VAIL, Colorado - Part-time Vail, Colorado resident Stephen L. Waterhouse noticed a theme when he was researching Dartmouth College alumni for a book several years ago.
Students at his alma mater, which is nestled amid the East Coast's mountains, had made a significant contribution to the skiing industry, he said.
One name that stood out was Charles Proctor, class of 1900. Several sources proclaimed him the "Father of American Skiing." When Waterhouse probed deeper, he discovered that Dartmouth grads have played a role in everything from the birth of ski resorts to the formation of ski racing.
Waterhouse explores Dartmouth's ties to the modern ski industry in his self-published tome "Passion for Skiing." He plans a talk on the subject March 17 at the Colorado Ski Museum in Vail.
Waterhouse has been organizing an annual gathering of Dartmouth folks in Vail for the past 12 Februarys. He broached his idea for the book at one of those ski weekends two years ago.
"The response was immediate and overwhelming," he said. "It started a two years of intense Internet contact with people from all over the world."
In exploring Dartmouth's influence throughout the ski industry, Waterhouse discovered a long list of graduates with ties to Vail. For example, Ron Riley, class of 1965, bought a basement bar in Vail called The Slope in the 1960s. That bar doubled as a ski movie venue for 23 years. Today, Riley owns Los Amigos and Russell's.
Other Dartmouth figures have played a role in Vail's history. For example, Bill "Sarge" Brown ran Vail Mountain for 25 years and served as an ROTC leader at Dartmouth. Chuck Lewis, class of 1958, was Vail's first financial manager in the 1960s before going on to found Copper Mountain.
To write the book, Waterhouse teamed up with several other Vail-area Dartmouth grads.
The book reveals that people with ties to Dartmouth have influenced just about every facet of skiing, Waterhouse said.
"There is no other institution in this county that has played that kind of role," he said.
Staff Writer Sarah Mausolf can be reached at 970-748-2928 or firstname.lastname@example.org.