Frank Willoughby - Sport Builder - 1994


Hall
Frank Willoughby arrived in Aspen in 1922. He graduated from the Colorado School of Mines and later managed the Midnight Mine in Aspen.  In 1936, he and his father, Fred Willoughby, aided Tom Flynn, Ted Ryan, Billy Fisk and Frank Ashley in forming the Highland Bavarian Corporation to develop a ski resort in the Aspen area. They enlisted the assistance of Dr. Gunther Langes, a mountaineer from Vienna, and Andre Roch, a skiing expert from Switzerland.  Andre Roch introduced new skiing techniques, and he and Frank recruited volunteers to cut trails by hand, creating among other runs, the famous Roch run, on which many national and international races are run today. He formed and was the first President of the Aspen Ski Club in 1937 (originally named the Roaring Fork Winter Sports Club), and the members were among the chief volunteers in blazing trails on Aspen Mountain. They also designed a jump, warming huts, and installed a boat tow to haul skiers uphill.  The club hosted many races through the Southern Rocky Mountain Ski Association, getting many ski clubs involved, and putting up competitors in their own homes. They staged the regional championships in 1938 and 1940 and the National Alpine Championship in 1941, which put Aspen on the map. Because of the 1941 races, many members of the 10th Mountain Division stationed at Camp Hale participated, such as John Litchfield, Percy Rideout and Friedl Pfeifer. The enthusiasm and development of those that Frank recruited convinced Walter Paepcke to provide the financial backing to launch the Aspen Skiing Corporation.  (Deceased)