MIDDLEBURY - The Vermont Ski Museum announced the 2009 inductees into the Vermont Ski Museum Hall of Fame: Bill Beck, Erlon "Bucky" Broomhall, Suzy Chaffee, and Bobo Sheehan.
Bill Beck, of Middlebury was a member of the National Ski Team from 1951-1957. He had the best downhill finish by an American male with his fifth place in the downhill at the 1952 Olympic Games.
His record stood for 32 years until Bill Johnson won the gold medal in 1984. Beck also finished 5th, in 1952, in the prestigious Alberg-Kandahar Downhil, again a best ever by an American skier. He was a member of the 1954 World Championship Team, the 1956 Olympic Team Captain, and coach of the 1960 Olympic team. He remained active in the ski industry after retiring as a coach, as an industry representative, and sport shop owner.
Erlon "Bucky" Broomhall, originally from Rumford, Maine, dedicated his career to giving opportunities to young skiers in Southern Vermont. Broomhall had a successful college career racing for the Western State College Cross Country Ski Team. He came to Bennington in 1966 "to head a total ski program for the kids of all ages from kindergarten through high school." He coached cross country, jumping and downhill, winning 5 Vermont State High School championships and helping at least 25 skiers to the Junior Olympics. He was one of the first in the nation to coach a girl's team and brought the first girl's team to Junior Olympics in 1968. In 1969, he left his coaching position to start the Torger Tokle League, now known as the Bill Koch League to develop skiers not yet in high school.
Suzy Chaffee, from Rutland, had a successful sport and television career. She was on the U.S. Women's Ski Team competing in the downhill. Due to a miscalculation in wax, she did not fulfill her Olympic potential in the 1968 Games, but she received press for her silver racing suit. She used this press to launch many ventures including a modeling/endorsement/film career, a designer clothing line, and ski equipment made for women. She has been a strong advocate for women's equality in sports. She joined the freestyle ski team as professional in 1971 and competed with the men since there was no women's division; she won titles in 1971-73. She was one of the first two women to serve on the USOC's Board of Directors; she assisted in the passage of the Amateur Sport Act of 1978; she served on president's council on physical fitness under four administrations. Most recently she founded the Native Voices Foundation with the mission "to create joyful unity through sports and education to heal mother earth for all our children."
Robert "Bobo" Sheehan was a legendary coach from 1945-1968. He skied on the Newport Vermont High School team in 1939, 1940 before joining the Middlebury class of'44. Sheehan coached the Middlebury women's team in 1946 and led the Middlebury men in 1948 to their first of two consecutive national championship titles. In the same year Becky Fraser '46, captain of the 1944 and 1945 women's teams, became the first Middlebury skier to compete for the U.S. Olympic Team. He coached the 1956 US Olympic Team. He was president of the Eastern Collegiate Ski Association and member of the Olympic Ski Games Committee. In 1984, Middlebury College dedicates the Robert "Bobo" Sheehan chairlift in celebration of 50 years of skiing at the College. Sheehan died in 1999.
The purpose of the Hall of Fame is to honor athletes, special contributors, and pioneers of Vermont skiing who promoted and/or contributed to the sport of skiing in Vermont; to document the histories of Inductees in the Museum's collection; and to recognize their accomplishments through the Induction ceremony and the Hall of Fame exhibit.
This year's Induction ceremony will be on Saturday, Oct. 24, at the Town Hall Theater in Middlebury. The Induction Ceremony and Reception will begin at 3 p.m. Tickets are $30 for Museum members and $40 for non-members. Everyone is welcome to join the Inductees for dinner at the Waybury Inn following the Induction Ceremony. Tickets for dinner include the Ceremony and are $85 for members and $100 for non-members.