Letters: Preserving 10th Mountain Division archives; Doug Pfeiffer's influence

Doug Pfeiffer. Bob Soden photo

Doug Pfeiffer’s Joy and Vision Pushed Skiing’s Boundaries

In Park City we celebrated Doug Pfeiffer’s tremendous influences on the organization of freestyle skiing. From several conversations with Doug over the years, I learned more about how his skiing interests evolved. Growing up skiing in Quebec, Doug became an avid student of skiing technique. He studied the 1926 book “Neue Moglichkeiten Im Skilauf” (Possibilities in Skiing) by Dr. Fritz Reuel that conceived of a form of skiing similar to figure skating. At that time, Canadian teachers were using a modified Arlberg technique with “no shift.” In 1950, under the tutelage of Emile Allais in Squaw Valley, Doug focused on turning both skis at once and he realized there was no one way of making turns. Doug experimented with differential edging and edge control techniques ranging from hockey stops to side-slipping turns.

In the mid-1950s, Doug began teaching with Tommy Tyndall at Snow Summit and Moonridge ski areas in Southern California. There he expanded on Reuel’s premise by teaching new tricks such as the mambo, the Charleston, spinners, tip rolls and the flying sitzmark. This became his “School of Exotic Skiing” with Doug’s motto: “If on skis you are a goofer, improve your skiing with Tyndall and Pfoofer.” With this accumulated knowledge, in 1958 he authored “Skiing with Pfeiffer,” the first American discussion of skiing stunts in print. His unfettered joy of the sport continued as a writer, editor, motivator, commentator, and ski history and heritage leader, notably as a co-founder of ISHA. 

Kirby Gilbert
Bellevue, Washington

(Photo top of page by Bob Soden)

Adding to the 10th Mountain Division’s Legacy

Your recent feature by Jeff Blumenfeld (“Denver Archives Preserve the Legacy of the Tenth,” January-February 2024) resulted in an email from Chris Sweet, descendant of Robert H. Sweet (90-K), who read your article and is now donating materials to the archives. He is a descendant, but also has rescued materials from the North Attleborough, Massachusetts, Veterans Office relating to another 10th soldier, Cpl. Albert Davignon. He is sending them over so I can create a collection in Davignon’s name. Thank you for your contribution to the 10th Mountain Division Resource Center. You are truly helping to preserve a legacy. We welcome readers with a connection to the 10th to contact us at any time or visit us in downtown Denver through prior appointment.

Keli Schmid
Special Collections Librarian
10th Mountain Division Resource Center
Denver Public Library
Denver, Colorado