Beattie and skiing have been synonymous for more than 30 years. As competitor… coach… administrator… innovator… commentator, Beattie has done more to popularize competitive skiing than any other individual.
Beattie’s television commentary on major skiing events, including the Olympics, has brought the drama of the sport home to millions of viewers since 1976.
The New Hampshire native came to the University of Colorado in 1956 after coaching both football and skiing at his alma mater, Middlebury College.
He initially served CU as an assistant football coach and ski coach, as well as directing the intramural program. His CU ski teams won NCAA championships in 1959 and 1960, and during his nine-year tenure in Boulder, he also assumed the reins of the U.S. Ski Team, eventually becoming the Ski Team’s first full-time coach.
It was under Beattie’s direction that Billy Kidd and Jimmie Heuga won silver and bronze medals, respectively, in slalom in the 1964 Olympics.
“What we were doing back then was controversial. When we won our first NCAA title at CU, we did it with a team made up entirely of Americans. That had never been done before. Then we went to Europe with the Ski Team, and Americans weren’t supposed to be able to win in Europe. We proved them wrong, too.”
Beattie turned to other endeavors in 1970, forming World Pro Skiing. He assembled such skiers as Kidd, Heuga and French great Jean-Claude Killy, and directed that pro tour until 1981.
He joined ABC on a regular basis in the 1970’s, commenting on his first Olympics in 1976, when Austrian Franz Klammer won his dramatic downhill in Innsbruck, Austria. “Klammer’s run still gives me goosebumps when I see it.”
He lists two events as his own greatest accomplishments. “I’m proudest of two things,” he says. “Coaching the winning team in the NCAAs in 1959 at Winter Park – I remember lying in bed and crying all night, having done it with just American kids. That really meant a lot. The other was in
When we won our first NCAA title at CU, we did it with a team made up entirely of Americans. That had never been done before. Then we went to Europe with the Ski Team, and Americans weren’t supposed to be able to win in Europe. We proved them wrong, too.