Colorado Mourns the Loss of Gerald F. Groswold

Ski-Industry Titan Dies November 26, 2015

Photo: Courtesy of Winter Park Resort.
Photo: Courtesy of Winter Park Resort.

For immediate release:

Denver, Colo. – December 1, 2015 – Gerald F. (Jerry) Groswold, a Denver native of Norwegian ancestry and son of Colorado’s first manufacturer of Alpine skis, died on November 26, 2015. He was preceded in death by his beloved daughter Karen and is survived by his brother, Thor Groswold, Jr., his daughters Kathy and Karol, and seven grandchildren, all of whom he loved dearly.

Jerry was renowned for his involvement with Winter Park Resort. His involvement there dates back to the summer of 1939 when as an eight year old he carried water to volunteers who cut the first trails, and then skied there on opening day. Jerry served as a volunteer member of the Winter Park Recreational Association Board of Trustees from 1959 to 1975, and in 1969 was elected Chairman to succeed Alan Phipps, the board’s first Chairman. He was appointed President and CEO of Winter Park Resort in 1975, a position in which he served for 22 years until he retired in 1997.

Jerry’s fingerprints are all over the resort, where he oversaw one of the largest ski area expansions in Colorado history with the development of the Mary Jane mountain as well as the Vasquez and Parsenn expansions, and the master planning for the Winter Park Village. He was pivotal in the creation of the Winter Park Nordic Jumping Program, from which thousands of children learned the sport and several Olympic level jumpers came.

Jerry’s legacy will be forever tied to the creation of the Winter Park Handicapped Program, which evolved into the National Sports Center for the Disabled. He was passionate about making the sport of skiing accessible to thousands of people with disabilities. Jerry traveled to Geilo, Norway as the Team Leader for the first U.S. Disabled Olympics team to compete in the 1980 Winter Paralympics. He later succeeded in obtaining the bid for Winter Park to host the World Disabled Championships in 1990, the first time this competition was held outside of Western Europe.

Jerry served the ski industry in many capacities including as both Board Chairman and members of Colorado Ski Country USA and the National Ski Areas Association/USIA. He was instrumental in the creation of the Colorado Tramway Safety Board and the passing of the Colorado Ski Safety Act.

Jerry has been honored as a leader in the ski industry with his induction into the National Ski Hall of Fame in 1986, the Colorado Ski Hall of Fame in 1987, the Denver and Colorado Tourism Hall of Fame in 2000, and the Colorado Business Hall of Fame in 2005. Other major awards include being a recipient of the Executive of the Year Award by The Executive Club of the University of Colorado in 1989, the Service Colorado Award of Colorado Mountain College in 1989, the Thorne Ecological Institute Environmental Award in 1990, the Professional Achievement Award from the University of Denver Alumni Association in 1992, the Julius Blegen Award by U.S. Skiing in May of 1995, the 1996-97 Carson White Golden Quill Award by the North American Ski Journalists Association, and the first annual Denver Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau Lifetime Tourism Achievement award.

More recently, Jerry served on four of the University of Denver’s Colorado Strategic Issues Panels to address significant challenges facing the state of Colorado. He was strongly committed to making Colorado a better place for all.

Jerry lived his life according to several basic beliefs – that you take care of your own, that family is important, that anything worth doing is worth doing right, that people are important but things are not, and that you should always give back more than you take. He had a lifelong love of learning and felt that all should pursue a good education aggressively. Colorado has lost a great leader who made his state and the sport of skiing better because of his leadership, hard work, and dedication.

In 2014, Jerry was honored with a State of Colorado proclamation. The proclamation from Governor John W. Hickenlooper states that November 15 is officially known as Gerald F. Groswold Day, a day that celebrates the life and legacy he has given to those who have benefited from his dedication to helping others. It is not lost on those who had the great honor of knowing and loving Jerry that his passing was on Thanksgiving Day, a day in which we will forever express gratitude for having had him in our lives.

A Celebration of Life will be held in the spring of 2016; details to be announced. Contributions in memory of Jerry can be made to the Grand Foundation, PO Box 1342, Winter Park, CO 80482 or the National Sports Center for the Disabled, 1801 Mile High Stadium Circle, Suite 1500, Denver, CO 80204-1780.

Memberships
Member, Colorado Economic Futures Panel, created by the University of Denver
Member, Colorado Economic Legislative Coalition
Member, Board of Directors, The Pinchot Institute for Conservation.
Member, Board of Directors, Colorado Ski and Snowboard Museum/Ski Hall of Fame
Member, Board of Trustees, National Sports Center for the Disabled
Member, Board of Directors, Grand Foundation for the Fraser Valley
Member, Board of Directors and Past Chair, Club 20
Member, Community Board, Norwest Banks, Winter Park
Member, Fraser Valley Leadership Forum
Member, Board of Directors and Treasurer, International Skiing Historical Association
Founder, Winter Park Jumping School
Winter Park Handicap Program (now referred to as the National Sports Center for the Disabled), Established in 1969 and instrumental in its growth.
Secretary and member, Alpine Race Committee, VIII Winter Olympics, Squaw Valley, California, 1960.
Vice President of organizing committee for Eighth InterSki, Aspen, Colorado, 1968
Member, 1976 Denver Olympic Committee
Chairman, United Ski Industries Association – term expired 5/4/91 – first Chairman of this new organization which was a merger of NSAA and SIA.
Team Leader, United States 1980 Handicap Olympics, Geilo, Norway.
Chairman and member, Board of Trustees, National Ski Areas Association
Chairman, Organizing Committee, 7 times, National Intercollegiate Ski Championships
Chairman, Organizing Committee, 4 times, National Junior Ski Championships
Nordic Technical Delegate, 2 times, National Junior Ski Championships.
Chairman, Organizing Committee, National Alpine Championships, 1964
Chairman of Colorado Tourism Board
Chairman and member, Board of Trustees, Colorado Ski Country USA
Member, Colorado Passenger Tramway Safety Board
Member, Board of Directors, American Ski Federation
Member, Board of Directors, United States Ski Association
Member, Denver Chamber of Commerce, Governmental Affairs Steering Council
Member, Board of Directors and Claims Review Committee, Arlberg Insurance Company, a national ski industry captive formed to provide primary liability coverage to member companies.

Hall of Fame Inductions
Inducted into Colorado Business Hall of Fame, 2005
Inducted into Colorado Ski Hall of Fame, 1987
Inducted into National Ski Hall of Fame, 1986
Inducted into Denver and Colorado Visitors and Convention Bureau, Tourism Hall of Fame, 2000

Honors
Honorary Member, Professional Ski Instructors of America
Honorary Member, National Ski Patrol

Awards
Recipient of the Grand Foundation Lifetime Legacy Award, 2014
Recipient of John D Vanderhoof Award for commitment and service to Western Colorado, presented by Club 20, 2005
Recipient of Colorado Slope Groomers and Snow Makers Lifetime Achievement Award, 2005
Recipient of National Ski Areas Association Lifetime Achievement Award, 1997
Recipient of Denver Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau 1997 Lifetime Tourism Achievement Award
Recipient of 1997 Winter Park Fraser Valley Chamber of Commerce – Citizen of the Year Award
Recipient of 1996-97 Carson White Golden Quill Award by North American Ski Journalists
Recipient of Julius Blegen Award, U.S. Skiing, 5/13/95
Recipient of the Professional Achievement Award, University of Denver Alumni Assoc., 3/21/92
Recipient of 1990 Thorne Ecological Institute Environmental Award
Recipient of 1989 Executive of the Year Award by the Executive Club of the University of Colorado
Recipient 1989 Service Colorado Award, Colorado Mountain College
Recipient of Robert F. Lesage Memorial Award, 1987, Rocky Mountain Lift Association
Recipient of James R. Winthers Award, 1982, National Handicap Sports and Recreation Association
Recipient of Friends of Skiing Award, 1981, National Ski Areas Association
Recipient of Halstead Memorial Award, 1961, Rocky Mountain Division