One of the great leaders of American skisport, Dr. Amos R. “Bud” Little, passed away peacefully at his Montana home Tuesday (June 22). A noted ski racer, coach and U.S. Ski Team doctor, he served as an influential leader with the International Ski Federation and the then U.S. Ski Association. He was 93.
“Bud Little’s leadership within the International Ski Federation helped usher our sport into an exciting, modern era,” said U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association President and CEO Bill Marolt, who today serves in the same role as a vice president of the FIS. “But not only did he help us with his vision internationally, but he devoted his entire life to the sport as a coach, a doctor and volunteer. He epitomized the spirit of Olympism that is so valuable in our sport.”
A Massachusetts native, Little grew up with a love of skiing, starting his racing career at Gunstock in Laconia, NH and skiing at the Vermont Academy. He grew his skills as an athlete, racing for Dartmouth College from 1936-39 winning a national slalom title. Upon completing his medical studies at Johns Hopkins University, he joined the military in 1943, receiving multiple decorations while serving in the U.S. Army Air Force’s Air Rescue Service based in Montana. He moved to Helena in 1946, where he became a noted local physician and community leader.
He continued his passion for the sport at his new home, becoming president of the then National Ski Association’s Northern Rocky Mountain Division, and also headed up the U.S. alpine championships in 1949-50 in Whitefish, MT, as well as playing a key role in the 1950 FIS World Alpine Ski Championships in Aspen, CO.
A growing leader in alpine skiing, he became the representative for his sport with the U.S. Olympic Committee from 1952 through 1980, serving as the alpine team manager for the 1960 Olympics in Squaw Valley, as well as the FIS World Championships in 1962 and ’67. He served as a competition official at both the 1964 and ’68 Olympics.
While serving on the governing board of the National Ski Association (now U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association) from 1948-73, he also took on international roles. He was a member of the FIS Alpine Committee from 1960-67, and served as a vice president of the FIS from 1967-88, remaining an honorary member of the FIS Council.
“He was a great friend and a wonderful, influential, effective leader of the USSA, the U.S. Ski Team and the FIS,” said Hank Tauber, who worked with Little as a coach and program director, and succeeded him as a FIS vice president in 1988. “He was one of the most important contributors to the foundation of U.S. skiing and the success we all enjoy today.”
In the early days of the U.S. Ski Team in the 1960s, Little was one of the key supporters and managers helping get the fledgling squad around the major competitions in Europe, even before the formation of today’s World Cup.
“Skiing was his life – and he enjoyed what he did,” said Marolt. “He brought that spirit of fun and frivolity to all those around him. He made skiing a better sport and we were blessed to have his leadership for over 50 years.”
Little was inducted into the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame in 1965 and received the USSA’s highest honor, the Julius Blegen Award, in 1960. He is remembered annually by the USSA with the presentation of its Bud and Mary Little Award, awarded to an individual for their
service to the FIS or the USOC. This past May the award recognized longtime USSA and USOC leader Alan Ashley.
Information on services is pending. The U.S. Ski Team is accepting memorial donations in his name at: Bud Little Fund, U.S. Ski and Snowboard Team Foundation, Box 100, Park City, UT 84060, 435.649.9090.
Little is survived by his wife, Mary, as well as three children, Dr. James Little, Amos Rogers Little, III and Susan Stanaway, as well as four grandchildren and one great-grandchild.