Eastern ski racing lost a great friend and supporter on Nov. 1, when Okemo legend John Lysobey passed away at age 98.

Lysobey’s 10-bedroom home at Okemo in Ludlow, Vt., hosted visiting ski teams routinely. Starting during the men’s and women’s Pro Tour stops at Okemo and continuing for years beyond, the hospitality never waned. Signatures of the best ski racers over three decades of competition adorn the home’s walls. He also served as the head gatekeeper for hundreds of races at Okemo.

Lysobey was well respected outside of the ski racing world as well having been awarded the Blakeley Award, the nation’s highest maritime safety award, after he developed a survival kit program that expended into a nationwide program. He was a harbor master and yacht club commodore before he went out to buy a winter coat in the 1950s and returned with skis for himself and two teenage sons.

He was predeceased by his wife of 71 years, Christine, who died in 2008. Two daughters, Jeanne and Linda and a brother, Richard, also predeceased him. He is survived by three sons, 15 grandchildren, and 14 great grandchildren, nieces and nephews.

He is also credited with working out a technical problem that allowed bombers to take off from an aircraft carrier, thus allowing Lieutenant Colonel James H. Doolittle to reach Japan during World War II.

Photo courtesy of OMARA

Article Tags: Alpine , Top Story
Hank McKee
Senior Editor
In memoriam: The veteran of the staff, McKee started with Ski Racing in 1980. Over the seasons, he covered virtually every aspect of the sport, from the pro tours to junior racing, freestyle and World Cup alpine competition. He wrote the first national stories for many U.S. team stars, and was still around to report on their retirements. “Longevity has its rewards,” he said, “but it’s a slow process.”



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