Robert J. “Bob” Chambers (1930-2016)
Early Sunday morning, Bob Chambers began his last and final ski run. True to form, he was on the first chair up and didn’t hesitate to tear off and make first tracks. But then he never was one to hesitate much. Bob was born in Jackson Hole to early homesteaders and grew up with a strong work ethic, surrounded by stout tireless ranchers and trappers. One of his fondest childhood memories was learning to ski jump using hand-carved skis from his grandfather.
As a teen at Ogden High School, he competed in a 4‑member ski team that won both the coveted Knudsen Cup and the 1948 State Championships. He attended the University of Wyoming on a ski scholarship, where he became captain of the ski team. He was the NCAA 4-Way Ski Champion and an All-American Ski Team member.
Bob competed nationally in ski jumping, slalom, downhill, and cross-country with his friends, many of which are now legends in the ski industry. During his years in the army he was as an instructor for the US Army’s Mountain & Cold Weather Training Command at Camp Hale, CO, and was awarded All-Army Ski Champion. As an army medic he was awarded the Bronze Star for Valor, saving the life of a fellow soldier while under enemy fire. Later he was the founder & director of the All Air Force Championship Ski Races, the first paid ski patrolman for Snowbasin ski area, and helped found the first ski swap in northern Utah, later turning it over to the Utah Handicapped Skiers Assn.
As a creative and optimistic entrepreneur he started Alpine Sports in 1955. He and his partner, Jim Linford, built Alpine Sports into one of the most innovative ski shops in America. They embraced, supported, and help grow several new emerging technologies that made skiing easier for skiers, offering products like metal skis from Head and plastic ski boots from Lange. Bob was a friend with both Howard Head and Bob Lange, and during the early boom of their brands, Alpine Sports was one of the largest Head Ski dealers, and one of the first Lange Ski Boot dealers in the US.
If a ski product was authentic, genuine, and provided features & benefits to make skiing easier for skiers, Alpine Sports was onboard, introducing the technologies to customers and working to help build momentum for the brands. Over the years, Alpine Sports has sold and helped pioneer all of the leading equipment and apparel brands in the ski industry. Bob’s daughters Peggie & Bobbie became partners in the 80’s, and they continually expanded the brands and product assortment to enhance their customers’ experience. They doubled the size of the store, transformed the shop into a modern business, and tripled the revenue.
After 40 years of selling skis, serving generations of skiers, and giving countless teens their first real jobs, he retired from the family business and resumed his ski racing career. He traveled the Intermountain West, winning more than 60 first-place finishes in Masters Racing and held the Intermountain Masters Regional title for years. Bob’s greatest honor was being chosen as a torch-bearer for the 2002 Winter Olympics.
Bob’s legacy lives on at Alpine Sports, which continues today as Utah’s oldest family-owned ski shop. Alpine continues to build upon its historical values, product knowledge, experience, innovation, and a strong commitment to customers.
A memorial gathering will be held for Bob at Alpine Sports on Sunday, Nov 13th, 1-5pm, at Alpine Sports. Come share your favorite story or memory of Bob, but sorry, no returns of those boots he sold you back in 1978.
Bob, we wish you Godspeed on your final and greatest ski run of all.