Peak Performers nominee: Gene Gillis, Alpine skiing |

Peak Performers nominee: Gene Gillis, Alpine skiing

Gene Gillis (right) was one of the most important shapers of Summit County's winter sports community decades after he competed in Alpine ski racing for the United States at the 1948 Winter Olympics in St. Moritz, Switzerland.
Courtesy Don Sather

Editor’s note: Readers nominated their all-time favorite Summit County athletes for Peak Performers: The Mount Rushmore of Summit County athletes. Voting is now live at

Nominee: Gene Gillis
Sport: Alpine skiing

Gene Gillis goes down in history as one of the most important and influential of ski town figures not just in Summit County, but across the United States.

The Bend, Oregon, native was a passionate lifelong skier after he learned how to stay upright on a pair of planks at the age of 3. His love for downhill racing led him to race for the U.S. at the 1948 Winter Olympics in St. Moritz, Switzerland.

After his racing career concluded, Gillis transitioned to decade after decade of coaching and ski area development success. Having already helped to develop Mount Bachelor in Oregon and Stratton Mountain in Vermont, Gillis was a key part of the team that developed Keystone Resort after he moved to Summit County in 1971.

Gillis was a main influencer in creating the kind of ski and ride experience recreators have today at the resort’s North Peak and Jones Gulch areas, and he also was a major player in the installation of snowmaking at Keystone.

A co-founder of the Summit Ski and Education Foundation and a head coach of the Summit Race Team, Gillis played a major part in countless Summit County winter sports athletes lives.

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