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Ski & Snowboard Hall of Fame announces 2011 Pioneer

The Colorado Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame is pleased to announce one of the newest members of the Hall of Fame.

Charles Elliott joins the Colorado Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame as a member of the class of 2011. He will be honored as a pioneer for his involvements with skiing on Wolf Creek Pass.

In 1934, 21-year-old Charles Elliott and a friend decided to try downhill skiing. With two pairs of homemade wooden skis, they headed to Wolf Creek Pass and discovered they loved the sport. However, it was not until 1936 that Elliott was introduced to ski poles and the concept of turning on skis instead of going straight down the mountain.

By the 1930s, skiing was picking up popularity around America, including in the Wolf Creek Pass area. The Monte Vista, Del Norte and Alamosa ski clubs united into the San Luis Valley Ski Association in 1937. Wolf Creek Pass became their full-time ski location, thanks to Elliott’s knowledge and previous exploration of the mountain.

From 1936 to 1944, Elliott was the driving force behind an incredible growth and interest in skiing in the San Luis Valley region. His accomplishments during this time include construction of shelter facilities, fund-raisers, establishment and training of a local Ski Patrol to increase safety on the mountain, installation of rope tows, exploration of the Wolf Creek Ski Area, host of international skiers, not to mention serving as the coordinator for the early operations of the Wolf Creek Ski Area.

After serving in the U.S. Army Air Corps as a weather man and cryptographer from 1942 to 1946, Elliott returned to reestablish skiing in the Wolf Creek Ski Area, as well as restore the local ski patrol, which had dissolved during World War II.

For his excellent service as a patrolman and leader, Elliott was awarded a lifetime badge in the National Ski Patrol. He was also instrumental in defeating an initiative to build a commercial and resort project at the base of Wolf Creek.

During the 2005-06 and 2006-07 seasons, Elliott skied over 50 days each season, at ages 92 and 93. The following season, he skied over 35 days. Now at age 98, he is the oldest member of the Grey Wolf Ski Club, consisting of 600 local members who are age 50 or older. Over 75 years after discovering downhill skiing, Charles Elliott persistently pioneered the sport in the Wolf Creek Ski Area.

Completed nominations for the 2011 Athlete, Sport Builder and Inspiration categories are due at the museum by Feb. 15. The Hall of Fame election for the other four 2011 inductees will take place from March 15 to April 15.

All five members of the 2011 Colorado Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame, including Charles Elliott, will be honored at the 2011 induction ceremony on Nov. 5. For more information or questions, please contact the Colorado Ski and Snowboard Museum at (970) 476-1876 or skimuseum@gmail.com.