© 2024 KPCW

Spencer F. Eccles Broadcast Center
PO Box 1372 | 460 Swede Alley
Park City | UT | 84060
Office: (435) 649-9004 | Studio: (435) 655-8255

Music & Artist Inquiries: music@kpcw.org
News Tips & Press Releases: news@kpcw.org
Volunteer Opportunities
General Inquiries: info@kpcw.org
Listen Like a Local Park City & Heber City Summit & Wasatch counties, Utah
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Park City remembers late ski legend Johnny Carpenter

Shauna Carpenter
Life-long resident of Park City Johnny Carpenter.

Life-long Park City local Johnny Carpenter passed away after a short illness Wednesday. He was 67.

Johnny Carpenter - or JC to his friends - was born and raised in Park City. His father, Otto, was one of those who co-founded Park City’s first ski resort – Snow Park, now the base of Deer Valley in the 1940s. It operated until 1969.

Carpenter grew up in his family’s Old Town home on Norfolk Avenue. He attended Marsac Elementary School, which is now City Hall, and graduated from the old Park City High School that now serves as the Park City Library. There’s a story floating around that he and others frustrated with learning to type threw their typewriters out the second-floor window…

JC learned to ski at Snow Park at the age of two. His dad put all his six kids on skis when they could keep their legs straight.

Johnny had the raw talent to ski professionally, but with five other children to care for, it wasn’t a family priority. He spent years though racing in the Town Race series in jeans and hand-me-down boots. He also worked for Adolph Imboden at Adolph’s Restaurant to compete in the Bartenders Cup.

“He was such an incredible talent on skis and he was just a great, great friend in many ways and good and bad times but mostly fun times,” Imboden said.

Besides skiing, motorcycles were Johnny Carpenter's other passion. Photo circa 1982 at Top of Park City's Main St.
Leslie Thatcher
Besides skiing, motorcycles were Johnny Carpenter's other passion. Photo circa 1982 at Top of Park City's Main St.

Bill Skinner, who used to work with JC at Adolph’s and compete against him on the race hill, remembers the time JC beat him at Alta during the Duane Brown Pro Tour, one of the few professional races JC competed in.

“I raced him in the finals,” Skinner said. “I knew Johnny, but I figured I could beat Johnny. And old Johnny Carpenter just kicked my ass the first year I ever really pro raced. And every time I’d see him, I’d always say, ‘Johnny, how did you do that?’ He’d say, ‘Billy, I knew I was going to beat ya. I just knew I was going to beat ya.’ And he did. Anyway, he was just a great competitor, a good friend and I’m happy all these years later that he did beat me.”

Johnny would spend his winters skiing and working as a server at Adolphs. During the summer, he’d look for work as a pipe fitter at the oil rigs in Evanston and North Dakota. He eventually got his drywall license and stayed in Park City during the summer months.

Mike Wade met JC as a pre-teen and the two spent hours together perfecting their Wayne Wong hotdog moves, like the worm turn and “Wong Banger.” They also learned to ski the huge bumps on Thaynes on their long skis.

“Johnny was a talented skier. You know, in the old days, we used to just rock Thaynes like crazy. When I was 11 and skiing at Park City, I mean I had 210 cm skis, and we used to just go slam it down on Thaynes on those big sticks. And you know, the bumps were huge and we were small.”

A life-long friend, Dori Pratt moved to Park City in 1960 and met JC in kindergarten. Back then she says he was known as 5-0.

“That meant 50 pounds,” Pratt said. “To see him grow into what he grew into, it was just mind boggling to see the size that he became…he was just itty-bitty.”

JC went on to stand over 6 feet tall. Their relationship solidified when JC broke his leg in 3rd grade and had to wear a cast from foot to hip. Dori, who was seated behind him, had to run his errands.

She called him a rebel without a cause and while he was tons of fun to be around, you didn’t want him to cross him.

“He was loved by all but also he was quite antagonistic, and he definitely had a mean streak but behind that was a puppy dog,” Pratt said.

Johnny Carpenter died Nov. 1 at the age of 67. He is survived by his wife Shauna and son Justin as well as two brothers. A GoFundMe page was established to help the family with unexpected medical and funeral expenses. You can find the link here.