For those not familiar with the name David Gorsuch, he is a pioneer of the ski industry. He is an accomplished ski racer, former member of the US Olympic ski team and founder of Gorsuch, LTD with his wife Renie. Gorsuch is the epitome of a hard worker and someone who created an incredible and fascinating life around skiing. Here’s a look back at his upbringing, how the retail outlet of Gorsuch got started (hint: it started in a gas station in Gunnison), and David’s tips for generations to come.
It took a bit longer to connect with David Gorsuch than I expected. For the past week he had been cutting hay on the family ranch near Crawford, Colorado. The weather was nice and the cutting needed to get done, so we missed a couple of appointments to chat. Then bad luck gave me a break: the cutter got stuck and the weather changed, so David had an hour free to fill me in on skiing, work ethic, and life in general.
David Gorsuch was born September 22, 1938 in Climax, Colorado, a small mining town perched at 11,468 feet, 12 miles north of Leadville. That year his father, Jack Gorsuch, made a deal with the mining company to build a rope tow across the road on Chalk Mountain. In late 1942 the 10th Mountain Division arrived at Camp Hale for training, and mountain troopers could drive 25 miles to ski at Chalk Mountain. David remembers skiing alongside his heros, guys like Pete Seibert and John Woodward. This was the beginning to a lifelong passion for skiing.
“Skiing was everything,” David told me. “I have great memories skiing at Chalk Mountain with my dad as a kid. We would turn the lights off at the top of the t-bar and ski off the back side of the mountain under the moonlight. Sometimes we would even get a little powder.” He took many of his skiing experiences for granted. “You can’t find those kinds of things anymore.”
David started ski racing in 1945 during the Winter Sports Carnival in Steamboat Springs. “It was the start of a lot of fun,” recalls Gorsuch. He wanted to make the Olympic team, and hard training paid off: he won the Junior National Combined Championship in 1954, and repeated in 1956. In 1958 he was named to the U.S. Ski Team competing at the World Championships in Bad Gastein, Austria (where Steamboat’s Buddy Werner finished fourth in slalom), and in 1960 he raced in the Squaw Valley Olympics.
While attending the 1954 Junior Nationals in Jackson Hole, David met Renie Cox, and following the 1960 Winter Olympics, they got married. David started college at the University of Denver, but the couple found city life unbearable and, after his freshman year, transferred to Western State College in Gunnison. There they launched a small ski shop in an old gas station. In 1963 Gorsuch won the NCAA downhill championship and the following year placed second in slalom and third in giant slalom.