Adaptive sport icon Gerald Groswold dies

Gerald Groswold’s influence will forever be remembered by the amount of disabled skiers that take to the slopes each year. Photo: Colorado Ski Country USA

The international adaptive sports community lost a pioneer last week when Colorado ski icon Gerald Groswold passed away at age 84. He died on Thanksgiving after battling illness and pneumonia for some time.

As reported by POWDER Magazine, although they might not know his name, thousands of disabled skiers worldwide owe a great debt to Groswold, who was as influential as anyone in making winter sports accessible to everyone, regardless of physical disabilities.

Groswold helped create the Winter Park Handicapped Program, which evolved into the National Sports Center for the Disabled, in Winter Park, Colorado. His passion for advancing the adaptive sports community lead to him being named as the Team Leader for the first U.S. Disabled Olympics team to compete in the 1980 Winter Paralympics in Norway.

A decade later, he succeeded in winning the bid for Winter Park to host the World Disabled Championships in 1990, which marked the first time the competition was held outside of Western Europe.

Beyond adaptive sports, Groswold was a titan in the ski world, and was responsible for permanently shaping the face of Colorado’s ski community.

Part of a ski dynasty (his father started the Thor Groswold Ski Company, which was the first official ski supplier for U.S. Ski Team in 1948), Groswold served as CEO for the Winter Park Ski Resort from 1975 to 1997. During that time he developed the Mary Jane ski area in 1975, which was the first resort expansion to occur under the umbrella of the National Environmental Protection Act.

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Last year, Groswold honored for his years of hard work and kind demeanor when Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper forever proclaimed Nov. 15 as Gerald Groswold Day in Colorado.

“The world won’t be the same without him. Jerry Groswold was one of the great people I have ever known. He had it all. He was caring. He was humane. He was honest,” Dan Ritchie, the former Denver University Chancellor who worked with Groswold throughout the years, told The Denver Post. “There was no one better. How can you improve on Jerry Groswold?”

Online, skiers and members of the adaptive sports community paid their respects to Groswold:

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