Class of 2020
Innovator and Leader in West Virginia Snow Sports
Special Olympics - snow sports contenders, sponsors, guides, equipment, coaches
Instruction - directors, instructors, coaches
Area Operations and/or Management or Development Competition
John Lutz, a native of Parkersburg, WV, has devoted 50 years to growing the snow sports industry in West Virginia. In the 1960s, John first worked at ski areas in Stowe, VT, and Taos, NM. He moved to Canaan Valley in 1972, bringing a wealth of experience.
At Canaan Valley Resort, John worked in all aspects of the industry. He was an instructor, Assistant Ski School Director, long-time Ski School Director, as well as Assistant Ski Area Manager and Ski Area Manager. As an innovator, he started a comprehensive Adaptive Ski Program, including one of the country's first blind skiing programs in 1976. John was instrumental in organizing the first WV Special Olympics in 1979 and continued to work with the program for the next 30 plus years.
In 1991, John moved to Timberline Four Seasons Resort. He worked as the Director of Programs and Events and Risk and Safety Awareness Director. He also helped expand the trail system. Additionally, John was instrumental in bringing the Women's Pro Ski Racing series to Timberline.
While still living in Canaan Valley, John contributed to other resorts and programs. John helped develop college skiing physical-education courses at WVU, Davis and Elkins College, Ferrum College, and Parkersburg Community College. He spent two summers at Blackcomb Resort, British Columbia, at the request of Maria Shriver, to develop Special Olympic training and racing protocols. He also helped start the Canaan Valley Junior Ski Racing Team as well as Tucker County High School's ski racing team.
In 1980 a ski instructor at Canaan named Sue Wright was very interested in racing and raced in all the area races such as the Cup Run Challenge. John then started the Canaan Valley Jr Racing team with Sue as head coach. The resort ski school totally organized and ran the team. A couple of years later, John worked with the team parents to incorporate the team and take over financial and recruiting responsibilities. In the mid-80s, Timberline started a separate Jr team. A few years later, the teams consolidated, reasoning that one team would be more advantageous to the Valley. Timberline and Cannan teams joined to form the Canaan-Timberline Jr Race Team. After John moved to Timberline and Canaan Valley Resort lost interest in racing, the name was changed to Timberline Race Team.
John is certified as a PSIA Level Two, a USSA Level 200 race coach, and an Alpine Race Official. A Ski Magazine article featured John as one of the nation's top ski instructors. He was also a Rossignol ski area consultant for 40 years. However, many people would say that John's best contribution to WV Skiing would be the customer service training that he has given to literally hundreds of ski area employees over the years.