Time to Congregate & Evaluate

By: Jackson Hogen

Published: February 11, 2019

If you’re passionate about skiing, going to a trade fair is like attending an orgy or an endless Champagne brunch where everything you’ve ever wanted is there for the asking. Any ski maker who hopes to earn a spot on a retailer’s ski wall will be there with bells on, ready to turn screws, touch up edges and sing the praises of next year’s line.

I’m pleased to report that many of the shop employees who are the principal targets of trade fair blandishments are experienced testers who’ve been submitting test cards for Realskiers for years. But, as is the case for anyone plotting world conquest, I want more of you to take a few moments to complete my ten-criteria card, available to one and all in its digital form.

The Realskiers Test Card app is available for both Apple and Android users. Instructions for how to log in and enter your data can be viewed here.

A few reminders for new and veteran app users:

  • Give a score for each criterion, even if you don’t feel it’s particularly relevant for the genre. The app won’t record incomplete cards.
  • Turn the app on once you’re back in a cellular data area. You should see a list of all your reviewed models on your home screen. If you can see them, I can see them.
  • If you’re testing for a Realskiers Test Center, I’ll compile all store results and forward them to the shop. If you’d like to become a Realskiers Test Center, let’s talk.
  • Skiers unaffiliated with any shop can still submit their data. If this describes you, please enter the letter “c” when asked for store name.

At this point in my peroration I would normally attempt to wax eloquent on the peculiar joys of ski testing, but this week I’m going to use this space to follow up on the announcement of Peter Keelty’s passing last week. I’m taking this usual measure both to honor Peter’s memory and to help knit together those who mourn his loss.

This depiction of a raven passing into the spirit world was painted by former Salomon rep Bob Krysak and sent to Realskiers to honor Peter’s slipping through this portal. 

More Memories of Peter Keelty

Painfully sad news – such a dear friend  – perhaps the smartest and most honest.

Peter – I wish I had told you so …more often and more recently.

“You don’t know what you’ve got, till it’s gone”

Miss you brother!

Just heard from Kim Huffman that Sue Ellen was with him when he passed. Thank you Sue Ellen!

John Clendenin

Thanks for this. Peter and I both worked for I. William Berry on the old Ski Industry Letter, on the Insiders Ski Letter which died with Bill and later on Inside tracks with Dick Needham.  While we corresponded regularly and were together on only a handful of occasions, we got to ski together only once for a few days at the annual On-Snow at Stratton in the days of Inside Tracks. It was a fun three days with Peter and Dick as we checked out the new skis for coming issues of the newsletter. I do remember both Peter and Dick smoking. I know Dick and I were the same age, but don’t know how old Peter was. I have a fond memory of being in the room when Peter commented on my skiing.  He told me he had heard good things about my skiing from I. William but reserved judgment until he could see for himself. He said, “You can ski”. Knowing he had patrolled at Stowe, I replied, “How many PSPA certified patrolmen do you know who can’t?” Coming from a skier at Peter’s level I felt well complimented.  I couldn’t understand setting his bindings at 10 and was concerned when he crashed while we were taking a run with Lisa Densmore. The skis stayed attached but no problems. I would have liked to have skied more with Peter but we were seldom on the same mountain at the same time. I lost track of him after Inside Tracks died and had to respond when I saw his name on a comment on SeniorsSkiing, hoping to hear from him, but I never did.  That was no more than a month ago so he must have been in tough shape. Thanks for this tribute to a free spirit who called his guided skiing, “Great Day”.  Peter Keelty was truly one of kind.

All the best,

Dave Irons

I hope this reaches you.

I was a very close friend of Peter. Began when I was at UVM in 1963-1966. Peter and I skied together. He dated and married my friend Laurie Abrahamson whose father

Arnold published SKI magazine.

In the 1970’s he and I were both in NYC. He was dating Kate Schroder. They got married and had little Kate. My then girl friend and later second wife were good friends.

Peter and Kate got divorced in the 1980s as did I. So we lost touch with each other until I caught up with him a couple of years ago after an internet search. I spoke with him last November and he did not sound good. I felt that he was losing ground but I did not know what to do.

You just wrote a great memento for us all to remember him by. Thank you. Well done.

John Senning

Thank you for this remembrance regarding our friend, THE DEACON.  One of my great memories of Peter was our shared Salomon box van ride back from Sun Valley to New York City ( 1973 or 1974 ?) We went non-stop, with one of us sometimes sleeping in the back, cold enough to crystalize one’s beer  in the back,  while the other driving with a hammer stuck under the dashboard down to the accelerator to achieve a 72 mph full speed.  We then arrived in NYC, where I slept on the couch, only to listen to the alternative noise of he and his girl friend shouting at each other and then ‘making up.

Another remembrance was he and I hiring my college roommate Jay Moreau at 2:00 in the morning at the Shed in Stowe.

He was a bright, charismatic and entertaining soul, and also a really good guy.

Wilbur Rice

Your eloquence with the pen (I still think it’s a pen) gives those otherwise somber moments an aura of lightness that only you can capture.

Peter was a character amongst characters.

He was also (in my restricted perspective) one half of what I considered the Dynamic Duo the ski world.

However, in a completely other league than Batman and Robin (besides ‘wouldn’t have been possible to decide who of the two of you was which, when….)

He left a mark on many of us.

He undoubtedly left a mark on me.

As you did.

You see, in my book Peter Keelty and Jackson Hogen in the 80s managed to set a product management standard that was never approached by anyone on my radar (now….if only the two of you could have gotten along with the French ”Sup deCo” types….mind you the other dynamic duo never really got along with the Joker either;-).

Not to speak of the continual torrent of wit and cleverness I got to observe and had to absorb within the blandness of my French Canadianess (my word).

For an inquisitive younger mind, it was the garden of smartness.

It’s difficult for me to remember Peter and not think of the madness and genius that he and you ever so balanced during that era.

What panache, what spirit.

Your words for him are true words of love.

Not love that expects,

Not love that demands.


Love that sees one for what one is: one of a kind. In true respect.

I am thankful to Peter Keelty for what he gave me and It’s too bad I never really got to tell him as much. So here’s to him and who he was.

And while I’m at it, here’s to you and who you are.

Thank you Jackson

Be well brother

Michel Benoit

Thanks for this tribute to Peter. I know he would have appreciated it.

I talked to Peter a couple of times after he called me three years ago to announce he was dying and that he wanted to make sure I put something in TSIL. Peter always assumed I knew more than I did, but he did fill me in on a bit about your relationship.

And I know how much he missed skiing and teaching in his last few years.

We all have our demons. We are all human.

He will be missed.

Mary McKhann

In 1980 Peter hired me to work in the aforementioned Education Department at Salomon.  Everything about my interview process with Peter was different than anything I had done before. After a lengthy interview the night I arrived in Boston, Peter shuttled me from office to office in Peabody giving me little tidbits of info about who I was about to meet and how everything worked. My last interview stop was at HoJo’s to meet Walter Duval. Just before we walked into the room Peter said, “ I don’t know how to tell you to approach this interview except that if you don’t understand what he is saying, keep asking him questions until you do.” I’ve used that advice the rest of my life. On the way back to the office, Peter said I had the job and I said we might have to hurry to get me to my return flight to Portland. That’s when Peter placed me in the able hands of Jackson Hogen and his school of high performance driving. Normally the trip to Logan would be a challenge in rush hour, but for Jackson driving in the green Ghia running on three cylinders it was the master’s work. Soon after, I would meet all of you. My life would never be the same.

As others have mentioned, the Deacon had gremlins, but I will remember him for the coy smile that surfaced every time he had just dropped something witty on us.

Terry Hulbert

Your words are perfect. We share a blanket of sadness in his passing.

Bob Gleason

Your essay on Peter Keelty touches a nerve. We all have one of those guys who have led the way, influenced us mere mortals, and exited with a flash of brilliance. Or at least we mortals think it was a flash. Perhaps one should consider it a literary Aurora Borealis.

I saw Stein at Sun Valley when I was 20. He was totally Borealis. All were awestruck. I desperately wanted to do the Mambo and got it, but never the way he could. And today’s skis are too short. Tip rolls, skiing backwards, it was all fun, but we were only geeky kids trying to emulate the experts.

Thanks for the memories and tales of your heroes. Some day you should more securely connect Peter’s attachment to Realskiers.

Ward Gulley

I’m sure that your most recent writing in the revelations was more for you than for anybody else, but it is nice to read about great memories shared with great people. We all wish the best for Peter’s closest friends and family. I’ll be sure to make some turns in his honor this upcoming week, as the test sessions commence at Midwest Reps “Test Fest” Boyne Mountain, MI.

I’ll try to give a nugget or two on some review cards using the app of course.

Thank you Mr. Hogen for all that you continue to do.

Matt Latham

Thanks for the wonderful tribute to Peter.  In the 13 years I worked for Salomon, Peter was always a source of knowledge and valued team member. Thanks for capturing the essence of his being.

John Rooney

Jackson, long time charter member of Realskiers. Read your article on Peter Keelty. I knew him. Not well – and in fact– never in person. But over the years he would consult on equipment on the phone. We enjoyed our chats on skiing.. We got along well enough, I even had his cell number. Sadly, now I’ll delete it. He would commonly call me in the morning while walking his dog. HIs rich baritone voice. I love your work. I’ve corresponded with you since your founding of Snow Country — which I miss. I even met you for ten seconds once at the top of Sacajawea lift at Grand Targhee. You were headed out with a group. You asked if I were part of it — I said no, I just recognized you and wanted to shake your hand and say thank you. Off we went. Thank you for the article, please continue the traditions and writings. I will keep subscribing and reading. Have Fun — don’t fall.

Scott Eskelson

Jackson, you eloquently present a snapshot of the life of a really nice human being.

My journey in life has taken me down the path of studying and connecting with spirits and energy that exists after we pass. Peter is in good hands I believe, with a whole new class of energies to train.

Attached is one of my paintings depicting a raven as it travels into the spirit world.

Enjoy the journey,

Bob Krysak

Many others of you sent condolences and vignettes of memory including Kristin Ulmer, Bob Olson, Bob Hall, Bob Soden, Scott Rydholm, Bryan Rolfe, Stuart Rempel, Steve Meineke, Bob McNeil, Corty Lawrence, Jeff Rich, Scott Stillings, Kim Huffman and Robert Langlois. My sincerest thanks to you all for your kind notes.

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