U.S. Ski & Snowboard Hall of Fame McKinney, Palmer among inductees

The late Steve McKinney, aka “The King of Speed,” was the dominant speed skier in the world in the 1970s and 80s. | Tahoe Weekly archives

A group of eight skiing athletes and sport builders will be inducted into the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame’s Class of 2017 on April 14. Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows will celebrate ski and snowboard history from April 12 to 15 as it welcomes the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame to honor its inductees. The event will honor athletes and sport builders with lifelong national and international achievements in the sport.

Among the inductees are freestyle icon “Airborne” Eddie Ferguson, freestyle’s somersault king Hermann Goellner and legendary cross-country coach Marty Hall. Also joining the class are two of the most accomplished ski mountaineers alive – twin brothers Mike and Steve Marolt, along with the late Steve McKinney, an alpine speed skiing world-record holder. Rounding out the Class of 2017 is local motorsport and snowboard pioneer Shaun Palmer and Thom Weisel, a passionate fundraiser for the U.S. Ski Team whose work over four decades helped to bring home more than 200 Olympic and World Championship medals.

The class of 2017 will be inducted on April 14 and enshrined the following September at the Hall of Fame in Ishpeming, Mich., where in 1905 the National Ski Association of America (now U.S. Ski & Snowboard) was formed. For more details and to purchase tickets, visit snowsporthistory.com.

King of Speed honored

Squaw Valley Institute is partnering with the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Hall of Fame for an evening honoring McKinney, “The King of Speed,” on April 12 at 6 p.m.

McKinney, who was the first person to break the magical 200km/h barrier on skis, is being inducted into the Hall of Fame posthumously.
In 1978, McKinney was clocked at 124.137 mph, making him the first skier to surpass the 200km/h barrier. He then went on to set seven world speed skiing records around the globe. McKinney was nominated by his mentor and friend, former world speed-record holder Dick Dorworth. Dorworth, a member of the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame Class of 2011, will be the evening’s keynote speaker along with World Cup champion and Olympian Tamara McKinney, Steve’s younger sister.

Admission is $20 in advance, $25 at the door, and $10 for children and students; free to members. | Tickets squawvalleyinstitute.org

Class of 2017 inductees

Ed Ferguson | Known as “Airborne” Eddie Ferguson, he helped to create the hotdog freestyle movement in the 1970s. He captured the World Freestyle Championships in 1973, later commentated for ABC’s “Wide World of Sports” and was the youngest PSIA instructor at the age of 16.

Hermann Gollner | A coach, competitor and inventor, Hermann Gollner of Verdi, Nev., is best known for performing the world’s first double backward somersault in 1965 and the first triple forward somersault in 1967. In 1968 he also completed the first full somersault with a full twist on skis, known as the “Moebius Flip.”

Marty Hall | Marty Hall played a key role in coaching Bill Koch to America’s first (and only) cross-country Olympic medal in 1976. He also helped lead the debut of women at the Nordic World Championships in 1970.

Michael & Steven Marolt | Mike and Steve Marolt are two of the most accomplished ski mountaineers alive – climbing with no supplemental oxygen, porters or altitude drugs. These brothers are pioneers in Himalayan skiing. They spent most of their lives climbing and skiing, entirely together, without exception, nearly 50 of the highest and greatest peaks in the world including the North Ridge of Everest. They were the first Americans to ski from an 8,000m Peak (26,273′) at Shishapangma Tibet.

Steve McKinney | The late Steve McKinney was the dominant speed skier in the world in the 1970s and 80s setting world speed skiing records and reinventing the sport during his lifetime.

Shaun Palmer | Known as one of the forefathers of extreme sport, Shaun Palmer competed in professional snowboarding for almost 20 years. His prowess in the pipe from 1995 to 2014 earned him six X-Games gold medals, another gold in the 2002 Gravity Games and a berth onto the 2010 Vancouver Olympic snowboardcross team, but an injury prevented him from being named and he did not compete.

Thom Weisel | Thom Weisel’s leadership and financial support over four decades directly impacted more than 200 Olympic and World Championship medals.