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John Bower Passes - His Legacy Lives

Middlebury College Athletics

Long time Park City resident and Olympic skier John Bower, passed away Tuesday, here in Park City. He was 76.

Bower was pivotal in the development of the Utah Olympic Park and the establishment of its Olympic legacy facilities, but first he made name for himself as a skier, where he won an NCAA Nordic combined title at Middlebury College as well as four US titles. He was a 2-time Olympian in 1964 and 1968.

His milestone accomplishment came at Norway's Holmenkollen Ski Festival in 1968 when he became the first American to win the prestigious King's Cup. He was named to the U.S. Ski Hall of Fame in 1969.

Bower went on to coach at his alma mater from 1968 to 1975. He then served as Nordic director of the U.S. Ski Team from 1975 to 1980, and then again from 1988-90. 

He played a key role in the lead-up to the 2002 Salt Lake Olympics, serving as the first director for the Utah Winter Sports Park (now the Utah Olympic Park) and overseeing development of venues and implementation of programs between 1990 to 1999.

Since his retirement in 1999, Bower and his wife Bonnie have spent time in both Moab and Park City. Bower is survived by his wife and children Ricky and Abbi.

No public memorial service is planned. Those who wish to acknowledge their friendship with John and his contribution to the community are asked to consider a donation in his name to the Alf Engen Ski Museum Foundation (https://www.engenmuseum.org/donate) where he was a founding board member.

Most of all, his family has asked that friends celebrate life and remember him with a smile, a joke and a Starbucks in hand.