William "Bill" Lash
2/1/1928 - 4/23/2023
On April 23rd, 2023 at the age of 95, Bill Lash died in Seattle, Washington. From the age of 12 when he first put on a pair of alpine ski boots and skis during a Boy Scout trip to Galena Pass in the Sawtooth Mountains of Idaho, Bill passionately celebrated, championed, developed, learned, shared, and taught the wondrous and unique international culture and history of alpine skiing, in particular the alpine ski instruction profession, to and with thousands of skiers in the United States and throughout the rest of the world. For Bill, alpine ski instruction was not so much an avocation, but rather his vocation - a way of life that resulted in a number of notable personal and professional firsts in USA professional ski instruction history. He was the first official President of Intermountain (Southern Idaho, Western Wyoming and Utah) Ski Instructors Association (1951-1960), President of National Ski Area Association's Ski Instruction Certification Committee (1957-1960), a Founder and first President of PSIA - Professional Ski Instructors of America (1961-1970), Organizer of the first PSIA/USA Demonstration Team to participate at an Interski - https://interski.org/about (1965, 7th Interski Badgastein, Austria) and promoter of and PSIA/USA Delegation Leader for 8th Interski (1968 Aspen, Colorado--the first Interski to take place outside of Europe), author of An Outline of Ski Teaching Methods (1958), and author and editorial coordinator for Official American Ski Technique, PSIA's first three (1964,1966,1968) books/manuals, all for which he was inducted into the US Ski Hall of Fame in 1983 - https://skihall.com/hall-of-famers/william-lash.
A life dedicated to professional alpine ski instruction culminated in Bill founding, cultivating and leading the Veterans Ski Instructor Reunion (VSIR): "Each year since 1987, at the beginning of the ski season, veteran ski instructors and their families come from each coast, and from throughout the nation, to this reunion [at Deer Valley, Utah]. They come to rekindle old friendships and to make new friendships. They come to enjoy the sport they lived and loved...the sport and business at which they are professionals. And they come to honor their peers. Each year industry standouts are honored. Their careers are memorialized. Their portraits are placed among other notable honorees to be displayed and admired for the contributions they made to the sport." (http://www.vsia.net).
Note: Many of these portraits are on display at the Alf Engen Museum https://engenmuseum.org, in Park City, Utah.
In 1976 Osborn & Ulland, the Seattle based outdoor sports retailer - https://www.skiinghistory.org/lives/olav-ulland recognized Bill as one of the "[14 all told US based] Ski Greats who contributed so much to the growth of [American] skiing and have given such a great part of their lives to ski teaching: Sepp Benedicker, Alf Engen, Sigi Engl, Luggi Foeger, Hal Kilman, Bill Klein, Otto Lang, Bill Lash, Freidl Pfeifer, Sepp Ruschp, Willy Schaeffler, Herbert Schneider, Olaf Ulland, and Paul Valar." (Bill was the sole US born honoree among these internationally recognized legends of the ski instructor profession, as he - like the others in this USA based cohort of his - both championed and personified the best of what it meant/means to be a professional ski instructor: a top-notch skier schooled in the biomechanics and pedagogy of alpine skiing, customer friendly, respectful, and with a contagious joie de vivre for alpine skiing, and in particular for the alpine ski instruction profession - a sport, a culture, a profession imbued with respect and love for: the mountains, continual learning and improvement, conviviality, and most of all a commitment to reach out to and encourage/teach youth - the up and coming generation/s - how ski and respect and nurture the sport and culture of skiing.)
In memory of Bill's life and legacy, please consider a charitable donation to one, and/or all, of the following:
Alf Engen Ski Museum (especially for educational field trip programs for Title I Grade 4 students featuring the history of snowsports) Online: https://engenmuseum.org/donate
Or checks can be mailed to:
Alf Engen Ski Museum, P.O. Box 980187, Park City, Utah 84098
Ski Utah (especially for Ski Utah's Youth Passport Program - https://www.skiutah.com/passes/passports)
Checks should made out to Ski Utah and mailed to:
2749 E. Parleys Way
Salt Lake City, UT 84109
Protect Our Winters (POW) - https://protectourwinters.org/about-pow