By Pat Grubb
Local legend Franz Gabl, 92, passed away in January. Born in Austria in 1921, he was drafted into the German army and fought on the Russian front until captured by enemy forces. He managed to escape and returned to his home in St. Anton in 1945. In 1948, he won a silver medal in downhill racing at the Winter Olympics in St. Moritz, Switzerland.
Franz went on to become the head coach for the Canadian women’s ski team and subsequently, the men’s team as well.
Franz moved to Bellingham and became a local fixture of the Mt. Baker ski community. He ran and operated a ski shop and school on the mountain as well as one in Bellingham. He was instrumental in planning and organizing the first Ski to Sea race in 1973.
The next time you ride down Gabl’s under Chair 5, think of Franz and his contribution to the snow community.
It’s been a strange winter, weather-wise. As I write, we’re still waiting for serious, sustained snowfall – we’ve got our fingers crossed. At least we’re not living back east. Brrr!
This issue is kind of a transitional one, seeing as it covers subjects such as building your own snow cave as well as more Spring-like subjects such as hiking.
We’re looking forward to our summer edition – it will be all about running, biking, hiking and climbing.
Pray for snow!