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.

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A former U.S. Ski team downhill racer turned writer then broadcaster, Porino hails from a family of skiers. He put on his first pair of skis at age three. By six, he had entered the world of racing, and in 1981, at the age of 14, he enrolled in the Burke Mountain Ski Academy in Burke, Vt. In 1988, he earned a spot as a downhill racer on the U.S. Ski team and raced for the national team until 1992. Porino also coached the Snowbird Ski team in Utah from 1993-96 while completing his communications degree at the University of Utah. He currently resides in Sun Valley, Idaho, with his wife Amanda, daughters and son, and he still enjoys hitting the slopes.

10 COMMENTS

  1. Good one! He has been a very influential guy in the Ski World! Ha, i had a pair of those purple and yellow Pre skis, like Chuck`s, and it was a great all mountain ski for back then. I skied em at Mount Bachelor, good crud ski

  2. When I was a teenager in Alaska I got to ski one time with Chuck. He helped me get a pair of customized ski boots. If I remember correctly he won the slalom nationals in 64 at Alyeska beating Buddy Werner. It was a great watching both of them ski. Good memories!

  3. EXCELLENT! Love hearing from the wise ones! The guys and gals that were there when the sport was young and wild! What a life and such great stories. Thanks for the interview!!

  4. Chuck, gave CUSSA alpine racers, a
    reason to hope. Minn., Wisc., Mich
    has some hot racers, who had real
    dreams. Clubs like Blizzard, Continental, Lutzen/ Grand Marias,
    Tatra, all had great racers. Joynes,
    Nabozney, Tofte, Nelson. We all
    looked up to Chuck. He was our home boy. Thanks Chuck, you
    were the Midwest hope.

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