I received answers to last week’s trivia question on the first overall World Cup winners from Bill Shea and Lyndall Heyer. The men’s winner was Jean-Claude Killy and the women’s winner was Nancy Greene from Canada.
Jean-Claude won that first overall cup resoundingly. There were 17 races that season and he won 12 of them. And his wins were spread over all three disciplines, downhill, GS, and slalom. In fact, Killy won all three disciplines for the season leading to the overall cup.
Killy would repeat as overall World Cup champion in 1968. Of course that year his most famous accomplishment was winning the gold medals in each of the three disciplines in the Grenoble Olympics. He was the last person to sweep all the alpine events at the Olympics. Of course there are now more than three events and almost no competitors that compete in all disciplines.
Nancy Greene won a much closer race to win the overall cup. She won 7 of the 17 races, but only one of the three disciplines for the season which was the GS. Like Killy, Nancy Greene would repeat as overall World Cup champion in 1968. She also had a successful Olympics winning the gold in GS and the silver in slalom.
Both Killy and Greene would retire after their 1968 successes. And both Killy and Greene turned 80 this past year.
Nancy Greene would get married to Al Raine in 1969 and would become Nancy Greene Raine, or NGR for short. The Raines would be instrumental in developing Whistler as a destination ski resort and then move to develop Sun Peak Resort, also in British Columbia, where Nancy became the Director of Skiing.
Through the years Nancy has been involved in promoting youth sports in Canada which includes the Nancy Greene Ski League for developing young racers. Her work for youth culminated in being named to the Canadian Parliament from which she retired in 2018.
Nancy and Al still ski almost every day during the winter season! They are truly Retro-Skiers.
I have covered Jean-Claude Killy’s success after retiring from ski racing in past columns. It included TV shows and marketing contracts. More recently he served in a role for the International Olympic Committee coordinating the preparations for the 2014 Sochi winter Olympics skiing events.
Killy is still skiing. I was unable to find documentation on how often he skis, but hopefully he still gets out on a regular basis. Certainly current pictures of him show that he is still in skiing shape.
So my theme this week is “The longer you ski, the longer you live!” I’ve celebrated two skiers who just turned 80, but that motto belongs to Ultimate Retro-Skier Klaus Obermeyer. Obermeyer turned 104 back in December and while he’s cut back on his skiing, he’s still extremely active. He attributes his longevity to skiing, swimming, and Aikido. He still regularly drops by the Obermeyer Company he founded where the motto is “Be like Klaus!”
Another Ultimate Retro-Skier I’ve featured is Junior Buonous. Buonous is now 98 and in recent years he has set the goal of skiing his age in days. He skis Alta and Snowbird where he was the long time Ski School Director and has reached or exceeded his goal each year.
Buonous’ motto is “Don’t stop!” And he is off and running again this season so I expect him to once again exceed his age in number of days skied. In a December interview with KSL news in Salt Lake City, Buonous said:
“Skiing is easy. All you’re doing is letting gravity take you down the hill. Walking is not easy, and so I walk like a 90-year-old [wearing] ski boots. Skiing is better. I’m only 89!”