Businessman instrumental in bringing Olympics to SLC

Published June 6, 2008 12:00 am
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Nicholas Badami, an influential figure in bringing the 2002 Winter Olympics to Salt Lake City through his ownership of what is now called Park City Mountain Resort, died Wednesday at his home in Tucson. He was 87.

After serving as the chairman of BVD, the underwear company, Badami entered the ski industry in 1970 with the purchase of Alpine Meadows Ski Resort in Lake Tahoe. Five years later, he bought Park City Ski Corp.

Working closely with his son, Craig, Badami installed snowmaking equipment at the resort and added lifts to double its uphill capacity.

Snowmaking was instrumental in the resort's ability to stage World Cup races around Thanksgiving, an annual competition known as America's Opening.

"That was one of the vital contributions in landing the [2002] Olympics," said Mike Korologos, one-time spokesman for Salt Lake City's bid and Olympic committees and a long-time ski historian dating to his days as The Salt Lake Tribune's ski writer.

"The IOC technical committee looks for the capability of staging world class events, and this World Cup event was the first of its type for Utah," Korologos added.

As Park City's mayor, Brad Olch spent considerable time with Badami.

"He definitely changed the town. He was a visionary and a real big supporter of everything Park City and Utah. . . . For Park City, his passing is a huge loss. But he had a good life and accomplished a lot. He was certainly a well-respected man."

Korologos said the Badamis, father and son, understood the importance of promotion better than most ski-industry people and recognized the value of acquiring an international reputation for Park City.

After Salt Lake City received the Olympic bid in 1995, Badami became a board member.

Board Chairman Robert Garff remembered Badami as "a wonderful, level-headed board member, especially in a crisis. His ethics and principles were above reproach. He was part of our board at a turbulent time [the Olympic bribery crises] at a time when many had knee-jerk reactions, but he was level headed and understood where we stood on the world stage."

Badami was affected deeply when his son was killed in a helicopter accident while doing visual checks of the resort. He eventually sold Park City to Powdr Corp. in 1994, although he remained chairman of the resort's board until 2003.

John Cumming, Powdr Corp.'s chief executive and president, called Badami an "inspirational mentor and strong leader whose vision, courage and direction elevated the sport of skiing and helped to make Park City a world-class destination."

Badami also was chairman of the National Ski Areas Association and the American Ski Federation, president of the U.S. Ski Team, chairman of the U.S. Ski Association and co-Founder and chairman of the National Avalanche Foundation.

He is survived by his wife, Avis, and grandson Nicholas. Funeral services are pending.


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