Thursday, January 31, 2019

Pioneer Willy

Pioneer Willy is an outstanding gladed ski trail out in the Western Territory of The Beavers. To get there, ski a little more than 1/2 way down Loafer and take a left at the Pioneer Willy sign. You will find a beautiful, modestly sloped, black tree skiing run that is really fun.

The trail is named after Willy Schaeffler, a historical figure not just at A-Basin, but throughout the entire ski world. Born in Bavaria, Willy qualified for the 1936 Olympics, but did not compete due to injuries. After brutal service in World War II, he moved to the United States. There he met A-Basin President Larry Jump. With Larry's help, he formed the Willy Schaeffler Ski School at Arapahoe Basin. He went on to coach the Denver University Pioneers Ski Team winning 13 National Championships. He was the Director of Ski Events at the 1960 Olympics in Squaw Valley and was later named the Head Coach of the US Ski Team. He is a member of Colorado Sports Hall of Fame, Colorado Ski Hall of Fame and US Ski Hall of Fame.

Willy's stamp on The Basin is something we are very proud of.







6 comments:

KSA 1 said...

Two runs on the mountain named for him. That is very special. Good job Al

Alan Henceroth - COO said...

So I have to come clean on something I mis-wrote about a couple of years ago. Willy's (Willie's) Wide was named after after Billy or Willie White, an A-Basin patroller killed in an automobile accident in the early 1980's. I was confused earlier and wrote that it was named after Willy Schaeffler. Sorry about that.

KSA 1 said...

So I meant you have one off Montezuma Cornice and now one in the Beavers

Alan Henceroth - COO said...

That is also two different people and confusing. Sandy Schauffler was another Friend of Larry's and a founding member of A-Basin. Willy Schaeffler's name spelling is slightly different. So..... Schauffler is on Founder's Ridge in Montezuma Bowl. Pioneer Willy is in The Beavers. Yes, very confusing.

Luke Durkin said...

Alan, something Taos has/had on their website that I love is a back story about many of the runs and their names. I think it'd be great if A-Basin would do the same or similar!

David in WNC Mtns said...

As an AB veteran it is nice to know the history of Willy. Particularly your reference to WWII "after brutal service" as I am revisiting my father's story as a B-17 navigator who was shot down and spent 10 months in a POW camp. Willy was a hero by serving in WWII they all are heroes. Peace