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Nordic Coach & Olympian Icon Warren Chivers Dies at 91

Tue, Aug  22, 2006 - By US Ski Team

SAXTONS RIVER, Vt. (Aug. 22) - Warren Chivers, two-time Olympian, U.S. National Hall of Fame member and longtime ski coach at Vermont Academy (VA), has died. He was 91.

Chivers, who grew up in Hanover, N.H., and graduated from Dartmouth College, died Friday. He was a 1936 Olympic cross country racer, who returned to Dartmouth, graduated in 1938 and was named to the 1940 Olympic Team, which never got to compete because those Games were called off after Japan invaded China and Germany invaded Poland. They were originally scheduled for Sapporo, Japan, and then shifted to Garmisch-Partenkiirchen, Germany before being cancelled.

He served five years in the U.S. Navy, 1941-46, then become a teacher and nordic coach at VA where he constructed cross country and alpine ski trails in addition to overseeing construction of the ski jump. He also directed outdoor programs at VA and in 1960 was the head of timing for cross country at the Olympics in Squaw Valley, Calif. In 1971, he was inducted into the U.S. National Ski Hall of Fame in Ishpeming, Mich., and last fall he was inducted into the Vermont Ski Museum in Stowe.

"Warren Chivers was my inspiration," said Mike Gallagher, three-time Olympian and former U.S. head coach in cross country. "I started skiing at Rutland [VT] High School as a cross-training device for running, and I wasn't a skier - I ran on skis until I enrolled at Vermont Academy for year and Warren showed me how to ski. He got me ready to move up to the next level in college.

"We'd go hunting - there weren't a lot of prep school kids who'd ever fired a shotgun or wanted to hunt, but Warren and I would go out along the ski trails and chase up some partridge. He was special." In 1964, Gallagher competed in the first of three Olympics.

Former U.S. Nordic Program Director Jim Page, who met Chivers briefly while at Dartmouth and coached against him while Page was at Holderness School [NH], recalled how Chivers "was very, very passionate about nordic skiing. He was someone who was part of the nordic culture, and he passed that on to everybody else. It was great, and it was great fun, to be around him."

A celebration of his life will be Friday at 11 a.m. at the Warren Chivers Ski & Outdoor Education Center at Vermont Academy. In lieu of flowers, his family asked that donations be made to the Vermont Academy Scholarship Fund, Attn: Bob Barr, Box 500, Saxtons River, VT 05154.