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Passings of Allen Church, Pepi Gramshammer and Bernd Zobel

It is with great sadness that FIS learned of the passing of Pepi Gramshammer and FIS Alpine TDs Allen Church (USA) and Bernd Zobel (AUT).

One of U.S. Ski & Snowboard’s most revered ski racing officials, Allen Church, 91, passed away on 17th August in Albuquerque, N.M. after a long illness. Church’s career as a volunteer official spanned five decades and included serving as an FIS Alpine Technical Delegate from 1978 to 1995. 

With a primary focus on race timing, he then became one of the world’s most knowledgeable experts anda long-time expert member of the FIS Timing and Data Working Group. At the Salt Lake City 2002 Olympic Winter Games, he was selected to take the oath on behalf of all competition judges and officials where he served as chief of timing and scoring for Alpine Skiing.

Church is a recipient of some of U.S. Ski & Snowboard’s highest honours for officials, including the Westhaven Award for international Technical Delegates (1996), John Clair Award for service to the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Teams (2014) and the Bud and Mary Little Award for service to the Olympics and International Ski Federation (2003). He was inducted into the New Mexico Ski Hall of Fame in 2007. In 2015, he was recognised with the organisation’s highest honour, the Julius Blegen Award.

Pepi Gramshammer, who had just turned 87, was an Austrian ski racer who found his way to Vail (USA). He and wife Sheika became one of Vail’s first innkeepers in the early 1960s, rising to a prominent position in the hearts of the Vail Valley community. Through decades of FIS Alpine Ski World Cups and World Championships, Pepi was always at the forefront. 

Gramshammer was instrumental in helping to return World Cup ski racing to the Vail Valley in 1983, along with helping to direct the campaigns to bring the 1989, 1999 and 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships to Vail and Beaver Creek. He also created the Legends of Skiing competitions in conjunction with Vail’s annual American Ski Classic, while being inducted into the Colorado Snowsports Hall of Fame in 1990.

Austrian FIS TD and Alpine Skiing Coach Bernd Zobel passed at the beginning of August, aged 71. A FIS Alpine TD since 1993, Zobel had a career in coaching, beginning as a regional coach in Carinthia from 1978 to 1987. He subsequently became Austrian youth coach from 1987 to 1992, followed by positions as Europa Cup coach and World Cup coach.

In his coaching career, he supported many of Austria’s big names like Stefan Eberharter, Hans Knaus, Christian Mayer, Renate Götschl, Michaela Dorfmeister and Alexandra Meissnitzer. 

Zobel also supported smaller and developing nations with his knowledge, coaching athletes in Canada, Iran, the Czech Republic, Russia and Slovenia.

FIS would like to express its deepest condolences to all family members, friends and loved ones of Allen Church, Pepi Gramshammer and Bernd Zobel, as well as to U.S. Ski & Snowboard and the Austrian Ski Federation.

 
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