Obituary: Roderick Joel Hebron
July 7, 1942 – April 16, 2023
Roderick ‘Yogi’ Hebron, aged 80, passed away on April 16, 2023. He was a Canadian National Ski Team leader, Olympic and World Cup professional ski racer, entrepreneur, husband, father, grandfather, and friend to the people who were fortunate enough to know him. In November of 2022 he was inducted into the Canadian Ski Hall of Fame. His quiet confidence and humor won him friends as naturally as he won ski races. When asked why his nickname was Yogi, he would say that he liked to steal picnic baskets like Yogi Bear. His many friends will tell you that the nickname had a deeper meaning evident in his Zen-like confidence and inner strength that steered his skis and life purpose.
Born and raised on Grouse Mountain in Vancouver, Canada, Rod started skiing as soon as he could walk. His Dad and Grandpa built the first ski lifts, cabins, and lodges on Grouse Mountain. Throughout his youth, Rod raced for Tyee Ski Club. From 1960-1970, he earned his place as a leader on the Canadian National Ski Team, earning 14 Canadian National championship medals. numerous US Championships, Top 5 World Cup finishes, and skiing for Canada in the 1964 and 1968 Olympics.
Rod earned a bachelor’s degree in Business and Fashion Design from Oregon State University. Rod worked with Bob Lange to develop Lange ski boots and was one of the first to race on Lange boots, Dynamic skis and Look bindings in 1965, at a time when wood skis, leather boots and longthongs were standard. Rod designed and debuted the 4-way stretch racing suit on the World Cup at the Lauberhorn Downhill in Wengen, Switzerland. He designed and applied for patent for the first breakaway ergonomic ski racing pole and a Sportsman’s Cumberbund back support brace. He was a talented designer, and he knew his way around a sewing machine.
Rod was a member of the original ‘Fun Hogs’, along with Yvon Chouinard of Patagonia, Doug Tompkins of The North Face, Jean Claude Killy the French Olympic champion, and others. These climbers, skiers, surfers, and sailors loved life and traveled the world seeking the essence of sport. Their fraternity ‘pin’ was fashioned after the Blue, White, Red Rossignol cock with skis in the center replaced by a similarly colored hog. The Fun Hogs lived such a way that inspired Yogi for life. Yogi opened the eponymously named Fun Hog Ranch Bar & Grill in Silverthorne in 1979.
Skiing in the World Pro Ski Racing Circuit influenced his move to Colorado where he set down roots for the rest of his life. Beginning in 1975, Yogi operated the Last Lift Bar at Keystone Mountain where he met his wife, Kim. He made Summit County his home for over 50 years, owning various other businesses including restaurants, bars, and his ski shop, the Virgin Islands Ski Rentals in Silverthorne, and a tourist catamaran in St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands.
Yogi built his family a beautiful log home and enjoyed spectacular views for a lifetime. Yogi and Kim have two adult children that survive him: Leslie and her husband Matt Brown with their 5-month-old son Miles, and Roderick “Rip” Hebron and his wife, Genevieve Truckey. In the last 2 years of his life, Yogi got to see his children get married, purchase homes, and welcome his first grandchild.
Yogi was a wonderful husband, father, brother, uncle, and grandfather. Everyone loved spending time with Yogi around the dinner table to hear his recollections, not stories, because they were real experiences in his life! His intelligence enriched the lives of his wife and children, teammates, business partners, employees, family, and friends. We will always remember the good that he brought to everyone, and his limitless thinking and optimism. We will miss him dearly.
The family will host a Celebration of Life in Silverthorne June 10, 3-7pm at Eclectic Bay & Grill and in Vancouver in the Fall. Please reach out to Kim at email@example.com, (970) 389-4534. We would love to hear your recollections and memories. If you wish to make any donations in memory of Rod Hebron, please direct them to the Summit County Rescue Group https://www.scrg.org/donate-become-a-friend/ or to the Canadian Ski Hall of Fame in memory of Rod Hebron at https://skimuseum.ca/honoured-members/rod-hebron/
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