World Cup co-founder Bob Beattie passed away

02 April 2018 19:17
Bob Beattie
Bob Beattie -
Agence Zoom

An icon of the sport of alpine ski racing and one of its most passionate pioneers, Bob Beattie passed away Sunday (April 1, 2018) with his family in Fruita, Colorado. Beattie, 85, was the founding coach of the U.S. Ski Team and one of the originators of the Alpine Ski World Cup. He was a driving force for ski racing his entire life and among sport leaders who built alpine ski racing into one of the pillar events at the Olympic Winter Games. Beattie, known often as 'Beats' or simply “Coach,” became well known as a commentator for ABC Sports and ESPN, working for ABC at four Olympic Winter Games.

Beattie, who moved to Aspen, Colo. in 1970 and lived for many years in nearby Woody Creek, was born in Manchester, N.H. January 24, 1933, later attending Middlebury College in Vermont where he was a multisport athlete.

In 1957 he became the head ski coach at the University of Colorado, leading the Buffs to NCAA titles in 1959 and 1960. In 1961 the National Ski Association named Beattie as its first national team coach. He embraced that role, providing the formative direction to organize the first true national team with heavy promotion leading up to the 1964 Olympics at Innsbruck, where the USA won an unprecedented four alpine medals.

One of the sport's greatest promoters, Beattie partnered with journalist Serge Lang and French coach Honorė Bonnet in 1966 to align the leading ski races around the globe in the first Alpine Ski World Cup. The tour quickly earned the nickname of the White Circus as stars of the sport hopscotched the globe every weekend, quickly growing to become one of the most notable international sports tours. A half-century later, the tour continues to bring alpine ski racing to hundreds of millions of fans globally every year. Today, the World Cup tour concept is common among winter sports - all emanating from the Lang-Beattie-Bonnet concept.

After leaving his coaching career, Beattie started World Wide Ski Corp., pioneering the World Pro Ski Tour in 1970. He also played an important role in the NASTAR promotion, became a television commentator working for ABC and later for ESPN and never stopped to encourage affordable skiing for kidss.

He is one of the most decorated officials in skiing. The U.S. Ski Team and International Ski Federation presented Beattie the FIS Journalist Award in 1997 and during the Alpine Ski World Cup Finals at Aspen last March, he was the focal point of a 50 Years of Ski Racing tribute.

Beattie remained passionately engaged in the sport his whole life. He was ski racing's biggest, and its most outspoken critic. He continued to be an advocate for change.

He married four times. He had a son, Zeno Beattie, daughter Susan, six grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

Details on a celebration of Bob Beattie's life are pending, but will likely be this fall in Aspen.

Courtesy of U.S. Ski & Snowboard