in its 90 years of existence. I say man because, as it turns out, women raced there too, and Americans Linda Meyers and Penny Pitou tied for the win in 1960. Don’t feel bad if you didn’t know. Ferries didn’t either. So, when he declared he was the first American winner in 1962, it wasn’t long until he had a Linda on the phone with some news.
Unless you know your ski history inside and out, this story is full of surprises, like that. … How you can run away from home in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula at age 16, by hopping a train for the Rockies to chase a dream to ski race. How you get a private training session with one of the greatest skiers of the time, Buddy Werner, then go on to beat him and the rest of the world the very next week. How companies like Head skis and K2 changed the industry, and how Ferries ended up running such revolutionary companies like K2, known not only for its innovation in fiberglass but for its outlandish marketing campaigns. He also ran Scott, which started out as just a pole company, but years later under Ferries’ watch was almost singularly responsible for introducing mountain biking to the European market.
Chuck Ferries, lives in my home town of Sun Valley. Or, rather, I live in his home town. Every time we meet, I learn something new about the sport of skiing. I think you will too.