Marnie Jump remembered
June 27, 2011
Marjorie Brown “Marnie” Jump, 92, of Denver, formerly of Vail, died Thursday.
“It makes me very sad, although she lived an amazingly full life,” said Kerry Gibson, a Summit County realtor who got to know Jump in the mid-1990s and visited her after she moved to Denver’s Park Place assisted living home.
After serving in the Navy in World War II, Jump moved to Colorado, where she began looking for work and wound up at the recently-opened Arapahoe Basin Ski Area. Larry Jump, who became her husband, was among the founders of the ski area in 1946, a year before Marnie Jump moved west. When she arrived, A-Basin was facing financial difficulty – which Marnie Jump tackled.
According to the Colorado Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame, she used her connections to help raise the needed money (the area was $45,000 in debt and had $117 in the bank) and became vice president of Arapahoe Basin Corporation.
Longtime friend and co-founder of Keystone Resort, Jane Bergman, recalls good times at A-Basin with Marnie Jump in their younger days, such as the times they’d ski under the Pallavicini chairlift to the Faculty Club, a cabin in the woods, for lunch.
Bergman remembers that Jump and her husband put a lot of their money into A-Basin to keep it going in its early years. The inaugural season of “The Legend” opened with a single rope tow, $1.25 daily lift tickets and an Army weapons carrier pulled by a four-wheel drive vehicle to transport skiers to the base of the tow.
“It’s the heart of our pioneers that shaped our skiing so much. They had dreams and vision and they stuck it out. (The Jumps) risked a lot to keep A-Basin going,” said Gibson, who was a volunteer auxiliary patroller in the 1970s. “The heart and soul of A-Basin hasn’t changed. It’s a tribute … to its founders.”
According to history from A-Basin’s website, Larry Jump and Sandy Schauffler were hired by the Winter Sports Committee from Denver’s Chamber of Commerce to survey potential ski area sites, and identified the west slope of Loveland Pass as a possibility. Together with Olympic medalist Dick Durrance, they formed a company and bid for special use of the site through the Forest Service. Max Dercum came on board later to help build the mountain.
Gibson befriended Jump at about the time A-Basin was turning 50, and Gibson was putting together a reunion for the mountain and its patrollers. She wanted to have the ski area’s history documented for those attending the event – so she picked up the phone and called Jump, who “was thrilled,” Gibson said.
“We stayed in touch. I had lunch with her about six months ago,” Gibson said, adding that she also had the honor of celebrating Jump’s 80th birthday with her, skiing with her after she turned 80 and visiting Jump’s secret stashes at Vail.
“Marnie had, for me, this drive to live,” Gibson said. “Even after she fell and was confined to a walker. She had a wonderful laugh and wonderful sense of humor.”
Bergman, who turns 87 on Tuesday, has several pictures together with Jump – who was a member of the Colorado Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame for her contributions to the industry – from the early days of Summit County skiing. Jump became a full-time resident of Vail after her husband’s death, and remained there for about 20 years.
She was born in Pittsburgh, Pa., to McCleane and Helen Brown. She was educated at the Ethel Walker School and Bennington College. She attended the Church of Transfiguration, was a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and was a volunteer at Betty Ford Alpine Gardens and Vail Valley Clinic. Survivors include son McCleane Jump and daughters Patricia McCray and Alice Jump.
Services will be 11 a.m. Wednesday at St. John’s Cathedral in Denver. Memorial gifts may be sent to the Church of Transfiguration in Vail. Horan McConaty Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
– The Vail Daily contributed to this story.