The skiing and ski racing communities are reeling from the death of Winter Park stalwart Bob Dart, who died at the resort of a suspected heart attack on Nov. 17. He was 64.
Dart served many roles in skiing nationally, and he served internationally as current chairman of the International Ski Federation’s Committee for Alpine Skiing – Intercontinental Cups, further serving with the NorAm Subcommittee, which he chaired in alternating years for decades.
He was a 20-year president of USSA’s Rocky Mountain Division Board of Directors, specifically representing the Colorado Ski Education Foundation.
Dart was former chairman of the USSA Alpine Sports Committee and was the alpine representative to the USSA board of directors and a member of the executive committee. He also served with the seven man Alpine Judicial Committee.
As an international technical delegate, he served as the TD for the 2011 World Cup Hahnenkamm races at Kitzbuehel, and was the TD for the men’s events of the 2005 World Ski Championships in Bormio, Italy.
In 2011, he was recognized with the John J. Clair Award for service to USSA, and in 2007 earned the Bud and Mary Little Award for long-term service as a FIS and USSA technical delegate and committee member. He also won the Paul Bacon Award in 1992 for service to USSA events and the Westhaven Award in 2006 for his work as a USSA and FIS TD.
USSA President Tiger Shaw underscored the depth of Dart’s contribution to U.S. skiing, saying: “As both a volunteer and a ski area professional, Bob Dart was the quintessential USSA supporter, dedicating much of his life to serving athletes as a competition official, mountain manager, committee leader and technical delegate. His vast experience and wisdom will be missed. He embraced the USSA wholeheartedly early in his career at Winter Park, and was tireless in his work for athletes and support of alpine ski racing.”
In his day job, Dart was director of mountain maintenance for Winter Park and Intrawest. He was an employee of Winter Park for 37 years, where his absence will undoubtedly have a major impact. He was instrumental in the founding of the Winter Park Competition Center and oversaw multiple operational aspects of the resort including maintenance and snowmaking.
“Bob was a glue guy,” said Winter Park spokesman Steve Hurlbert. “Whatever it was, he helped hold it together. We are devastated. He touched more than the resort. He was a great friend to so many people.”
Hurlbert recalled Dart taking a quick trip to Austria just last season to help solve a timing issue for a FIS race.
“There are not too many of his breed anymore,” said Hurlbert. “As far as we at Winter Park are concerned he is a legend in the industry.”
Dart suffered a medical emergency the day before the resort’s scheduled seasonal opening. His health had been declining.
“We took our FIS TD license exam at Vail the same day, under Doc Sosman,” said Walt Evans, former USSA development director and current excellence director at Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club. “I think he was number 457 and I was 458. We traveled together a lot when he was president of the Rocky Mountain Division and I was the staff member.”
Evans said Dart was committed to benefitting the young athletes, sometimes at his own expense. “It was always about the kids. Anything he could do to help them.”
Ski Racing International Managing Partner and fellow FIS Committee member Gary Black Jr. reflected on Dart by saying, “My personal experience with Bob Dart was mostly on the FIS level where he was a very effective but quiet leader. He led in a very practical way. He was the consummate ski official and administrator.”
Update: A celebration of Bob’s life will be held beginning at 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 6 at Winter Park’s West Portal Station. His family is suggesting donations in his name to the Winter Park Sports Education Foundation, which he helped to establish.