Skiing pioneer Ted Farwell leaves his mark on Ski Town USA
Steamboat Springs — Ted Farwell wasn’t born in Steamboat Springs, but what he did in the mountains of Northern Colorado has earned him a place in our town’s legacy.
The world of skiing lost Farwell on Jan. 25. He died at his home in Longmont. But what Ted, and other early Steamboat Springs Olympians, left behind can be found in the fibers of towns like Steamboat Springs.
Farwell’s name is part of a long list of Olympic athletes who called Steamboat Springs home. From an early age, Farwell had dreams of competing on winter sports’ biggest stage.
As a sophomore at Syracuse University, he decided to leave college to pursue his Olympic dreams. Farwell’s journey led him to Steamboat Springs where he camped on the hillside near the jumping hill and slept in a hammock. His sacrifice and hard work paid off with Olympic appearances in 1952 in Oslo, another in 1956 in Cortina and a third in 1960 in Squaw Valley.
His 11th-place finish at the 1952 Olympic Games was the highest placement for the American-born Nordic combined skier. It was a mark that would stand for the next 50 years.
His results earned Farwell’s place in our town’s history. It also gave him a place in the Colorado Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame, the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame and the University of Denver Athletic Hall of Fame.
“It’s sad because one of the good guys is gone,” said Gary Crawford, a former Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club Nordic combined coach. His dad Marvin, who competed in the 1956 Olympic Games, was a friend of Farwell and his wife of more than 60 years, Sigrid.
“He loved the sport of Nordic combined, and he always supported what we were doing at the Winter Sports Club,” Crawford said. “That love is what the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club is all about.
After his competitive skiing career came to an end, Farwell continued to lead by example. He went back to the University of Denver where he competed for the ski team, and he earned a degree in economics. He went on to Stanford University’s School of Business were he collected a master’s degree in business administration. He also completed jet training with the U.S. Air Force and was a helicopter pilot. He loved to fly and continued to fly small aircraft after he left the Armed Services.
Like many people in Steamboat Springs, Farwell loved the outdoors and skiing in particular. It was a love that lasted his whole life.
Farwell worked in the ski industry throughout his adult life as a consultant in planning and appraisal of ski areas. He was proud of designing the first National Economic Analysis of Ski Areas for the National Ski Areas Association.
Many of today’s top athletes never had the chance to watch Farwell compete, but Crawford said Farwell’s legacy and the path he set back in the 1950s are still felt on the hill and inside Howelsen Hill Lodge.
When Farwell passed away, Steamboat Springs and the world of skiing lost one of their greatest pioneers. Farwell was a man who led the way and set an example that today’s top skiers can follow as they chase their own Olympic dreams.
“He was a salt of the earth guy type guy,” Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club nordic director Todd Wilson said. “He used to come to town when we had events here. He was always enthusiastic and always supportive. He was just super nice, and we will miss that.”
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