Winter Park pioneer

Passing Date: 
Thursday, November 26, 2015

Denver Post story by Jason Blevins:

Gerald Groswold, the Fraser Valley ski pioneer, passed away on Thanksgiving, just a year after Colorado's governor declared Nov. 15 as "Gerald F. Groswold Day."

He was 84 and had been ill with pneumonia.

It's impossible to overstate Groswold's role in the development of the Winter Park ski area and the creation of community and economic vibrancy of the tight-knit Fraser Valley that grew around his resort.

He founded the famed National Sports Center for the Disabled at Winter Park, the resort he helmed from 1975 to 1997. He opened Mary Jane in 1979, one of the state's largest resort expansions ever. He helped form Colorado ski policy and served on more than a dozen boards that shaped the modern day resort industry. The Grand Foundation, which he founded in 1996, has distributed more than $6 million in the Grand County community. . . 

Groswold was born in Denver and raised in Littleton. His father, Thor Groswold, emigrated from Norway, passing through Ellis Island in 1923 and moving to Colorado to study at the University of Denver. Thor and his wife Bernice were competitive ski jumpers, hauling their two sons, Thor Jr. and Gerald, to competitions across the West.

The boys also were ski jumping champions. As a kid in the late 1930s, Groswold would carry water to volunteers cutting trails at Winter Park. He skied Winter Park on the day it opened in December 1939.

After growing frustrated with ski designs, his father opened the Thor Groswold Ski Company in Denver in 1932 . Groswold Ski Company was the first official ski supplier to the U.S. Ski Team in 1948. American Gretchen Fraser won Olympic slalom gold on Groswold skis in Switzerland that year.

Groswold, who worked at his father's ski shop, graduated from DU with both a law degree and an MBA. He joined the board of the Winter Park Recreational Association in 1959 while working in the title business in Denver.

He took over as Winter Park's president and chief executive in 1975. . . .

Groswold was preceded in death by his daughter Karen. He is survived by his brother; his daughters Kathy and Karol; and seven grandchildren. A celebration of his life will be held in the spring of 2016.

Read more.





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