Doug Pfeiffer - PSIA founder, Skiing editor, freestyle pioneer
J. Douglas Pfeiffer, influential magazine editor and ski instructor, died in hospice in Manhattan on July 23, after a long illness. He was 96 years old.
(Photo by Bob Soden)
Pfeiffer began skiing at age four on the hills around Quebec City, and at 18 taught at Chalet Cochand in the Laurentians. He went on to teach at Mont Tremblant and Gray Rocks, and in 1947 twice passed the Canadian Ski Instructors Alliance exam with top-of-class marks. In 1950 he was hired by Emile Allais to teach at Squaw Valley, where he was certified by the Far West Ski Instructors Association.
Beginning in 1951, Pfeiffer served several terms as president of FWSIA, while working as ski school director at Kratka Ridge, Moonridge and Snow Summit, all in California. He spent summers in college, studying psychology and methods of teaching. He earned a BA in Vocational Education and a California public school teacher’s credential, and taught fifth and sixth grades in San Bernardino for several years. He published his first book, Skiing With Pfeiffer, in 1958.
That philosophy led Pfeiffer to take a leading role in sponsoring freestyle competitions, and a pioneering program of ski testing. Between 1965 and 1975, his syndicated radio program was heard nationwide, and in 1972 he worked as commentator for the nationally-televised “Killy Challenge” as well as co-hosting with Suzy Chafee a TV series called “The World of Skiing.” He published more books, including Skiing Simplified (1966) and Skiing Skills (1980).
Doug Pfeiffer was elected to the U.S. National Ski Hall of Fame in 1987 and to the Canadian Ski Hall of Fame in 2017. Beginning in 1993, he served on the Board of Directors of the International Skiing History Association, and received its Lifetime Achievement Award for Journalism in 1999.