For 15 years, Fred Tassone made tremendous contributions to the disabled skiing industry as a ski instructor, the pioneer of the Winter Park Disabled Competition Program, a member of the first U.S. Disabled Ski Team, the head coach of the U.S. Disabled Ski Team, and a teacher of racing clinics. From 1974 until his death in 1989, Fred’s infectious laugh, smile and courageous outlook on life brought joy and inspiration to all who knew him.
Fred was born in Chicago, Illinois. He was drafted into the Army during the Vietnam War as an infantry soldier in the 11th Brigade. Unfortunately, a bomb that was booby-trapped exploded-causing him the loss of his left leg, internal injuries and extensive damage to his face. Fred underwent numerous surgeries at Valley Forge Army Hospital in Pennsylvania. In 1972, Fred’s doctor was transferred to Fitzsimmons Army Hospital. He came to Denver to have the final surgery on his face to reconstruct his jawbone. Fred had already learned how to ski 3-track at Valley Forge, so he continued his love for skiing in the Fitzsimmons skiing program in Denver. This led him to move to Fraser, Colo. in 1974, and he became a ski instructor and racer in the Winter Park Disabled Ski School.
As a member of the first U.S. Disabled Ski Team, he competed in the first International Disabled Games in France in 1974. Next, Fred became the head coach of the U.S. Disabled Ski Team and led his team to the 1982 Games in Switzerland where they went from a 5th place standing to a tie for first place. The U.S. Team has been No.1 on the racing circuit since that time.
In 1984, Fred became a coach in the in the newly formed, full-time race training program at Winter Park. He continued to teach skiing for several more years. The last few years of his life, Fred continued to show his passion for skiing as a member of the ski patrol at Silver Creek Ski Area.
For his dedication and inspiration to disabled skiing and racing, Fred has earned recognition in the National Disabled Ski Hall of Fame.