Dr. Thomas "Doc" Brigham, a dentist from North Carolina who loved the outdoors, died last month at age 83. He leaves a solid legacy that earned him the title "Father of Southern Skiing."
His pursuits included fly fishing, painting, skiing, and golf.
He also had a knack for recognizing potential ski resorts and attracting partners to carry forward his vision.
Snowshoe, for example, had been logged over between 1905 and 1960, then virtually abandoned. The area came to Brigham's attention in 1973 and he put together a group to develop it as a ski resort.
Snowshoe's trails and lifts were named for the region's logging legacy, including Buck Saw, Spur, Cant hook, Cubb Run, Single Tree, Grabhammer, Gandy Dancer, Widowmaker, J-Hook, Cross Cut, and Skidder.
The History of Snowshoe recounts the early years: "Snowshoe's development began in 1973 by a group of visionaries headed by Dr. Thomas Brigham along with his young protégé Danny Seme. Dr. Brigham, one of the early pioneers of southern skiing, had previously developed Beech and Sugar Mountain Resorts in North Carolina in the early 60's. Snowshoe was to be the premier development in the Southeast and the Mid-Atlantic region.
"Skidder, Ballhooter and Cupp Run lifts were built in 1974 and the Cupp Run Slope was cut on the mountain's western face giving Snowshoe a claim to the south's greatest vertical drop, over 1500 feet. Additional trails and lifts were installed from 1977 until 1999 and most lodges and condominiums were constructed by 1982."