Ski pioneer Jerry Simon dies
Jerold Stanton Simon, 79, a trailblazer in the promotion and development of snow skiing for 50 years, and recognized as one of 16 “Founders of Skiing USA,” passed away at his Las Vegas home on July 24. He was born May 14, 1931, in New York City. In 1964, Simon began co-producing consumer Ski Shows in major U.S. cities, featuring such superstars as Olympic medalists Stein Eriksen, Jean-Claude Killy, and Billy Kidd. Ski shows were the kick-off to the ski season and introduced tens of thousands of new skiers to the sport. For this, Simon and partner Harry Leonard were together acknowledged as “Founders of Skiing USA,” alongside originators of ski lifts, equipment, and area development. In the 1970s, Simon knew safety was key to the growing sport. He developed the Skiing Mechanics and Managers Workshops, a successful training program. Another ’70s brainstorm, the International Ski Film Festival showcased the best of each season’s ski movies. In 1992, sponsor Crested Butte created a sleek glass statuette to present to film/video winners and aptly named it the “Jerry.” For ski filmmakers, the “Jerry” was their “Oscar.” In 1976, Simon organized a ski travel sales tour called SkiGroup which joined ski resort marketers with group buyers in time to plan the upcoming season. The original eight-city tour developed into a 30-city selling blitz, which thrived for 25 years. SkiGroup was an incredible sales aid to ski resorts worldwide. It was so invaluable to Austria that Simon was awarded the “Order of the Eagle” by the Austrian National Tourist Board, who loved the fact that Simon’s middle name spelled out their renowned ski resort, St. Anton. Simon’s marriage to Barbara Alley was the first wedding on the peak of Jackson Hole Ski Resort. He literally created a career for Alley when he had her narrate an improvised fashion show at the Ski Shows. Years later, he conceived Alley’s appearing on TV talk shows with ski fashions modeled by choreographed dancers. These shows toured 11 years, appearing on both local and national programs, including “The Today Show.” Simon’s ski industry accolades include the 2004 BEWI Award for “outstanding contributions to the sport of skiing.” He and Alley are the only husband and wife to have won BEWIs. In 2005 he received the NASJA ski writers’ Golden Quill Award. In 2008 he and Leonard were given the Far West Ski Assn.’s first Snowsports Builder award.The Simons have lived in both New York City and Las Vegas. Simon graduated Erasmus High in Brooklyn. He attended the University of Southern Mississippi, served in Korea, and came home to graduate from Brooklyn College with a BS in Psychology. He is survived by his wife, Barbara, and a son, Jordan of NYC. Donations in his memory may be made to the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Hall of Fame, PO Box 191, Ishpeming MI 49849.
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