2018 Snowsports Hall of Fame: Brad Ghent was attracted to the mountains and skiing as a kid
VAIL — One of the most important annual celebrations of the state’s snowsports industry, the Colorado Snowsports Hall of Fame Induction Gala — held this year in Vail on Saturday, Oct. 6 — is a unique opportunity to meet, mix and mingle with the men and women who have shaped the Colorado ski and snowboard industry. Thanks to the Colorado Snowsports Museum and Hall of Fame, the Vail Daily is publishing profiles of all of this year’s hall of fame inductees.
Brad Ghent was not born in the mountains of Colorado, but he was drawn to them at an early age. As a youngster, the Ghent clan would make the long drive from Fort Collins to Winter Park every weekend to train and race with the Winter Park Alpine Team.
Ghent’s commitment and work ethic led him to become a successful junior racer who would walk on to the University of Colorado Ski Team. He earned a spot on the Buffs’ NCAA Championships teams all four years in Boulder, earning a third place National Championships downhill finish in 1974 and collecting Honorable Mention All American honors.
Following graduation from CU’s Business School, Ghent chose to pass up the opportunity to join the family automobile business in order to remain involved with skiing. He served as the director of the Elbert Series, the regional elite race series, before becoming the head coach for the Winter Park Race Team.
Armed with extensive knowledge and experience, he was hired in 1980 to join the U.S. Ski Team staff as Women’s Development Coach. He worked his way up to Head Women’s Alpine Coach, where he remained through 1986, leading his team to four World Championship podium appearances in 1985 in Bormio, Italy, including gold and bronze medals in giant slalom for Diann Roffe and Eva Twardokens, respectively.
In 1991, having returned to Fort Collins and built a successful rental car business, the mountains would call once again and Ghent brought his young family to Vail, where they started a rental car operation at the newly established Eagle County Regional Airport.
With ski racing in his blood and a strong desire to continue supporting the sport that brought him so much, he immediately jumped back into action with both feet. When his three young daughters began ski racing for the local club, he once again put his expertise to use, volunteering as an official at races in the Rocky Mountain Division.
Along the way, Ghent served on the board of trustees for Ski and Snowboard Club Vail during its rise to becoming one of the most influential clubs in the country. He also saw a need to lend his expertise to Beaver Creek’s Birds of Prey World Cup on-course volunteer crew, serving as coordinator of the renowned Talon Crew from 2008 through Vail and Beaver Creek’s 2015 World Alpine Ski Championships.
The sport of skiing in Colorado has truly been the beneficiary of Ghent’s lifelong dedication and passion. He has proven to be a quiet and effective leader, never seeking notoriety for himself, but quietly working behind the scenes to improve the athletic environment for the alpine community and the sport of ski racing.
Ghent has seen skiing and ski racing from the inside out during the course of his career, and we are indeed fortunate that he first heeded the mountain’s call.