Summit County: Friends mourn longtime Copper Mountain employee Jerry Scholl
Vail, CO, Colorado
SUMMIT COUNTY – Gerald L. Scholl – a longtime Copper Mountain employee and avid skier – died at home last week in Silt after battling cancer. He was 54. Friends and family say they remember Scholl as a gregarious, fun-loving guy.
“He always enjoyed a good party, and he didn’t mind being the life of the party, either,” said brother Robbie Scholl.
Steve Stephens – Scholl’s old friend, agreed: “He was a happy-go-lucky kind of guy. Jerry was always his own person and a completely unique individual.”
Scholl’s career with Copper Mountain spanned two decades starting in 1976, and was something of a legend, according to his long-standing Copper boss Skip Otto.
“He ended up being a cult hero because he’d been there so long and he trained so many people. He was legendary in the county in many respects – he didn’t just work at the ski area,” Otto added. “We’re going to miss him.”
Robbie Scholl, who was employed at Copper Mountain with Jerry, said his brother started working at the ski resort as an equipment operator, and then he began running snowcats in 1979. Scholl worked at Copper until the late 1980s, and then traveled the country building and shaping golf courses. Scholl was also an excellent Nordic and downhill skier, and he was famous for jumping.
“A lot of people remember him for the air shows he would put on,” Robbie Scholl said.
Wife Audrey Barrett said Scholl was talented in many areas: He created an original comic strip and characters when he was young; he designed numerous logos for hats at Copper Mountain; he envisioned and shaped golf courses throughout the nation; he was a natural at landscaping and gardening, and he loved his little backyard greenhouse where he grew wonderful tomatoes and fresh herbs. He also loved to cook and entertain, was an incredible athlete, skier, runner, scuba diver and outdoorsman (he loved to fish and hunt elk). He also enjoyed taking trips on his Harley.
“Jerry was extremely well liked,” Robbie Scholl said. “He had a great sense of humor and was always a lot of fun to be around. He just made sure everyone around him was having fun.”
Otto said Scholl’s nickname among his co-workers at Copper was “Boogaloo,” and he was excellent at training new operators.
“They really respected his judgment,” Otto said, noting that Scholl was a master slope grooming machine operator, and he played an integral part in high-tech ski racing events.
Robbie Scholl remembers his brother’s other nicknames: Lex Luthor and Gerode Schollzenger (“for when he got in really good shape and looked like Arnold”), to name a few.
“He was one of the first winch cat operators, and he really became one of the best equipment and snowcat operators that anybody knew,” he added.
Rainer Hertrich, who’s worked in various positions at Copper since 1981, said Scholl’s skills have been passed on all over the world.
“He’s not only important to the community, he’s important to the whole ski industry,” Hertrich said. “Some of the tricks he taught me, I’m still using nightly. It’s huge what he taught me.”
Longtime friend and Copper resident Pooh Bishop said Jerry Scholl “was part of a core group of people who were dedicated to Copper Mountain and each other. They worked hard and played hard together.”
“Jerry loved being a part of a growing ski area,” Bishop said. “It was a very serious business to make Copper run well.”
She remembers him doing such things as “watching the ant races at Farley’s and taking part in the Sir Isaac Newton Open.” Bishop’s nickname for Scholl was Boogie.
“He’s an influence to me daily, and I know I’m not the only person,” Hertrich said, noting that he’s had many “great adventures” with Scholl over the years.
Jerry Scholl is survived by his wife Audrey Barrett; his son Eric Scholl; his daughter Jessica Scholl (T.J. Nuernberg and daughter Samantha); his mother Roxanna Scholl Bayless; his brothers Robbie, Jamie and Todd Scholl; and his step-sisters Lori Bischoff and Peggy Bayless. He was preceded in death by his father Robert B. Scholl.
His memorial service is set for Saturday at 2 p.m. in Silt’s Cactus Valley Elementary School – immediately following the memorial will be a reception. The school is located at 222 Grand Ave. in Silt. The family asks donations be sent in Scholl’s memory to Hospice of the Valley, P.O. Box 3768, Basalt, CO 81621.
Caitlin Row can be reached at (970) 668-4633 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.