Poconos men inducted into PA Snowsports Museum Hall of Fame | Something to Think About
Although England may have its royal family, Poconos royalty consists of two leaders in the ski and snowsport industry.
If you're a skier, chances are you have crossed paths with two of the Pennsylvania Snowsports Museum Hall of Fame's newest members.
Inducted as part of the class of 2022, Malcom Law and Jim Tust have long careers that helped build the ski industry in the Poconos.
To be inducted into the Hall of Fame, an individual can only qualify for consideration if they have significantly engaged in the development, promotion, and preservation of Pennsylvania snow sports (including alpine skiing, cross country skiing, or snowboarding), and they are a current or native-born resident of the Keystone state.
In addition, they must have received outside recognition as a significant competitor or achiever in snow sports, and one of a long list of contributing areas of the ski industry.
Lucky for us here in the Poconos, both of these inductees have long histories in the industry, and even longer lists of achievements.
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Mal Law: The 'Pied Piper of the Poconos'
Mal Law’s legacy will likely cast him as the Pied Piper of the Poconos. After graduation from the University of Georgia as a recreation major, he was chosen to manage the summer attractions of Fernwood Resort. That was in the winter of 1970, and although summer was months away, he was game to take on the task of teaching skiing. He took a crash course at Camelback Mountain on boards under the guidance of Austrian Pro Adam Menowich, and a career was born.
He passed on his enthusiasm for the sport and was happy to share it with any novice who showed up on the slope of Fernwood. He was mentored by Marilyn Hertz, the Ski School Director at Camelback (also a previous inductee) and he worked to improve his own skill. His passion for the sport was obvious and he focused on teaching the sport to young people. He went from school to school in the early 70s to promote ski clubs and inviting young people into the sport.
And the kids followed him learning to ski like pros. Some of those early ski clubs are still active today.
Freestyle skiing captured his imagination where the thrills of aerial maneuvers and graceful movements appeared as ballet on skis. Before long he became one of the first certified judges of Freestyle competition in Pennsylvania.
As history would have it, guests at the Fernwood Resort started asking about the ski clothing and the gear worn by his instructors.
This was the impetus for the birth of Starting Gate Ski Shop, which is still open and located on Milford Road in Middle Smithfield Township.
A ski equipment representative noted that Mal’s success and ability to thrive was because he focused on families and youth in skiing. When snowboarding became the rage, Mal, like the Pied Piper of old was there with the goods— and the parade of young shredders followed.
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Jim Tust grew up in the ski industry
The second inductee, Jim Tust, climbed through the ranks of the ski industry and noted as one of the ski industry’s highly regarded top management personnel, making his career at Shawnee Mountain.
Beginning as a teenager working the rope tow at a family ski area, Jim spent a half-century in rapidly changing world of snow sports.
Working with Olympic icon Jean Claude Killy with tips on developing trial configurations at Shawnee Mountain, he also established a branch of the nationally lauded SKIwee program for kids, hosted and directed Pennsylvania’s Special Olympics events at Shawnee and developed the marketing tools that turned the mountain into one of the leading feeder areas in the country.
His dedication to winter sports turned tens of thousands of young novices into confident skiers and snowboarders, who went onto conquer trails of the Rocky Mountains and Alpine peaks. Jim Tust worked virtually all areas of the ski operation from ski instructor, ski school director, sales, marketing and handled public outreach as a director of the Pocono Mountains Vacation Bureau.
He credits also two highly respected mentors in the industry, the former General Manager of Shawnee, Jim Trepp and current Mountain Manager and now Shawnee President and CEO, Nick Fredericks. Being fair, he credits his wife (his high school sweetheart) Kay as lending to his success. Now retired, Jim can be found on nearby cross-country trails and as a frequent visitor to the slopes of Shawnee.
Knowing both of these talented and accomplished men for many years, I add to the many congratulations they have both received and say that our little corner of the world is much better for having them here!
Debbie Kulick writes a weekly column for the Pocono Record and Tri-County Independent. She serves on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic as an EMT.
This article originally appeared on Pocono Record: Kulick: Poconos skiing 'royalty' inducted into Snowsports Hall of Fame