Nelson Carmichael to be inducted into US Ski Hall of Fame
April 3, 2009
Steamboat Springs — Marie Carmichael said her son Nelson achieved Olympic glory, thanks to his relentless work ethic and easy-going nature.
Only once did she detect the ambition that made Nelson Carmichael a two-time World Cup moguls season champion and an Olympic bronze medalist.
“He was in about ninth or 10th grade, and I was cleaning his room,” Marie Carmichael said. “I found a note he had written. It said, ‘I want to be among the top five skiers in the world.'”
Not only did Nelson Carmichael become one of the world’s top five moguls racers, in his heyday, he was the best. And now, he’ll be acknowledged as one of his nation’s greatest skiers.
Carmichael will be one of four skiers inducted into the U.S. National Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame in Ishpeming, Mich., this weekend during a ceremony in Park City, Utah.
He will be inducted along with Olympic silver medalist Liz McIntyre, former U.S. Ski team member Cary Adgate and ski mountaineering pioneer Bill Briggs.
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“It’s an honor and a surprise,” Carmichael said. “It’s something I never think about. It’s very flattering.”
Carmichael moved to Steamboat Springs when he was 11 and trained with the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club before making the U.S. Ski Team after high school.
Carmichael is best known for winning a bronze medal in moguls at the 1992 winter Olympics in Albertville, France. But he said his most treasured memories from his career don’t have anything to do with finishing third.
Carmichael won the World Cup moguls title in 1988, then successfully defended his championship in 1989.
“The World Cup was really what everyone was after and to win it in 1988, that was definitely one of the highlights for me,” he said. “It was such a struggle, such a long tour with so many events and so many great competitors. Fortunately, I was able to defend it the next year, too.”
He also won six national titles in moguls racing.
Carmichael said he received word of his induction into the hall late last year and the news sparked memories of his 20-year career. In addition to his medal-winning performance in 1992, he also skied in the 1988 Calgary Olympics and was a big part of freestyle skiing at a critically important time for the sport.
Moguls was just a demonstration event at the Calgary games, and freestyle skiing was slowly incorporated into the Olympics.
Freestyle skiing is honored in this year’s hall inductions not only by Carmichael’s presence but also by McIntyre’s.
McIntyre won silver in the women’s moguls at the 1994 Lillehammer, Norway, games, then competed again four years later in Nagano, Japan. She coached the U.S. Ski Team’s freestylers after retiring in 1998, guiding a handful of other U.S. skiers to the Olympic medal podium.
“It was two great career experiences for me,” said McIntyre, now living in Granby. “I had a really challenging, fun and exciting time both as an athlete and as a coach.
“Being inducted is something very cool, something I had never conceived of or considered because I just like to ski.”
Carmichael will join a strong group of Steamboat-connected skiers already in the hall. Gordon Wren was inducted in 1958, Buddy Werner in 1964, Katy Rodolph Wyatt in 1966, Carl Howelsen in 1969, Billy Kidd in 1976, Sven Wiik in 1981 and Deb Armstrong in 1984.
“It seems like a lifetime ago,” Carmichael said about his competitive days. “It was another chapter of my life, that’s for sure, but I still love to ski. This has brought back all those memories – the good times, bad times and the whole era.”
Carmichael was inducted into the Colorado Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame in 2004.
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