Founded in 1932, Woodstock Ski Runners is one of the oldest and most distinguished ski clubs in North America. We are a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Our home mountain is Suicide Six, located in Pomfret, VT. Suicide Six was founded by Wallace “Bunny” Bertram who is credited with building the first mechanized ski tow in the United States. Bunny Bertram opened Suicide Six on Christmas Day in 1937. He was the ticket seller, lift operator, maintenance man, marketing manager, slope groomer and ski instructor. Mr. Bertram was also President of the Woodstock Ski Runners.
Under Bunny Bertram’s leadership, Ski Runners and Suicide Six played a major role in the development of competitive skiing in the United States. Suicide Six quickly became a premiere training ground for Olympians and ski racers of international caliber. In 1937, Ski Runners held its sixth annual race on the face of Suicide Six and the race was renamed The Fisk Trophy Race in honor of Elizabeth Fisk, who donated a silver bowl that now sits on display in our main lodge. Mrs. Fisk was a Ski Runner whose daughters, Ursula and Margaret, both became members of the Women’s US Ski Team. First won by US Olympian Alex Bright, the Fisk Trophy Race is the longest running individual ski race in the country and it remains a rite of passage for Eastern ski racers. Notable past winners include Bode Miller, Chip Knight, Jimmy Cochran and many other Olympians, US Ski Team members and NCAA Champions. Ski Runners also held regular races at Suicide Six that anyone could enter and Mr. Bertram pioneered a precursor to the NASTAR system where racers would receive pins in gold, silver or bronze depending on their time versus the hill record. The original hill record of 57.6 seconds was established in 1936 by Olympian Alex Bright and that number was eventually lowered to 27 seconds by Olympian Tom Corcoran. Mr. Corcoran finished fourth in the 1960 Squaw Valley Olympics Slalom and went on to found the Waterville Valley Ski Area.
Mr. Bertram also developed the initial certification tests for ski instructors and in 1956 he created the first youth racing program in the United States -- the Mid-Vermont Junior Ski council. 1956 also marked the start of what has become known over the years as our “Fridays Program,” a comprehensive program of ski instruction designed to instill a lifelong passion for skiing among the children of our communities. We have operated the program every year since. In the 1960s, we also instituted a program to provide 100 pairs of skis each year to local kids who were without equipment. The program was spearheaded by Spencer Field, the father of 1984 US Olympic downhiller and Ski Runner, Peter Field. Although the free ski distribution program was discontinued in the 1970s for insurance reasons, we replaced it with a scholarship program that to this day offers equipment vouchers to our Friday Program participants in need. In 1981, shortly before his death, Bunny Bertram was inducted into the US Ski & Snowboard Hall of Fame for his contributions to skiing and ski racing. Every year we hold a memorial race in his honor.
We are immensely proud of the contributions Woodstock Ski Runners has made throughout the years to skiing, ski racing and the development of young athletes. Our philosophy is simple. We believe that it is important for the children of our communities to grow up with skiing and snowboarding as part of their lives. The dedication to serve all skill levels and to welcome all is the cornerstone of our mission.