Gerald Ford: America’s Ski Bum President

Matt Scribner |
Ford family
President Gerald Ford and his family enjoying a beautiful day at Vail (Image: Twitter)

Of all the 46 Presidents the United States has elected in its nearly 250-year history, President Gerald Ford takes the crown for best skier. The 38th President was an avid alpinist in his day and even owned a house in Vail where he regularly enjoyed hitting the slopes with his family.

President Ford was quite the athlete, leading him to develop a solid skillset as a respectable skier. The politician, who was raised in Grand Rapids, MI, had an illustrious career as a Center for the University of Michigan Wolverines football team. He was a key member of the 1932 National Champion squad, even earning MVP honors after the Minnesota game in 1933. This led him to receive offers to play professional football for the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers, which he would eventually turn down in order to study law at Yale University before enlisting in the Navy during WWII. Talk about an overachiever.

Ford’s respect for the sport and time living in Vail led him to fall in love with skiing in a way that so many others across the country and world have. Beginning in 1968, Ford began bringing his family to Vail to enjoy the Rocky Mountain atmosphere the resort had to offer. His family enjoyed skiing there so much that they bought property in the town, becoming a notable resident in the community and developing a reputation for charging hard down groomers and even taking the occasional hard fall. After he left office, he built a house alongside the Strawberry lift at Beaver Creek and spent his retirement from public service enjoying the brisk mountain air and deep powder that Colorado’s Rocky Mountains have to offer. Ford was often seen hitting the slopes alongside skiing Secret Service Agents, Vail Executives, and ski patrol, famously wearing a pair of Rossignol Skis originally constructed in Vermont. He even raced in celebrity skiing events until his knees forced him to take a step back from the sport in 1984!

President Ford
President Ford pictured on the right cruising down a groomer at Vail (Image: The Denver Post)

Our 38th President contributed heavily to the Vail community over the years, helping develop the town into the ski mecca it is known as today. He is responsible for bringing two World Alpine Ski Championships to the state of Colorado, which was a key factor in proving to the world that the state should be considered one of the globe’s premier skiing destinations and developing a ski culture that rivaled that of Europe. Additionally, Ford served as a board member of the Vail Valley Foundation for over two decades, cementing his important place in this mountain community. He also created the Ford Cup in 1982, which is presently known as the American Ski Cup. He established the AEI World Forum, an annual gathering of former and current political and business moguls to discuss current issues impacting the modern world. On top of all of these significant contributions to the Vail community, Ford successfully raised the funds necessary to construct the Ford Amphitheater and the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens, two significant attractions in Eagle County that locals and visitors alike have come to enjoy.

Who knew our 38th President was so invested in the ski community? A true skier at heart, it is awesome to see someone who ascended to be the leader of the free world be so infatuated with the sport and community we have all come to love and respect so much. Cheers to you, President Ford!

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3 thoughts on “Gerald Ford: America’s Ski Bum President

  1. Stagflation. It’s the name used to describe the financial/economic times of the late 70’s and early 80’s.

    Its a middle and working class killer. Brought on by reckless and ignorant economic policies.

    Its sad how poorly educated 99.9% of America is. Our public school system is a complete failure and does very little the prep our people for the real world. I’m sure a few million more liberal art students is what our country needs.

  2. Major bum. Kinda like our current one. Ruined the economy. Get ready for stagflation. If you don’t know what that is read up on it. Its starting as we speak.

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