Ski pioneer, 10th Mountain veteran

Passing Date: 
Sunday, April 30, 2017
Vermont ski pioneer Wendell R. “Wendy” Cram died on April 30, 2017, at age 96 in Manchester Center, Vermont. 
Born in 1920 in Bridgewater, Vermont, he was already an expert skier in 1934 when he was one of the first riders on the new rope tow at Gilbert’s Hill in Woodstock—the first rope tow in the United States. Three years later, he set a record for the most vertical feet of skiing logged in a single day. Starting at dawn and skiing until dusk at Vermont’s Suicide Six, he racked up more than 100 runs on the 325-vertical-foot slope, with the tow running at an accelerated pace and a banked snow ramp so he could grab the rope without stopping.
Wendy attended Woodstock High School and Norwich University. After placing second at the national tryouts at Mt. Hood, he was named to the 1940 U.S. Olympic team. When war broke out and the Games were canceled, he volunteered for the 10th Mountain Division, serving as an instructor at Camp Hale in Colorado. A serious back injury, suffered there, prevented his deployment to the Aleutians and Italy.
After the war, Wendy taught skiing at Sun Valley until the early 1960s. Then he returned with his wife Anne to Vermont, and in 1965 they opened Wendy’s Ski Shop in Manchester. In the early ’70s the couple founded the Dorset training group, America’s first training academy for bicycle racing. For 33 years Wendy taught skiing at Stratton Mountain, and in the summer months worked as head groundskeeper at the Palmer House resort. He was a familiar sight in Manchester, riding his three-wheeled recumbent bike on the “Wendy’s Way” bike path into his mid-90s.
Wendy was predeceased in 2005 by his brother Earl, and in 2015 by his brother Vernon.
Survivors include five nieces and two nephews. To see a short documentary about his life, taped by local high-school students when Wendy was 95, go to: A memorial fund has been established to support the Vermont Ski and Snowboard Museum; Cram was inducted into the VTSSM Hall of Fame in 2003. For information, go to

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