This site is dedicated to a skiing pioneer in his own right. He also introduced me to the sport.
My Dad: Roxy Rothafel. He was an avid skier and sportsman from the 1930's right up until a bum hip forced him to quit skiing in the mid 1970's.
From the late 50's to early 60's Roxy was director of the Belknap Ski Area (Gunstock) Ski School. It was a part-time job he loved. It's not clear whether it was a paid position or a labor of love.
To his right is Penny Pitou who had just won a Silver Medal in the Olympics. Roxy quickly turned over the Ski School to Penny and her new Austrian husband, Egon Zimmerman - also an Olympian ski racer.
By profession, Roxy was a journalist. More importantly, he was a "seeker of truth."
In 1964, he found a way to combine his passion for skiing and professional skills as a journalist by creating a daily radio broadcast called: Ski Reports by Roxy.
For more than 15 years, his daily broadcasts were heard by millions of ski fanatics and enthusiasts up and down the east coast.
Known for his integrity and journalistic style, it was often said of the gravel-voiced Roxy, "He tells it like it is."
The Spy Network
Roxy recruited a volunteer network of "ski reporters" including lift operators, snow cat drivers, ski patrol personnel, ski instructors and recreational skiers at all the eastern resorts.
Starting at 1:00 a.m. in the morning Roxy's "spies" called and filed their reports on conditions at their particular mountains.
By 6:00 a.m. Roxy had compiled this information -- cross-referenced it with meteorologists and was ready to hit the airwaves.
He championed the skiing enthusiast by recognizing the amount of time, travel and money that went into a "ski weekend." If the conditions were bad, he'd advise his listeners to "stay home."
On the other hand, if eastern resorts were blessed with powder, he'd encourage listeners to drop what they were doing and head for the hills. He'd even provide the best routes to get there.
During one season when ski areas were competing for "first open" bragging rights, Roxy quipped, "What good is a 22" base if you've got 24" rocks!"
While Roxy gained the trust of skiing enthusiasts, ski area marketing executives, on the other hand, were not so enamored with him. They preferred to label icy conditions as "frozen granular" or "mixed granular." Roxy called it "ice!" Sometimes it was "boiler plate."
Over time, ski areas became so infuriated with Roxy's "tell it like it is" reporting that they mounted an organized campaign to disrupt his broadcasts. It was, in fact, quite easy. They simply boycotted all of Roxy's advertisers - most notably, Schaefer Beer. Eventually they were successful.
As a teenager, I witnessed first-hand the "politics" of the ski industry (more about this later).
Toward the end of his career in 1978, he completed a book titled: Roxy's Ski Guide to New England. It's been out of print for awhile however, I've seen a few copies floating around the internet. It's a wonderful read. It's a showcase of his ski knowledge, wit and, frankly, just damned good writing.
Roxy passed away Nov 24, 1994, just past his 85th birthday. Among ski historians and journalists, Roxy was an icon.
Roxy with his German Shepherd, "Gar" (Guardsman). Growing up, we always had German Shepherd dogs.