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Remembering Longtime Official Bruce Crane

By Tom Kelly
December, 14 2017
Bruce Crane

Noted national and international ski racing official Bruce Crane passed away peacefully December 9 at his home in Park City. A devoted husband and father, he served his passion as a sport leader for nearly a half century with U.S. Ski & Snowboard and the International Ski Federation (FIS).

Crane passed after a long battle with cancer, his loving wife of 38 years, Anita, and other family members at his side at their Old Town home in Park City, Utah.

"Bruce embodied the great passion that is emblematic of our sport professionals and volunteers," said U.S. Ski & Snowboard President and CEO Tiger Shaw. "His contributions as a staff leader, volunteer and technical delegate were exemplary. His work will live on and continue to benefit the sport for years to come."

The son of Emily Townsend and Henry D. Crane, Jr., he was born Nov. 18, 1947 in Cambridge, Mass. His parents, both doctors, moved the family to Plymouth, N.H. where Bruce grew up with a passion for skiing. His mother Emily played a key role in the sport as a longtime race secretary and administrator. He graduated cum laude from Holderness School in Plymouth, N.H. before earning his bachelor's degree from Williams College in Williamstown, Mass.

He served as an educator and a coach at Tilton School in New Hampshire after college, where he began his work as both a coach and competition official in alpine ski racing. He was certified as a national ski competition official by the then U.S. Ski Association in 1972. In 1976 he achieved his FIS Technical Delegate license - the highest level of competition officiating. Two years later he was recognized with the Burckett-Dodge Award for his service to officiation in New England. He also served for many years as head of the New Hampshire Alpine Racing Association.

Early in his career he also worked as a race manager and coach at Waterville Valley, Great Gorge Resort, Pat's Peak and Squaw Valley.

Crane went on to serve as national alpine competition director for the U.S. Ski Association for 16 years in both Colorado Springs and Park City where he played a key role in establishing and maintaining management protocols for the sport, including race scoring and athlete ranking systems.

He put his vast sport skills to work serving in a high-level capacity at two Olympic Winter Games. Leading up to the 1988 Olympics in Calgary, he served as a consultant to the Canadian Ski Association as well as head referee for alpine skiing at the Games. During the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City he served as assistant manager for ski jumping and nordic combined. 

During his tenure in the sport he served on many national and international committees including service as chair of U.S. alpine courses and rules committees. He also served as secretary of the FIS Alpine NorAm Subcommittee from 1982 to 1997 before being named as an honorary member.

He was honored many times for his service including the Westhaven Award for service as a technical delegate in 1997 as well as the Bud and Mary Little Award for his work with FIS and the U.S. Olympic Committee in 2002.

Colleagues in the ski world will remember him for his great attention to detail and organizational skills that allowed him to play such a key role in the sport during its rapid growth period from the 1970s through 1990s. He was world acclaimed for his work in race timing and scoring, athlete ranking systems and race course homologation. Much of the infrastructure he pioneered during that time is still in place today.

While maintaining his role in alpine ski racing, he also worked in various management roles in Park City for the Park City Mountain Resort, Mountainlands Housing Trust and Destination VIP.

He is survived by his wife of 38 years, Anita Crane, along with his son Jeremy Crane and grandchildren Sydney, 12, and Marley, 9 of Boston, Mass., four stepchildren, Ellen Marie Ramsey of Pinedale, Wyo., Donald Dean McPherson of Roseville, Calif., Ronald Lee McPherson of Pontotoc, Miss., and Robert Donald McPherson of Roseville, Calif. and his five sisters Suzanne Gilman of Bridgewater, N.H., Charlotte Crane of Chicago, Ill., Cynthia Fisher of Bridgewater, N.H., Dr. Margaret Mumford of Plymouth, N.H., and Dr. Joan Barthold of Lyme, N.H. 

A memorial service is being planned in Park City after New Year, with a celebration of life next summer in New Hampshire.

The Park City memorial service will be held Saturday, January 13 beginning at 10:00 a.m. at St. Mary's of the Assumption church located on state route 224 at White Pine Canyon Road. A social gathering with refreshments will be held after the service.