Ski And Snowboard Hall of Fame
Robert S. Balch 1909-1944
Inducted into the Colorado Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame 1978
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Bob, a native of Massachusetts and a Harvard architectural graduate, had participated for his school in the 1931 Hochgebirge Cup race on rainy Mt. Moosilauke, New Hampshire, before he was contacted by a group of Denver businessmen to evaluate the Jones Pass area for skiing potential. His familiarity with that Divide country evolved into a characteristic love for guiding visitors on ski -touring trips into its many cirques and valleys.
When the Moffatt Tunnel through the Continental Divide made the deep snow of the Western Slope available in the late 20's, Denver's Arlberg Club began cutting the Mary Jane Trail near the West Portal of the tunnel. Balch became caretaker of the club's lodge there and was on hand when George Cranmer began developing Winter Park in the late 30's to lay out its first runs (the Balch Trail is named for him.) He was Winter Park's first manager and was responsible for the installation of its first famous T-bar. He was also one of the "innovators" who were frequently employed to introduce skiing turns at Colorado's jumping areas.
Bob was killed when his troop transport was torpedoed in the Mediterranean during World War II.