Hall of Famer
Josef Pepi Salvenmoser
An Austrian by birth, Pepi Salvenmoser’s contribution to the development of Canadian skiing is defined by his extraordinary success as a national coach between the years 1954 to 1964. Appointed as a temporary support coach for the Canadian Ladies Alpine team in 1954 for the Federation Internationale de Ski (FIS) World Championships held in Äre, Sweden, in 1954, he rapidly demonstrated his unique abilities as a first class coach which led, equally rapidly, to his appointment as Head Coach of the Ladies Alpine team.
Two years after his first appointment Lucille Wheeler won a Bronze Medal for Canada at the Vll Olympic Winter Games held in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, the first skiing medal ever won by a Canadian. It was an outstandingly successful Games for the Women’s Alpine team which, for the first time ever, placed three skiers among the top 10 finishers in the downhill event. Later that same year, Joanne Hewson won the Ladies’ Arlberg-Kandahar race.
In 1957, when the National Team was officially formed, he prepared the Women’s Alpine team for competition at the FIS World Championships held at Bad Gastein, Austria. It was an event which saw the team achieve it’s best-ever results. Lucille Wheeler won two Gold Medals, one in Downhill, the other in the Giant Slalom event. It was an event that saw the young Anne Heggtveit, carefully and slowly being groomed for future success, reveal her potential with a 7th place in Downhill and 8th in Slalom.
Two years later in 1960 at the Vlll Olympic Winter Games held at Squaw Valley, U.S.A., she would become the second Canadian woman to win an Olympic winter medal winning the Gold in Slalom.
At this time, two other talented, younger, and eventually famous, women, Nancy Greene and Betsy Clifford were also benefiting from Pepi Salvenmoser’s innovative training techniques and psychological emphasis on mental preparation. Among their numerous later achievements, Nancy Greene would go on to win a Gold Medal in Giant Slalom and a Silver Medal in Slalom at the 1968 X Olympic Winter Games, Grenoble, France, while Betsy Clifford, besides her success on the World Cup circuit, distinguished herself at the 1970 FIS World Championships, Val Gardena, Italy, when she became World Giant Slalom Champion, at age 16 the youngest female competitor ever to win a World Championship
Pepi Salvenmoser continued to be involved with the Canadian Women’s National Alpine team until 1964 before retiring as the most successful coach in Canadian women’s Alpine history.
Please Note: The ski information gathered here is compiled from a number of sources; it may not be inclusive of all accomplishments.
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National Alpine Ski Team 1957 training at Mt. Tremblant [back row]: Pepi Salvenmoser, R. Gilmour, Desroninck, W. Anberer, J-M Leonard, Lorne O’Connor [front row]: J. Holland, F. Pitt, N. Holland, Anne Heggtveit. Alpine Canada Alpin.
Members of Canadian Ski Team in Kitzbuhel, Austria [L to R]: ?, Pepi Salvenmoser, Art Tommy, Mimi Seguin (non-member), Lucile Wheeler, Bill Stevens (front), ?, Patricia “Pat” Ramage, Ginette “Gigi” Seguin, Ernie McCulloch, Peter Kirby c. 1953. Photo Mairinger.
[L to R]: Anderl Molterer, Christian Pravda, Pepi Salvenmoser, ?, Toni Sailer at Kitzbuhel in the Reisch Hotel during Hannenkam race. CSHFM Collection.
Montreal Forum (Chicago Blackhawks vs Montreal Canadians) – Ceremonial faceoff by Lucile Wheeler, with Maurice ‘Rocket’ Richard and Pepi Salvenmoser. Jean Béliveau is #4. Photo Jerry Donati.
Bill Tindale (left) and Pepi Salvenmoser in Main Square, Kitzbuhel, 1981. CSHFM Collection.
1990 Canadian Ski Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony [top row, L to R]: Joan Earl, Kaye Vaughn, Pepi Salvenmoser, Ross Hamilton. [bottom row, L to R]: Pat Ramage, Anne Heggtveit-Hamilton, Lucile Wheeler-Vaughn, Cristl Salvenmoser. CSHFM Collection.