ISHPEMING - The U.S. National Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame Class of 2010 was welcomed to the hall Friday evening.
Six inductees - Bobby Cochran, Muffy Davis, Earl Holding, Shane McConkey, Glen Plake and Daron Rahlves - were honored at a placement ceremony at the W.C. Peterson Auditorium, welcoming them to Ishpeming and the Hall of Fame.
"They're an extremely diverse group, but each has excelled in their own way," Hall of Fame Chief Executive Officer Tom West said.
Muffy Davis got inducted to the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame Friday evening for devoted service to the sports of skiing and snowboarding in North America. (Journal photo by Johanna Boyle)
The inductees range from Olympians Cochran and Rahlves to Davis as an adaptive skier and resort developer Holding to skiing pioneers Plake and McConkey.
"There's something about snow, the feel of snow, the sound of snow," Cochran said. "There's something that's so magnetic."
Cochran, an alpine skier, is the third member of his family to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. He was the first American to win a World Cup GS event and was the first American to win the combined title at the Hahnenkamm in Austria, an event that can be compared to the Super Bowl or the Indy 500, West said.
"My two older sisters have been in it (the Hall of Fame) for 25 or 30 years, so it was keeping up with my sisters," Cochran said with a laugh. "It's an incredible honor."
Davis began her career as a ski racer, but suffered an injury at the age of 16 that lead her to be one of the nation's leading international adaptive skiers, competing in the World Cup, the World Championship and Paralympic competitions. Following her injury in 1989, she took time off from skiing to graduate from high school and Stanford University, but after several years she returned to the sport of mono skiing, going on to become a champion.
Although not a competitive skier himself, Holding has made his mark on the world of skiing and snowboarding by transforming Idaho's Sun Valley ski resort from a local ski area to the resort that hosted the 2002 Winter Olympic Game downhill events. Holding, who was unable to make the trip to the Hall of Fame placement ceremony, purchased Sun Valley in 1977 and began restoring the resort by planting trees and adding one of the world's largest snowmaking systems, new lodges and ski lifts. He was instrumental in bringing the Olympic games to Salt Lake City in 2002.
Born in Canada in 1969, McConkey was recognized as the most influential skier of his generation, developing the sport of free skiing and new ski technology. Among his feats was pioneering the sport of ski base jumping, including opening the Whistler Blackcomb Peak 2 Peak gondola by base jumping off a cabin at its highest point. The star of numerous ski films, McConkey was killed in a ski base jumping accident in 2009 while shooting a film.
"It's a huge honor," said McConkey's widow, Sherry McConkey. "We've heard about it (the Hall of Fame) for years and never thought this would happen. It would be such a huge thing for him."
Known for his distinctive mohawk, Plake is recognizable not just for his hairstyle, but also for his skiing performances and his promotion of the sport of skiing.
"At a basic level, Glen is a believer in the small and medium sized ski areas where people learn to ski," West said.
Plake said he never expected to be inducted to the Hall of Fame, and considered being a member to be a striking experience.
"What struck me the most is the word 'member,'" Plake said. "That is not a competition. It's not a result. That's resonating with me pretty heavily."
A native of California, Plake has appeared in numerous film and television productions, as well as descending some of the world's most challenging mountains. What he said he enjoys most about the sport, however, is the recreational aspect of it.
"I love the pastime of it. The pastime that I mean is whether it's being a member of a local club, whether it's a pastime of an international competition... It's a beautiful way to kill time," he said. "We're not only a pastime, but we're doing a pastime that's at the end of a dirt road in the middle of nowhere."
Rahlves, who is considered one of the most accomplished American downhill ski racers of all time, rounds out the class of inductees. He retired from alpine ski racing following the 2006 Winter Olympics, but went on to help develop the sport of Ski Cross, which he competed in on the 2010 Ski Cross Olympic Team.
The Ski Hall of Fame weekend continues at 8:30 a.m. today with the Kiwanis Annual Ski Breakfast at St. John the Evangelist Hall and a ceremony at the Ski Hall of Fame at 4 p.m.
Johanna Boyle can be reached at 906-486-4401. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.