Frank Springer lent me a copy of the program for the 1960 American International Alpine Ski Races held in Stowe. The program was designed and edited by his grandfather Frank Springer-Miller.

Frank Springer-Miller

Frank Springer-Miller arrived in New York City in the 1920s and got a job as a graphics artist for a major ad agency.  While in New York, he would meet his wife Louise who was another German émigré.  They would have two children, Fred and Madi.

The family loved to come to Vermont for hiking and skiing since it reminded them of their homes.  Eventually the Springer-Millers bought a farm house on the Mountain Road and moved to Stowe.

Frank Springer-Miller became very involved in the Mount Mansfield Ski Club.  He designed the current MMSC logo.  Actually his original logo included a ski pole which was dropped in the 2002/2003 season as the club became more inclusive. Under the auspices of the MMSC, he also compiled and edited the first Stowe Guide in 1955!

The concept for the American International Races stated in 1952 when Stowe was going to host the U.S. National Championships in March. C.V. Starr and Sepp Ruschp wanted to host an international race where the best skiers in the world would compete and not just competitors from the United States. Sepp felt that for the level of U.S. ski racing to improve, they needed to race against international competition. National champions in the events would be earned by the highest finishing American, but the overall winners would be whoever had the fastest times.

To get the International racers to come to the United States and Stowe to race, C.V. Starr offered to pay the travel expenses for all the medalists from the 1952 Olympics.  MMSC Historian Mike Leach says, “They succeeded in getting 3 men who medaled, and at least one woman (Andy Mead). “

The 1960 races were the 5th in the series and were held from March 11th-13th. Unlike the 1952 event, a majority of the competitors were from Europe, possibly because many had come over for the Olympics in Squaw Valley (now Palisades Tahoe) and stayed for the Stowe races. Some of the recognizable names included medalists from those games: Guy Perillat, Jean Vuarnet (yeah, the sunglasses guy), Pepi  Stiegler, Hias Leitner, and Traudl Hecher. For the U.S. , fresh from their medals were Betsy Snite and Penny Pitou.

The Downhills were held on the Nose Dive with the men starting literally at the top of the Nose! The women started just below the Seven Turns. Yes, the “Seven Turns” were still there and for the men negotiating them after getting a running start from up on the Nose must have been a challenge!

Thanks to Mike Leach I got the results for the event. The Downhill winner for the men was Guy Perillat of France in 1:50.8! Wow! The top American was Gordy Eaton skiing for Middlebury in 14th place. The women’s Downhill winner was Traudl Hecher of Austria in 1:31.3. Joan Hannah was the first American placing 3rd.

In the other women’s events, Betsy Snite won the slalom and was 2nd in the GS. Austrian Marianne Jahn won the GS. Guy Perillat followed up his Downhill win by winning the men’s slalom while Francois Bonlieu also of France won the GS.

There was a Combined result which I was surprised to learn was really a tabulation of all the events. Originally the Combined score was determined by the Downhill and Slalom results and even today that’s the concept, although it’s a dying event. The idea of combining all of the events is a throwback to a time when all competitors were expected to ski all events. Today specialization is the norm and the number of men or women who ski all events can be counted on one hand!

Back to the event’s program. The program included many articles from the history of the American International Races to the Mount Mansfield Ski Patrol to the relatively new appearance of metal skis. There was also an article by Fred Springer-Miller (our Frank’s father) on teaching his wife (Frank’s mother) to ski. Hint: It didn’t go well! His advice was leave it to a professional ski instructor! By the way, Frank’s mother became a professional ski instructor!

And then there were the advertisements and sponsoring businesses. When I saw the Sans Souci name I vaguely remembered the name, but couldn’t remember where it was located? I had to look it up.

But Norma Stancliffe knew where it was! She was quick to name Field Guide as the current occupant of the old Sans Souci. According to the Stowe Historical Society: “From 1944 to 1946, it was the Bernstorff Arms Inn and then became the Top Notch Inn with multiple owners from 1946 to 1954. It was renamed Sans Souci Inn, again with multiple owners from 1954 to 1983. It was again renamed to Ye Olde England Inne until new owners took over in 2014 to create Field Guide.”

Lyndall Heyer also identified Field Guide. She remembered Sans Souci from when she was growing up. She also said she never knew what the name meant so I looked it up also. In French it means “without worry!”