Resort executive, U.S. Hall of Fame honored member

Passing Date: 
Friday, October 9, 2020

Resort founder and executive, U.S. Hall of Fame member and ski safety advocate Phil Gravink died October 9. He was 85.

Gravink grew up on a 460-acre dairy farm in western New York. From there he went to Cornell University in the early 1950s, where he excelled at crew. After success at international rowing competitions, he returned to the family farm in 1956. That year, with a heavy snowfall and talk of a new ski area in nearby Clymer, New York, Gravink saw a business opportunity. With the support of Otto Schniebs, Gravink opened Peek’n Peak ski area, serving as its chairman and general manager for 13 years.

Gravink later served as general manager at New York state-owned Gore Mountain, after which he was recruited by former New Hampshire Gov. Sherman Adams to become CEO and president of Loon Mountain, where he created a top-ranked ski resort from 1977 to 1991. His ski area management career continued with Sno-Engineering, which led to a CEO role at New Hampshire’s Attitash Mountain Resort until 1999.

Gravink was president and treasurer of Ski Areas of New York and a longtime director of the New England Ski Museum, where he was instrumental in major projects like the acquisition and renovation of the Paumgarten Building and the renovation of the Eastern Slope Branch. He also served on the board of the National Ski Areas Association, including a stint as president from 1979-1981.

He contributed to skiing safety as a delegate to the American Society for Testing and Materials for more than a decade, helping to write standards for ski brakes. He was inducted into the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame in 2011.

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