Richard Stillman - Sport Builder - 1995

Dick Stillman grew up in East Rochester, New York and began skiing in his teens in Old Forge, New York. He served in the U.S. Army’s 10th Mountain Division from 1943 to 1946, trained at Camp Hale, and saw action in Italy. He graduated from Utah State University in 1950 with a Bachelor of Science in botany.  During his 30-year career in the Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Dick established and maintained the High Alpine Avalanche Research Station at Berthoud Pass, Colorado from 1950 to 1963. At that time the station, at elevation 11,315 feet, was the highest in the world conducting avalanche research. He started in a field where there was little or no knowledge and became one of the top avalanche authorities in the United States.  Dick’s research included continuous field observations, tests of snow and avalanche conditions, and operation of various kinds of instrumentation to obtain specialized data for making forecasts of avalanche hazard and occurrence. He developed and applied criteria for initiating snow safety through avalanche control measures, including control by skiing down slopes, blasting and using artillery. He kept the state highway department, ski area operators and the general public informed of areas which were safe or unsafe for skiing and traveling, created training material and conducted intensive courses in methods and procedures of determining avalanche hazard and techniques of control.  Dick lectured extensively to professional and lay groups, served as chief avalanche instructor and on the advisory committee for the National Ski Patrol, and conducted “show-me” trips for scientists from the U.S. and foreign countries.  The Avalanche Handbook, USDA, Washington, D.C., the one authoritative reference on avalanche research in this country includes information that Dick contributed. He co-authored “Avalanche Research, A Progress Report,” published in December 1954 and June 1955.  (Deceased)