Max Dercum, co-founder of two of Summit County's 4 ski resorts, died Friday [September 30, 2011] just shy of his 99th birthday.
Dercum died at a retirement home in Evergreen [CO] where he lived, Jefferson County coroners confirmed. He apparently died of natural causes.
The champion skier, former forestry professor and visionary, along with his wife, Edna, was among a group of seven who started Arapahoe Basin in 1946. They were a driving force behind the founding of Keystone Resort in the early 1970s.
Remembered by friends as a bubbly, enthusiastic and spirited man, Dercum received his first pair of skis when he was 6 years old. He fell so in love with the sport that he would eventually moved to Colorado from Pennsylvania and become a founding father of the state's flourishing ski industry.
"Novody had a greater love of skiing than Max Dercum, " said Bill Bergman, Dercum's longtime friend and co-founder of Keystone. "And probably nobody knew more about technique and equipment."
Dercum was born October 2, 1912.
He learned to ski early in life by studying the simple instruction manual that came with his boards.
In 1932 he became one of the founding members of the ski team at Cornell University. He would later study and eventually become a professor of forestry at Penn State. It was there that he met Edna - the couple married in 1937 and - and formed a ski club and with it, his first makeshift ski are with cross-country trails, a jump and a small tow rope.
In 1941, Max and Edna moved to Colorado, planning to do the same thing on a bigger Scale. Five years later, with the end of World War II, they would begin their work at A-Basin.
During his life, Max Dercum worked as a lift operator, ski instructor and patroller. He skied well into his 80s and remained strong and alert up to within days of his death.
Dercum is survived by his two children, Rolf and Sunni, 5 grandchildren, 8 great-grandchildren and extended family. Edna, to whom he was married for 71 years, died in 2008 at the age of 94. Information on a service has not yet been released. The Denver Post, Saturday, October 1, 2011.