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Marnie Jump

Caramie Schnell

Marjorie, or “Marnie,” as most people call her, moved west for the same reasons that pull people here today: to center their lives around time on the slopes. After serving as an officer in the Navy, she aspired to be a ski bum and, instead, ended up marrying the co-founder of Arapahoe Ski Basin, Larry Jump. She later became vice-president of the corporation, a far cry from the nonchalant life she was expecting.”I learned to ski while at Bennington College,” Marnie says. “I fell in love with the sport.”After college at Bennington in Vermont, Marnie joined the Navy. When she first enlisted she was a radio hand, not long after she received a commission to teach communications at Smith College. After her time at Smith College she was sent to Maui and served as a communications officer.”I couldn’t appreciate Hawaii very much because I couldn’t ski there,” Marnie says. “I always loved to ski so when I got out of the navy I decided I’d like to come west.”Marnie’s first trip out to the Colorado Rockies was just a vacation, but it was enough to convince her to pick up and move from the eastern part of the country the following year.”I heard about A-Basin from a ski instructor friend from Sun Valley. He told Larry about me and me about Larry,” Marnie says. “I was just an employee at first then it turned into a lot more, a life and kids and the Colorado Mountains.”The new ski area was struggling to say the least. One rope tow had been installed halfway up the mountain, but the company was $45,000 in debt and unsure if they’d even be able to open for business for the 1947-48 ski season.”I started out as a ski bum but I helped him (soon-to-be husband Larry) finance and develop the area so I got to be vice president,” Marnie says with a smile.Thanks much in part to Marnie’s dedication and hard work, the funds were raised and the mountain opened.”Our first year of operation was in ’48. We did everything; we cooked hamburgers, we operated lifts,” Marnie says.Nearly 25 years after the Jumps launched A-Basin, the mountain was sold. During all of those years Marnie was an active board member and an integral part of the area’s development and operation, all while raising three children: her two girls, Alice and Pat, and her son, Mike. In the early 1950’s she organized the first Veterans Race sanctioned by the U.S. Ski Association. Later the program evolved into the Masters Racing Series.”We started the first Veterans race since Larry and I were both older and liked to race,” Marnie says.Lorraine Higby has known Marnie for upwards of 40 years. “Marnie was not known for speed when it came to her racing, but somehow she was always the winner, I don’t know how she did it but somehow she was always first,” Higby says. “She was slow and steady.”It was in 1968 that Marnie conducted the first ski handicap program in Colorado, which gave young amputees from Children’s Hospital as well as Vietnam War Veterans from Fitzsimmons Hospital the opportunity to ski the slopes. The program later was moved to Winter Park.”It was really a mom and pop organization,” Marnie says. “We used to get up early in the morning and pack the trails. They have the most glorious snow.”As a result of Marnie’s hard work she was inducted into the Colorado Ski Hall of Fame in 2000.After selling A-Basin in 1972, the Jumps moved from Georgetown to Denver.”Her survival in Georgetown gives you an idea of what a survivor she was,” says Higby, “She came from the Eastern seaboard to the very basic town of Georgetown; she really came from an entirely different background.”After the move the Jumps found themselves coming to Vail more and more often to visit friends and for recreational purposes.Marnie purchased the condo she lives in now in 1973 and moved up to live in Vail permanently after her husband passed away. Last winter Marnie spent three months in Florida. “I found myself very, very homesick,” Marnie says.Marnie has become very integrated into Vail’s community during the time she’s been here. She’s involved with the “Young at Heart” group at the Hospital, which Steadman Hawkins supports. She was on the board for the Vail Religious Foundation for years and is one of the most reliable people on staff for the vestry at the Episcopal Church of the Transfiguration. In the summers she volunteers at the Alpine Gardens in the gift shop (she used to work in the gardens as well, but her knees have put a halt to that). She’s very involved with the Veterans of Foreign Wars and helped lead this year’s Fourth of July parade in her little red scooter. Every Memorial Day Marnie makes the trek to put flags on the graves in Minturn and Red Cliff.Instead of having issues with the Valley’s growth, Marnie is a true believer in the possibility growth affords.”I think all the development is wonderful, it provides more opportunities, more facilities. The mountain is better for it,” Marnie says. “I’m one of the few that feels the growth is great. I think this is a marvelous town.” VT


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