Patriarch of PCMR, a legend, dies
Nick Badami, the patriarch of Park City Mountain Resort and a critical figure in Park City’s emergence as a top-flight skiing destination, died on Wednesday. He was 87.
Badami died in his house in Tucson, Ariz., with his family around him, the resort said in a statement. The resort did not indicate a cause of death. He is survived by his wife, Avis, and grandson Nicholas.
Badami was a giant in Park City’s ski industry, credited with helping the city through its formative resort-town years.
A former president of BVD, a conglomerate of manufacturing and retailing companies, Badami became a major figure in winter sports when he purchased Alpine Meadows ski resort near Lake Tahoe in 1970. He acquired Park City Ski Area, now Park City Mountain Resort, in 1975, about a decade into the city’s modern ski era, and guided the resort into a regular stop on the World Cup skiing circuit and then one of the three mountain resorts to host competitions during the 2002 Winter Olympics.
"He was an inspiration in my life. He was my teacher and he was my mentor, and he was my friend and hero," said John Cumming, the chairman and CEO of PCMR parent Powdr Corp. and a member of the family that acquired the resort from Badami.
He called Badami "one of the founding visionaries of the new economy" of Park City. The city in the mid-1970s was a ramshackle place of aging miners and newly arrived skiers. It had not yet shed its silver mining heritage and the ski industry was struggling.
Within 10 years or so, however, Badami’s resort started humming advanced (for that era) snow-making equipment covered the important slopes and the annual World Cup races, dubbed America’s Opening for their status as the circuit’s first domestic competitions, started in 1985. His son, Craig Badami, died in a helicopter crash at PCMR in 1989 after a World Cup race.
Cumming heralded Badami as an early champion of snow-making systems, saying he introduced the technology to ski resorts in the West. Snow-making, now standard in the industry, lengthens the season and is especially important to early winter business.
"He came to Park City. He turned the ski area around," said Brad Olch, who served 12 years as Park City’s mayor in the 1990s and early part of this decade and has long championed the ski industry.
PCMR’s seminal moment was during the Winter Olympics, when it hosted skiing and snowboarding events. The competitions at PCMR, which included an American medal sweep in the men’s snowboarding halfpipe, capped the resort’s bid to showcase itself as an international skiing destination.
"He set the stage for everything we have today," Olch said.
Badami was a strong supporter of the U.S. Ski Team, with his resort sponsoring many of its top athletes. He was a longtime member of the board of directors of U.S. Skiing and served as its chairman for four years in the 1990s. His business wisdom helped modernize the national organization.
Mayor Dana Williams, who met Badami in the late 1970s, called him a "very gutsy guy" and said today’s Parkites owe Badami and his family a "huge debt of gratitude."
"I think Park City would have still developed into a ski community without him, but it would have been much later and probably much more difficult," Williams said.
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