The Sun Valley Ski Hall of Fame will honor six new members later this month.
Jack Reddish, Bob Smith and Picabo Street will be inducted into the Sun Valley Alpine Hall of Fame and Rick Kapala, Muffy Ritz and Bob Rosso will be inducted into the Sun Valley Nordic Hall of Fame on Wednesday, Jan. 30.
The 2013 ceremony will be at 4 p.m. at the nexStage Theatre, 120 S. Main St. in Ketchum. Tickets—which include appetizers and one drink—are available for $25 at the Ketchum Sun Valley Ski and Heritage Museum in Forest Service Park, at First Street and Washington Avenue in Ketchum. The Ski Museum is open Monday through Saturday from 1-4 p.m. For more information, call the museum at 726-8118.
The new group of inductees joins 20 others who were chosen during the Hall of Fame’s previous two years of existence. According to the website of the Ketchum-Sun Valley Historical Society, which created the Hall of Fame, inductees are chosen on the basis of their accomplishments in the sport of skiing and their contributions to the Wood River Valley.
“We honor some of our pioneers each year,” said Historical Society board member Betty Murphy.
This year’s inductees are:
Jack Reddish was considered America’s top male alpine ski racer during the late 1940s and early 1950s. During the height of his racing career, he lived and worked in Sun Valley.
Reddish was born in Salt Lake City in 1926 and began skiing at Alta in 1933. He went on win several national championships and placed seventh in the 1948 Olympic slalom and fourth in the 1950 FIS World Championship slalom. Reddish was Sun Valley’s Harriman Cup downhill, slalom and combined champion in 1948, slalom champion in 1951 and downhill champion in 1954. In 1956, he came out of retirement to race in the Harriman Cup once more, placed third in the slalom and was awarded a prestigious Diamond Harriman pin for his numerous achievements in that cup.
After ski racing, Reddish had a successful career in the film industry, including being first assistant director for such films as “LeMans,” “Bonnie and Clyde” and “The Great Escape.” In 1969, he was inducted into the U.S. National Ski Hall of Fame. He passed away in 1992.
Dr. Robert “Bob” Smith was an avid deep snow skier, orthodontist and ski tech innovator. In 1960, the California native invented the double-lens ski goggle, a breakthrough that stemmed both from his love of powder skiing and his technical skill as an orthodontist. The goggles were the first to have thermal lenses and foam venting, which prevented the lenses from fogging up in adverse conditions.
When sales took off in the early 1970s, Smith founded Smith Sport Optics and built the company’s headquarters in Ketchum.
Though Smith spent much of his time developing products at Smith Sport Optics, he also volunteered for many community and school projects, most of them involving his children. As a life-long pilot and aviation enthusiast, he enjoyed discussing aviation with children and also liked encouraging and inspiring them by telling them stories of what it was like for him to create his invention. Smith died in April 2012 at age 78.
“He was very ambitious, a big problem-solver kind of a guy,” his son Drew Smith said in April. “He just kept going and kept going.”
Picabo Street was born in 1971 in the small residential town of Triumph near Sun Valley and grew up skiing the slopes of Bald Mountain. She is considered America’s all-time greatest female ski racer in the downhill discipline and represented the nation three times in the Olympics. Street won a silver medal in the 1994 Olympic downhill and 1998 won Olympic super giant slalom gold by a scant hundredth of a second.
“I’ve always considered myself a Sun Valley skier,” she said. “Sun Valley’s mountains, Dollar and Baldy, made me the skier I am. My skiing career has taken me all over the world, but wherever I am, I am a proud Idaho girl.”
Street became a member of the U.S. ski team in 1989 and won combined silver in the 1993 World Championships. In 1995, she became the first American woman to win the World Cup downhill title. She defended that title in 1996.
After a leg injury and two years of rehabilitation, Street returned to compete in the 2002 Olympics before retiring from competition. She was inducted into the American Academy of Achievement in 1997, the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame in 2004 and the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame in 2009.
“I thank Sun Valley and my community for their support and for this acknowledgement,” she said. “I am truly honored.”
Rick Kapala moved to the Wood River Valley in 1987 when he took over as head coach for the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation Cross Country Team. The Michigan native raced Nordic during his college years for Michigan Technological University, and before settling in Sun Valley spent time coaching in both Washington and Alaska.
Kapala is a three-time recipient of the United States Ski Association Coach of the Year award and is best known for growing the Sun Valley cross-country team into one of the premier high school Nordic racing programs in the U.S. Under his direction, thousands of children have been introduced to the sport and the healthy outdoor lifestyle it promotes. Kapala has coached numerous local skiers to U.S. national championship titles. Some of Kapala’s protégés have gone on to represent the U.S.—and Sun Valley—at international events such as the World Junior Championships and the Olympics.
According to the ski team’s website, when Kapala isn’t chasing SVSEF Nordic skiers around the trails, he can be found fly fishing, mountain biking or “just generally enjoying” the outdoors.
“It’s an honor to be included in the group of people who have been recognized as members,” he said. “In the field of coaching, you’re only as good as the athletes and other coaches you work with. I feel fortunate the Ski Education Foundation draws great athletes and great coaches, and I thank everyone who has been involved with the foundation, especially the behind-the-scenes gals and guys.”
Muffy Ritz’s was born in 1957 near Buck Hill Ski Area in Minnesota. She has raced Nordic competitively since 1978, skiing for the University of Colorado, the U.S. Ski Team and the Rossignol Nordic Team. Her numerous athletic accomplishments include winning rookie of the year in the 1993 Race Across America—a 2,910-mile transcontinental road cycling race, finishing the 1998 Eco Challenge in Morocco and in 1986 becoming the first two-time consecutive women’s champion of the American Birkebeiner—a 55-kilometer annual cross-country ski marathon.
Ritz moved to the valley in 1990 to coach the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation’s Cross Country Ski Team with Director Rick Kapala, but locally she is best known for launching the VAMPS (Vomen And Muffy’s ProgramS) Nordic ski club for women in 1996. Since then, the program has grown from four members with Ritz as the sole coach to a whopping 135 members and 14 coaches. Ritz has also coached for U.S. Cross Country Ski Team. According to the Vamps website, in addition to skiing, Ritz also enjoys cooking and entertaining.
“I feel honored and humbled to be included in the same lineup as Rick Kapala, Bob Rosso and all the other inductees hanging on the wall in the Ski and Heritage Museum,” she said. “I’m really looking forward to the celebration at nextStage Theatre.”
Ritz also offered one final piece of advice:
“Now get out there and ski!” she said.
Bob Rosso is proprietor of The Elephant’s Perch sports shop in Ketchum, which he opened with his wife, Kate, in 1976. He was born in Newport Beach, Calif., in 1947 and moved to the valley to ski for one season in 1971 after a stint with the Air Force Paramedic Reserve. He never left.
Instead, Rosso began working at Snug Mountaineering and, during the 1970s and ’80s, he discovered his passion for cross-country and backcountry skiing, coaching and racing. Rosso served on the Blaine County Recreation District board for more than 20 years and worked to develop many of the trails that the valley’s hikers, bikers and Nordic skiers enjoy today. He said he is “extremely proud” to have been a part of the team that created those trails.
When Rosso’s not at the Perch, he can be found cycling, Nordic skiing, mountain climbing, hiking, backpacking, swimming, running, playing hockey or hounding out some fresh backcountry powder.
“To be nominated to the Ski Hall of Fame here is an honor, especially to be recognized along with some of my very best friends,” he said.
Brennan Rego: email@example.com