Erich Windisch - Athlete - 1994

Erich Windisch started skiing in his native Germany at the age of three and won his first race at age seven. For five years, he was a member of the German National Team in ski jumping and Nordic combined, winning nine divisional and national championships. In 1949, Erich was instrumental in the evolution of ski jumping, changing the forward arm movement for balance, to a quiet aerodynamic position of arms alongside the body. This technique is still in use today. His best jump was 337 feet at Oberstdorf in 1950. Also, in 1950, he held the world record in water ski jumping.  Following the war, he taught the Mountain Troops of the 3rd U.S. Army, and later was Director of the Ski School at Schneefernerhaus on Zugspitze near Garmisch in Germany.  In 1957, he moved to Colorado and became co-director of the Willy Schaeffler Arapahoe Basin Ski School. While there, he made an immediate impact by introducing the short-swing (wedel) technique that was soon adopted by the Professional Ski Instructors Association (PSIA). He became a fully certified ski instructor in Europe in 1948, and since 1957, in the Rocky Mountain Ski Instructors Association. In 1965, he was selected to represent PSIA as one of five demonstrators for the Interskie Congress in Badgestein, Austria, and continued on the PSIA demonstration team for several seasons. He ran numerous clinics for different divisions of PSIA.  Erich taught at Vail for decades and was a champion for helping the beginner skiers find dignity in their achievements.  Windisch Way in Vail, the easiest way for beginners to get back to the Golden Peak base area, was named after Erich.  (Deceased)