- Published Date: Monday, 11 June 2012 18:17
CONWAY — Famed former Cranmore Mountain owner/general manager Herbert Schneider, 92, of North Conway, died of natural causes at Maine Medical Center in Portland, Maine, June 10.
His death was announced by his and the late Doris Schneider's sons, Hannes and Christoph Schneider.
Born May 20,1920, Schneider was the son of Ludwina (Seeberger) Schneider and legendary Austrian ski instructor Hannes Schneider (1890-1955) of St. Anton am Arlberg, Austria.
Following the German Anschluss of Austria in March 1938, Hannes Schneider was arrested at his home for his anti-Nazi views and was held under house arrest in Germany.
North Conway native, Cranmore developer and influential New York City financier Harvey Dow Gibson (1882-1950) obtained Hannes Schneider's release in February 1939.
Hannes, his wife and children Herbert and Herta traveled from Europe aboard the Queen Mary to New York City, and then arrived via train in North Conway Feb. 11, 1939, where they were welcomed in the park in front of the station by townspeople who formed a ski arch with their poles under which the Schneiders passed.
Gibson then placed Hannes Schneider in control of the ski schools he had purchased from Carroll Reed in Jackson and at Cranmore.
"Father of Modern Skiing," Hannes Schneider was originator of the world-renowned crouched Arlberg ski technique, which combined speed and control.
With the Schneiders at Cranmore, the area became one of the leading early ski resorts in the country.
Herbert Schneider became an Americanized citizen in 1943 and served with the 10th Mountain Division Ski Troops. He was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for action he took while on patrol in the Appennines in Italy in April 1945.
Returning home in 1946, Herbert Schneider taught skiing after the war for the Hannes Schneider Ski School and took over the school following his father's death in 1955.
Herbert Schneider was one of the founders of the Professional Ski Instructors Association in 1961 and served on the board until 1972.
Together with partners, he purchased the ski area from Mrs. Helen Gibson in 1963.
As president of the ski school and as general manager, he oversaw the expansion of the Eastern Slope Ski Club's Junior Program at Cranmore. He once told an interviewer he strongly supported that program because it gave an opportunity for every local schoolchild to learn how to ski.
Among those legions of young skiers were such future Olympians as Tyler and Terry Palmer and David Currier, all of the 1972 U.S. Ski Team; Abbi Fisher of the 1976 and 1980 Olympic squads, and current U.S. Ski Team member and 2010 Olympian Leanne Smith.
In 1966, he married former flight attendant Doris Beaudet of Hartford, Conn. In 1967, he authored the ski instruction book, "Let's Go Skiing."
In 1970, through the support of local businesses, Cranmore installed snowmaking to lessen the impacts of poor snow years.
During his years as general manager, Cranmore hosted many ski events, as well as the Volvo International Tennis Tournament from 1975 to 1984 and the World Mud Bowl in 1979.
He and partners sold Cranmore in 1984. He remained a consultant to the team of successive owners over the years. He was esteemed as the area's ski ambassador.
Gentle-natured and of good humor in all of his dealings, he annually presided over the New England Ski Museum's Hannes Schneider Meister Cup as well as annual 10th Mountain Division gatherings.
He received several awards over the years. In addition to being named to the U.S. Ski Hall of Fame in 1992, he received the New England Ski Museum's Spirit of Skiing Award in 2009, and was made an honorary lifetime member of PSIA and of the Ski Club Arlberg of St. Anton, Austria, in 2010.
He is survived by son Hannes Schneider, 45, of Denmark, Maine, and his sons Hannes, 15, and Markus, 13; and son Christoph Schneider, 43, of North Conway and St. Anton am Arlberg, Austria, and cousin Edi Mall of St. Anton. He was predeceased by his wife, Doris, in 2008; ister, Herta (Schneider) Fahrner in 2001 and her husband Franz Fahrner in 1990.
Visiting hours for friends to pay respects to Schneider will be held at Furber and White Funeral Home in North Conway Thursday from 5 to 8 p.m. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at Our Lady of the Mountains Catholic Church at 11 a.m. Friday, followed by a private family burial. A public celebration of Schneider's life is set for the Eating House/Zip's Pub at Cranmore Friday from 1:30 to 5 p.m.
Furber and White Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent in Schneider's memory to the New England Ski Museum, P.O. Box 267, Franconia, N.H. 03580 or the 10th Mountain Division Veterans Association at P.O. Box 150, Carthage, N.Y. 13619