Former U.S. Ski Team member and Olympian Cary Adgate, a Boyne Falls native who grew up making his first ski turns on nearby Boyne Mountain, will be inducted into the U.S. National Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame next month. another longtime Boyne Falls resident Everett Kircher, founder of the Boyne Empire and a ski resort pioneer, was inducted last year.
Other members of the 2008 Hall of Fame class include a couple of other former U.S. Ski Team members; freestyle mogul skiers Liz McIntyre (1986-98) and Nelson Carmichael (1984-92), and pioneer ski mountaineer Bill Briggs (1958-71).
Adgate, who is but one of two Midwestern men to be inducted into the Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame, has had a long career that's spanned four decades and includes, most recently, winning the 2005 U.S. Masters National Slalom Championship. The only other Midwestern male skier to be inducted, Chuck Ferries from Houghton, Mich., was a member of a couple of 1950s Olympic Teams.
Adgate learned to ski at Thunder Mountain, which was owned by his parents at the time. It was later sold to Boyne, which used to run it on weekends. It closed in the early 1980s.
"It was a definite advantage to live at a ski area growing up," laughed the 55-year-old ski racer. "It got me started at an early age. When I was 13, I started skiing with Martin Burger, who was an instructor at Boyne Mountain with a racing background. He was my mentor through most of my amateur career, and a big influence on my racing career. The ironic thing is that he moved onto the U.S. Ski Team as a coach about the same time I moved up."
Adgate competed for a total of 18 years at the world class level, which is a long career in a profession subject to career-ending injuries; nine on the U.S. Ski Team and nine as a touring pro. He won six U.S. National Championship titles and was a two-time Olympian. At the age of 19, in 1973, he won the Can-Am Tour overall title with a victory in the notorious Roch Cup Downhill at Aspen. He won U.S. National Slalom titles against some of the best skiers of his time; Bobby Cochran (1974) and Phil Mahre (1976). He had five top-five World Cup finishes from 1974-80. He was the top American finisher in the 1976 Olympic slalom at Innsbruck, Austria, which included the Mahre twins.
Adgate made history at his professional debut in 1981 by winning his first two World Pro Skiing tour events back-to-back. Over the next nine years, with 25 tour victories and 71 top-four finishes, he went on to become one of the most winning pro ski racers ever. He is now Boyne Resorts' ski ambassador.
It's a deserving award. Sometimes nice guys do finish first.