James Temple - Sport Builder - 2006


Hall
Born in January, 1927, Jim Temple was raised on a remote cattle ranch 52 miles north of Steamboat Springs. Jim's dad made a pair of skis and put Jim on them at the early age of two, and thus began Jim's love of the sport of skiing. In his teens, Jim worked as a ski instructor for Jack Reddish in Brighton, Utah. In 1948, Jim took a job in Sun Valley working on the ski patrol with Nelson Bennett. There, Jim learned how to pack slopes, plan ski runs, control avalanches, and most importantly, from “Benny,” he learned that the ski resort business is really the hospitality industry.  In 1951, Jim married Audrey Light, the granddaughter of pioneer F. M. Light; and Jim's life would never be the same. Jim had an overwhelming urge to build his own ski resort; having traveled from Montana to New Mexico looking for a site, Jim knew that Storm Mountain stood out above all the rest. In 1956, Jim saddled up horses with Marvin Elkins and Forest Supervisor Paul Hauk and rode to the top of Storm Mountain to peruse the vast skiing terrain. He began feasibility studies of the mountain, and the same year Jim also organized snow cat trips with Marvin Elkins to pull skiers to the summit of Storm Mountain.  In 1958, Jim formed the Storm Mountain Ski Corporation. Jerry Groswold served as legal counsel and Bill Sayre was the master plan architect. Jim negotiated with ranchers for four key land parcels at the base of the mountain. First, Jim purchased the most critical land, Ernest Arnold's ranch, which extended 1,100 vertical feet up the mountain. All of the first ski trails and lifts would be on this land. In July 1958, Jim broke ground at the base of Bear Claw with Willis Nash pushing over a big cottonwood tree. Next Jim bought the Smith ranch at the base in the valley. Jim designed ski trails and surveyed a road to the top of Bear Claw. With Jess Brenton, the trees were cleared and ski trails were disked and harrowed until they were the smoothest in Colorado. Then Jim planted them with grass.  From 1958 to 1960, Jim organized many intercollegiate and Winter Carnival ski races on Bear Claw. During the summer months, Jim planned and filed subdivisions on the mountain. Jim invited Sven Wiik to investigate a potential ski-training site, paving the way for Jim and Don Valentine and Sven to found the Nordic Training Center and the Scandinavian Lodge.  In 1960, Jim purchased and built the first lift on Storm Mountain. He then purchased and began the installation of a Hunziker double chair lift 4,000 feet in length rising over 1,100 vertical feet on Bear Claw. Advertised as “Ski in the Sunshine,” “Colorado's Newest and Smoothest,” Jim opened Storm Mountain to the public on December 20, 1960.  (Deceased)