Hunter Mountain Founders Honored with Lifetime Achievement Award

By AlpineZone News |
Apr 11 2007 - 02:48 PM

LAKEWOOD, Colorado — Brothers Orville and Israel (Izzy) Slutzky, founders and developers of Hunter Mountain Ski Bowl in New York, have been selected to receive NSAA’s Lifetime Achievement Award for their extraordinary commitment to the ski industry.

Born and raised in Hunter, Izzy and Orville built and operated a successful commercial and civil construction company in 1939. Eyeing the success of new ski areas in the Adirondacks and New England, the brothers purchased the land that comprises today’s ski area and helped form the Hunter Area Development Committee to explore the option of developing a ski area. Eventually the brothers placed an ad in the New York Herald Tribune offering their ski mountain for a dollar a year to anyone willing to develop it. Jimmy Hammerstein, son of Broadway lyricist Oscar Hammerstein II, responded to the offer and raised the startup funds from friends and associates in the New York City theater district.

Hunter Mountain opened for its first ski season in 1960. Hammerstein’s group was eager, but a lack of experience posed serious challenges to the success of the business. After several seasons, the Slutzkys took over operations despite also having no ski resort management experience. Orville assumed the duties of general manager while Izzy continued to run the construction company.

In the summer of 1964, a new 47,000 square foot base lodge was constructed. One of the largest and most modern in the ski industry at that time, it included an indoor pool and health club. Hunter Mountain grew rapidly in the 1960s and ’70s with more lifts, trails, snowmaking improvements and grooming innovations. Recognizing that snowmaking would be a key to their success, the Slutzkys installed underground steel piping for compressed air and water on all of Hunter’s slopes and Hunter soon became known as ???The Snowmaking Capitol of the World.??? In 1989, they installed North America’s first automated snowmaking system. In spite of all of their achievements, the Slutzky brothers remained humble and true to their roots in the Hunter community. Although Izzy died just over a year ago, Orville ??“ at the age of 90 ??“ can still be found at his desk every morning tending to the many tasks he remains involved in at the resort. The award will be officially presented May 8 at NSAA’s National Convention and Tradeshow at La Quinta Spa & Club, Palm Springs,