When Snowshoe Mountain was first developed in 1972/1973, Jean-Claude Killy was hired as the resort’s special advisor, tasked with designing a long steep trail on the western facing slopes, later to be named Cupp Run. If you don’t recognize the name Jean-Claude Killy, ask your parents, or if you’re young enough, ask your grandparents. Skiers and non-skiers alike from the late 60s would know the name Jean-Claude Killy. He was the Michael Jordan of ski racing in those years. So who exactly is Jean-Claude Killy?
Mr. Killy dominated skiing in the late 1960's. He was a former French World Cup Alpine ski racer who won what is known as the Triple Crown of Alpine Skiing, which is being crowned champion in all three racing disciplines at the same time (downhill, giant slalom and slalom). He accomplished this not once, but twice. In 1967 he was crowned the overall world cup champion in all three disciplines. He then repeated the Triple Crown the following year at the 1968 Winter Olympics in Grenoble, France, where he took gold in all three disciplines, becoming the most successful athlete at those Olympics. In individual races he had 18 wins and was on the podium in 24 others. Winning the Triple Crown of Alpine Skiing is a feat that is considered incredibly difficult because of how different the three racing styles are. No alpine ski racer has won the Triple Crown since Mr. Killy. Mr. Killy retired from racing following the 1968 season to a post-Olympic career of endorsing products, acting and car racing.
In November 1972, Killy came out of ski racing retirement at age 29 to compete on the pro circuit in the U.S. for two seasons. From 1977 to 1994 he was a member of the Executive Board of the Alpine Skiing Committee. He served as co-president of the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville, France. The ski area of Val d'Isere and Tignes in the French Alps was given the name l'Espace Killy, in his honor. In 2009, Skiing Magazine referred to Mr. Killy as one of the top 10 most influential skiers of all time.
As designer of Snowshoe Mountain’s famous "Cupp Run", Jean-Claude Killy often came back to Snowshoe to set the pace for the annual Killy Challenge (now called the "Cupp Run Challenge"). It was a giant slalom race open to individuals who would try to beat or equal Killy's time. Mr. Killy was so enamored with the long consistent pitch of these Western slopes of Snowshoe Mountain that after skiing all around the world, he refers to Cupp Run as one of his 12 favorite runs in the world.