Ninety-seven years ago, the Man on the Medal and one of the first and foremost American skier of his era was born in Florida. Dick Durrance Jr. was born on October 14, 1914.
It wasn’t until 1928 when Dick Durrance’s mother moved her family to Germany near Garmisch-Partenkirchen that he started skiing. At seventeen, Durrance would win the German National Junior Championship. The family returned to United States with the rise of Hitler. Dick attended Dartmouth College and started competing from inter-collegiate to international races. Returned to Garmisch to compete in the 1936 Olympics at twenty-four. Although he didn’t podium at the Olympics, we would win seventeen national championship races and is a three time winner of Sun Valley’s Harriman Cup.
After his competitive years, Durrance would turn as attention to many aspect of the ski industry as a instructor, lift and trail designer. He also became awa photographer and award winning filmmaker.
Dick is part of the US Hall of Fame, Colorado Ski Hall of Fame, International Ski Hall of Fame, Aspen Hall of Fame and International Ski Film Hall of Fame.
Warren Miller who is born on October 15, 1924 said this about Durrance:
No other person has ever dominated skiing in America as much, or for as long, as this short man with long skis who man molehills out of mountains.
Richard “Dick” Henry Durrance, Jr. died in Colorado on June 13, 2004 at the young age of ninety-nine.
Here is an excerpt from the documentary film, Man on the Medal: copyright, Jim Kellett, David Schler
Durrance, Dick; Jerome, John (1995): The Man on the Medal: The Life & Times of America’s First Great Ski Racer. Durrance Entreprises, Aspen.
US Ski Hall of Fame biography.
Steve Benson / Aspen Times obituary from June 2004 on Vintage Ski World.