Colorado Snowsports Hall of Fame announces Class of 2020
Niehues, Stapleton Jr., Post Foster, Rawles and Conklin elected for induction
The votes have been cast and counted and now the Colorado Snowsports Hall of Fame’s incoming Class of 2020 will begin their preparations for the official induction ceremony that is tentatively scheduled for October 17 in the Vail Valley.
Heading the list of new Hall of Fame members is Colorado native and iconic ski resort trail map artist James Niehues. Over the course of his 33-year career, Niehues has painted more than 200 ski resort trail maps for resorts in Colorado and around the world.
Niehues will be joined by Aspen’s Dave Stapleton Jr., a former U.S. Ski Team and professional racer who has dedicated his career to benefit the Aspen Valley Ski Club; Beaver Creek’s Ellen Post Foster, a former world-class international freestyle competitor who helped create the current foundation of knowledge in the snow sports education field; and Breckenridge’s Scott Rawles, a former professional mogul skier and U.S. Ski Team Moguls coach responsible for Olympic medalists such as Toby Dawson, Shannon Bahrke and Hannah Kearney.
These four new inductees will be joined by the 2020 Pioneer Hall of Fame selection, Pam (Conklin) Pettee of Telluride, who blazed a trail in the promotion and media relations arenas for the Colorado ski industry, with stints at Vail, Colorado Ski Country USA and Telluride, in addition to being a ski industry lobbyist, accomplished public relations consultant and freelance ski writer.
“We are extremely excited about our incoming Hall of Fame Class,” said Jennifer Mason, executive director of the Colorado Snowsports Museum and Hall of Fame, in a news release. “We have all aspects of snowsports represented, with athletes, sport builders and inspirational inductees.”
The five Hall of Fame inductees were selected from a field of 15 nominees that also included Tracey and Tim Canaday (Denver), Eugene Dayton (Breckenridge), Paul Folwell (Durango), Ralf Garrison (Denver), Rik Heid (Vail), Harley Higbie (Vail), Ron LeMaster (Boulder), Ted Martin (Vail), John Norton (Aspen), Sigurd Rokne (Breckenridge) and Annie Varielle-Savath (Telluride).
Hall of Fame candidates are nominated under the established criteria of Athlete, Sport Builder, Inspirational or Pioneer categories, with the Hall of Fame nomination committee evaluating and confirming the nominees to move onto the final ballot. The 140-member Hall of Fame voting panel is comprised of current Hall of Fame members, key ski industry representatives and the Hall of Fame’s board of directors and nomination committee.
Pioneer: Pam (Conklin) Pettee
Pam Conklin joined Vail Associates in 1973, while also serving the state’s ski industry as chair of the Colorado Ski Country USA public information committee and a member of the public affairs committee. In addition, she was an associate member of the Rocky Mountain Ski Writers, a member of Colorado Press women, was on the Women’s Forum of Colorado and the board of the Colorado Ski Museum.
At Vail, she worked with President Gerald Ford, skillfully handling the national media and White House press corps during his ski vacations. Pam also dealt with the 1976 malfunction on the Lionshead Gondola that resulted in two cars falling from the cable and plummeting to the ground 50 feet below, causing four fatalities and eight injured. Pam organized press conferences, gathered all of the information she could, and accommodated television coverage.
Pam left Vail in 1977 to become director of public affairs for Colorado Ski Country, USA, while becoming a registered lobbyist for Colorado skiing at the state Capitol. She formed her own ski consulting business in 1979, but returned to Colorado Ski Country USA, as acting director, when the director took a leave of absence from the job. In demand as a public relations consultant, she established her own firm, with clients including United Airlines, Ski Industries of America, National Ski Areas Association, Vail, Steamboat Springs, Ski the Rockies and many others. As a freelance writer, Pam was prolific in promoting Colorado skiing.
Sport builder: Ellen Post Foster
Ellen Post Foster has demonstrated world-class athleticism and skill throughout a career that began with winning national and international freestyle competitions. She was selected to a pair of four-year terms to PSIA’s National Demonstration Team, where she represented the U.S. as an Interski demonstrator.
Over Ellen’s career as an educator, she has authored five instructional books, including “Skiing and the Art of Carving,” which established her as a leader in ski instruction and race coaching for over 25 years. Most recently, she co-authored PSIA’s “Alpine Technical Manual” and the PSIA-AASI “Teaching Snowsports Manual.” Her ability to articulate concepts and technique through her writing and presentations have helped resort ski schools grow the sport. Her accomplishments led to her induction into the US Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame in 2016.
Inspirational: James Niehues
For 33 years, Colorado native and iconic ski resort trail map artist James Niehues has painted more than 200 stunning ski resort trail maps that skiers and snowboarders have used to navigate Colorado and other resorts, worldwide. His body of work was recently brought together in his beautiful coffee table showcase book, “The Man Behind the Maps — Legendary Ski Artist James Niehues.” In addition to creating maps for all of Colorado’s resorts, he has also crafted maps for 75% of U.S. ski resorts and for resorts in Canada, Australia, Chile, New Zealand and Serbia.
His trail map artist career began in 1987, with the encouragement of noted trail map artists Bill Brown and Hal Shelton. Over the next 30 years, he refined his techniques to create highly visually engaging trail maps. The maps are detailed and authentic, with their nuanced treatment of the resort imparting a mood or feeling to the resort topography. His artistry outperforms digital options and has stood the test of time.
Sport builder: Scott Rawles
Scott Rawles enjoyed a standout competitive career from 1981-1994 as a professional mogul skier, with seven career wins, 20 podiums and five top-three finishes in the overall standings on the World Pro Mogul Tour. That passion for competition soon spilled over to coaching as he helped to develop the Team Breckenridge freestyle program as a moguls coach and then program director from 1989-2001. He along with colleague John Dowling had 14 athletes qualify for the U.S. Freestyle Team.
During the course of his coaching tenure with the U.S. Team, Rawles coached at five freestyle world championships resulting in 20 medals and four different world champions in moguls and dual moguls. Under his direction, the U.S. Freestyle Team won the Nations Cup in 2010, 2012 and 2013, and he was named USSA International Coach of the Year on three separate occasions.
After 14 years, Rawles moved on from the national team in 2014 only to be quickly recruited by the Chinese moguls team as their head coach. Scott has qualified two athletes for the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea, his fifth Winter Games coaching assignment. At the four previous Winter Olympic Games, he helped the United States Team to seven medals, including Salt Lake City 2002 silver medalists Travis Mayer and Shannon Bahrke; Torino 2006 bronze medalist Toby Dawson; Vancouver 2010 gold medalist Hannah Kearney and bronze medalists Shannon Bahrke and Bryon Wilson; and Sochi 2014 bronze medalist Hannah Kearney.
Athlete: Dave Stapleton Jr.
A true Aspen native with a family heritage dating back to 1881, Dave Stapleton Jr. fell in love with the sport of ski racing and thrived on the rich racing heritage and nurturing ski racing community and opportunities in Aspen. At 17, he won the overall NorAm title, earning a spot on the World Cup tour the subsequent year. In 1981 Stapleton’s amateur career came to a close and he joined the U.S. Pro Ski Tour, winning Rookie of the Year honors in his inaugural season. For 10 years, he was a formidable competitor on the circuit, winning eight Pro Tour races and dominating the Winter Park competitions.
In 1992, with competitive ski racing behind him, he opened Stapleton Sports, supporting and helping hundreds of young ski racers during his 17-year ownership of the shop. Stapleton’s support of the Aspen Valley Ski Club has been unwavering. Serving as an organizer for a fundraising golf tournament for 10 years and raising more than $700,000, his efforts benefitted AVSC, Aspen Junior Golf and the Aspen hockey program. He is also credited with launching the AVSC’s most important fundraiser, the Ajax Cup, which raised nearly $750,000 in 2018. Through his efforts, Stapleton secured a multi-million-dollar donor to expand the AVSC facility, which is aptly named the Stapleton Training Center in his honor.