Sandy Treat - 2010

When Sandy Treat, Sr. first went skiing as six-year-old at Lake Placid, his father led him down the hill with a rope holding Sandy back. About halfway down the slope, Sandy said, “OK Dad, let me go.” From that moment, up until this very day, Sandy has kept going down that hill, faster and faster, leading a group of countless others with him.    Long before Sandy moved with his family to Colorado, he became part of the storied history of skiing in the state, along with that of this country. Sandy volunteered for the 10th Mountain Division and trained at Camp Hale in the early 1940's. Not only did Sandy train, but as an experienced skier, he also instructed fellow troopers. Sandy used his cross-country knowledge to show soldiers how to ski through trees with 90-poud packs on their backs.    More than 40 years after his service to the country, Sandy returned to live in Colorado. From the very first winter Sandy arrived in 1986, up until a horrific ski accident in 2009, Sandy has been one of the most dominant male Master skiers of his class in the Rocky Mountain Region. Along with his on-snow accomplishments, Sandy has been a major part of the skiing community through his work to help others in the sport and promote skiing in the Vail Valley and State of Colorado.     Even before arriving in Colorado, Sandy wrote to then Vail Mayor Paul Johnston asking how he could help the community. With the 1989 World Ski Championships on the horizon, Sandy immediately volunteered in several capacities, including with Mountain Operations Manager Sarge Brown (Sandy was his right-hand man). Additionally, Sandy used his deep knowledge of ski racing and the World Cup circuit to aid in the Championships’ smooth running.     Sandy has held many board positions with local volunteer organizations, but most notably was instrumental in resurrecting the Jimmie Heuga Center from financial trouble during his eight-year tenure on that board. An accomplished business person, Sandy made some tough decisions so that the Colorado-based charity, which helps individuals with multiple sclerosis, could continue to serve the tens of thousands of those affected by the disease.     When Sandy first started Masters Skiing near his home in Toronto, Sandy was at a distinct disadvantage having concentrated on cross-country for years (he was a four-time letter winner and No. 1 skier at Dartmouth College) and not having raced much as a child.     When he began to race in Colorado, Sandy was not at the top of his age class of the Rocky Mountain Division pack. In no time, Sandy was among a perennial of podium finishers. Sandy’s dedication to racing could easily be seen by anyone who happened to catch a glimpse of him on the Ski & Snowboard Club Vail training hill. By 1994 and many other years to follow, Sandy swept the Rocky Mountain Division Championships. And as he moved up classes, Sandy continued to win at a consistent pace. Despite the lack of competition, Sandy continued to train hard and race at his own high standards and was training for an upcoming race when he had a terrible crash. Sandy’s accident may have put an end to his illustrious racing career, but it only opened another door for his commitment to the sport and desire to help others. Less than a year after his fall, which was so severe that he lost an eye and had to be airlifted to Denver for treatment, Sandy was back on the slopes. Although he promised his doctor he wouldn’t race anymore, Sandy never thought about giving up his passion and found a new outlet with the Foresight Ski Guides, a service for visually impaired and blind skiers. As an experienced skier now visually impaired himself, Sandy helped train some of the newer guides. Sandy’s recent situation has brought him to realize how many people can enjoy the sport of skiing, and he has sought to help the Vail Veterans Program that brings injured soldiers to the slopes in Colorado.     Along with his direct involvement in skiing, Sandy has been a leader in the Eagle County community and promoter of the area on an international level. Sandy, a long-time Rotary Club member, helped started up the Edwards branch.  And there are always the little “Sandy” moments, when someone will see him skiing, stop him and say, “Remember me, Sandy?” The now-bearded, but once fresh-faced boy would likely be someone Sandy helped kick-start their racing career in Ohio, or a child of a fellow Masters racer from Canada, or a local child who listened intently as Sandy told stories from the 10th Mountain Division at Camp Hale.  Sandy spends Friday afternoons sharing his "Fireside Chats" at the Colorado Ski & Snowboard Museum with visitors from around the world.