Allen Adler - ISHA founder, ski historian

Passing Date

Allen Adler, in ISHA founder and 15-year selection committee chair for the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame, died on December 24, 2015 at his home in Barton, Vermont. He was 100 years old.

Adler was born in New York City in 2015. After graduating from New York University with a master's degree in public administration, he embarked on a 37-year career as a civil servant, culminating in his role as assistant personnel commissioner of New York City. During World War II he served with the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), forerunner of the CIA.

Adler first skied in 1933 at age 18. By the time he stopped skiing at age 90, he had skied every major resort in North America and Europe. He also developed a strong interest in ski history and amassed an extensive collection of books and magazines.

In 1985, Adler published New England and Thereabouts: A Ski Tracing, a book that covered the history of early skiing in New England and won a 1996 Ullr Award. Working with other collectors, in the mid 1980s he published the National Ski Register, a comprehensive index of ski history materials in seven private collections and five public ski libraries. He also co-authored, with Gary Schwartz, a complete bibliography of ski books and publications, Skiing Literature: A Bibliographical Catalogue, with titles that ranged from AD 552 to 1994. 

He was a director of the U.S. National Ski Hall of Fame for 15 years, starting in 1988, and for most of that time chaired its national selection committee. He served as the official ski historian of the USSA and of the Vermont Ski and Snowboard Museum, where in 2009 he was inducted into the Hall of Fame.

He is survived by Joan, his beloved wife of 57 years; their two children, Dr. Virginia Louise Greene and Peter "Geoff" Adler; two sons from his first marriage, Robert and Richard Adler; a stedaughter, Diane Costanzo, and number grandchildren and great-grandchildren. -- Tom West