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Dercum’s delight

SUMMIT COUNTY – Longtime Summit County residents Max and Edna Dercum didn’t get out on the slopes this year – Max is suffering from bouts of rheumatoid arthritis – but they are still out walking and getting fresh air at every opportunity.

Max, who was born in Cleveland, said he got his first pair of skis from his mother at age 6 and reckons this is the first year he has missed skiing since that season in 1918. Max celebrated his 90th birthday in October, but Edna can still claim to be an octogenarian at 88.

The Dercums were instrumental in getting the ski industry on its feet in Summit County, first as co-founders of Arapahoe Basin in 1946, then Max filed the first Dillon Ranger District permit to explore Keystone as a possible ski mountain in 1965. Their past is well checkered with ski lore – Max opening one of the first ski schools in the Sierras to skiing and coaching at Penn State, where he was a professor of forestry.



Sitting in their kitchen Monday afternoon, Max thought back on going to the 1932 Olympics in Lake Placid, N.Y.

“There really wasn’t much snow that year,” he said. “They actually had to push it in from the forest.” He added that back then, there were no alpine events, just crosscountry competition, hockey, speed skating and figure skating.



“Wait a minute,” said Max. “Was there figure skating back then? Was that the year Sonja Henie came out?”

“It sure was,” Edna said. “I remember I was in high school back then.” Max is now a computer buff – downloading old ski films onto his computer and making them into movies. Edna is always near Max and focuses some of her time putting together family photo albums.


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