|Charlie Benzie- always at the hill, always with a rake in his hands, and always with a word of encouragement.|
STORY No. 50
Iron Mt., MI
Kiwanis Ski Club- life-long member
For generations of skiers from my time through my brother Tony’s, you would always find this one man on the hills- my father, Charlie Benzie. Dad’s countless days around a jump would start with running up and down the landing hill and in-run with a rake in hand and his homemade crampons on his feet- smoothing ruts and sometimes salting the tracks on those warmer days. Once the meet started he was always near a coach’s stand waiting for us to walk by always ready with a comment, one which I will never forget: “SIC ‘EM!” Then when the competition was over it was down to the car for a few glasses of Dago red wine.
He was introduced to the sport by Dickie Bird Anderson, my uncle and former hill captain at Pine Mountain, and Butch Wedin, who gave me his jumping skis one Christmas in the 60’s when they arrived from Europe too short for him. After putting on the bindings down our basement, we traveled out to the Myron Bowl for my first words of coaching in the sport. I had many excuses while standing on top until they told me to either come down or face them coming up to help me down. That meant kick out of the box or they would push me out.
Dad’s basement parties during the Pine Mountain weekends were an open door policy to all at any time of day. His only request was you sign the big poster in the basement upon arrival and then grab yourself a drink. This basement has entertained many of the world’s best jumpers, weekend warriors, and coaches from the 60’s through the 90’s. I, too, have some great stories from this basement that include many of you ‘ol jumping buds (you know who you are) but this is about dad and not me. One last memory is his Green Hat with all the pins.
Dad’s final glory was being invited to work on the hills for the 1980 Olympics. His lifelong dedication to the sport was rewarded with a trip to Lake Placid. We hope this coming year to have him nominated into the Ski Hall of Fame. He will never be forgotten by many but especially not by the Benzie family.