Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame
John Litchfield - 1917
Inducted into the Colorado Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame 2002
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Born in Lisbon,
Maine on July 21,1917 when skis were made of pine, maple, or hickory wood and
fitted with toe straps, John P. Litchfield began to ski at the age of four.
During his high school years in the 1930s, John was already an avid competitor in the disciplines of ski jumping, cross-country and downhill and earned several championships. He was honored by the state of Maine by being awarded a trophy as the best junior skier in the state.
John’s successful ski competitions continued at Dartmouth College where he earned an economics degree while at the same time winning awards in many ski events. In 1937 he was a member of the first U.S. Alpine Ski Team at the Pan American Winter Games in Chile. He was then chosen to be a member of the U.S. FIS Ski Team competing for the world championships. In 1940 he was named to the U. S. Olympic Ski Team, but the games were not held that year due to World War II.
John’s skiing career took him to Sun Valley, Idaho where he served as a ski instructor from 1940 to 1942 before joining up with the famed 10th Mountain Division that trained at Camp Hale. Captain John Litchfield served in the 10th Mountain Division from 1942 to 1945 and received a bronze star during the Italian campaign.
After World War II John returned to Colorado. Along with Freidl Pfeiffer and Percy Rideout, he started the Aspen Ski School where he became Co-Director. John was also an original investor in the Aspen Ski Company as well as the original owner and operator of the famous “Red Onion Restaurant” in Aspen. During 1945 to 1946 he served on the Denver Chamber of Commerce Committee to develop winter sports in the state of Colorado. All the while he continued to compete. In 1947 he placed first in slalom, seventh in downhill and third in Alpine Combined at the championships of the Southern Rocky Mountain Ski Association.
John left Colorado to return to Sun Valley, Idaho where he progressed from ski instructor to chief instructor, and then to Executive Director of the Sun Valley Ski School. His civilian life was interrupted however, by a recall to active duty during the Korean War.
When he returned to Colorado after that war, he resuming ski racing, in the “Senior Masters Series,” winning nine first place finishes, two-second place finishes, and three third places.
John has been president of the Rocky Mountain Chapter of the National Association of the 10th Mountain Division, a national association board member, and a board member of the 10th Mountain Hut System. He currently serves on the National Board of the 10th Mountain Division Foundation.
On April 27, 2001, John was honored by the State of Maine as they inducted him into their “Sports Hall of Fame.” He currently resides in Denver, Colorado.