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ROBERT BALLANTINE NIX

MEMORIAL PAGE

Robert B. Nix, 82, January 17, 2012 at Presentation Nursing and Rehabilitation, Brighton MA after 20 years of parkinsons. Longtime resident of Beacon Hill, Boston, born and grew up in Belmont MA, graduate Belmont High School 1947, Harvard College 1951, and Harvard Business School 1953. He served two years in the army during the Korean era. Early in his financial career he was employed by Simplex Wire and Cable, Dewey and Almy and Laboratory for Electronics (LFE). In the '60's he worked for a doctor's clinical testing laboratory which led to helping found Clin-Chem Laboratories, Commonwealth Ave, Boston. For whom he worked in sales while being a key financial officer for many years. In semi retirement he sold Chevrolets and Subarus for a major dealer on Commonwealth Avenue. He travelled extensively in Europe and Latin America, being conversant in Portugese, Spanish, Italian and French. From childhood he held a sincere interest in Latin America and wrote his Harvard thesis on the economics of Venezuela. He was an avid skier in Europe, New England, Quebec the western US and Argentina. His other sports were tennis and ice hockey. Till his last days he was a very entertaining story teller, based on his true experiences. Surviving, Harriet Virginia Cohen of San Rafael, California, Joseph P. Nix, Jr. Big Bear City, California, one cousin, Priscilla Sheldon of Reading MA. 4 nieces, 4 nephews, 6 grandnieces, 3 grandnephews, all of California. And his ski group dear close friends of 50 years. Per his request no services are planned. ----------------------------------

2007
A niece and two nephews visiting Rob in January 2007


Some of his skiing activities

Edition of February 10, 2012

His skiing began in fall 1957.


NEW ENGLAND
CANNON Mountain, Franconia,  New Hampshire.  ulk House Ski Club  Dec '58-April '61. (1991 postcard) ...."30th ski club reunion. I have renewed respect for Eastern skiers. It was man made over ICE. No wonder we learned to ski FAST. Give me Colorado conditions anyday. However the scenery and companionship were both great. It was weird to step back 30 years."

TUCKERMAN RAVINE, Mt Washington NH (The Brennans assume he skied the headwall.)
 
VERMONT
STOWE Vermont ( home base for many years at the Monastery), skied everything there. (I visited the lodge there in early '60's. Stayed over night, skated on a tiny pond next to the lodge).

He saved a clipping from the Stow VT Reporter, 3-30-72 which shows he was third in the Boy's age 40-47 age group, for which I believe he won a trophy.  He had a picture of himself on a podium accepting the trophy along with a young girl who won one in her class.  The article lists the finishing times of the following 6 members of his ski group;  Bonnie Jameson,  3rd in Women  27-31 age group,  Men , age group  32-39,  4th Richard Kirk, 7th Tom Brennan, 11th Richard Kruger, 13th Herb Swift, 16th Steve Wolfe


3/12/'91 Rob's postcard, "our stay here (cut down to 3 days due to typically foul Eastern ski weather - fog, heavy rain, quick change to cold, flurries, high wind, ice on the mountain, etc.) I was an embarrassment. I hadn't skied in the East for 7 years and I can't take it - mostly man-made snow, narrow, steep trails and real ICE (not Western hard pack).  This saturday, I join Dick Kirk, Jim Kubik, Buff Harris and about 40 others for a ski club 30-year reunion at Cannon Mountain. I may even make a few runs on that forbidding behemoth."

JAY PEAK, 5 miles south of the Canadian-Vermont border.

KILLINGTON. about half way  up from Mass border, middle of state. 

SUGARBUSH, Warren VT,

other New England hills, some in Mass I believe.

UTAH,
ALTA, staying at the Rustler Lodge where his nephews joined him. First Joe and Ben Nix, alater Andy Nix and Douglas Cohen.
Ben added; "We would run into many of his ski friends on those trips, including Jack Searls, Dick Kirk, Dick Kruger, and Grace McClelland (sp?). The neighboring ski area, Snowbird, also was a frequent stop for the gang, particularly Jack Searls. 

PARK CITY, by Ben Nix "During the Utah visits, we also skied at Park City, which is one canyon over from Little Cotton Wood Canyon where Alta and Snowbird are.  I know Rob also later skied at Dear Valley, which is next to Park City."  2/20/92 postcard from Rob, "Ted F. this ski area should be called Bogus Mt at Ugly City. We had a good time despite having to ski mostly on man made. One day we skied 19k vertical ft. Ted retired at 9 pm, fully expecting to die in his sleep and thinking, "RB will be a little inconvenienced but there must be professionals who handle this sort of thing."  He also said, "Continental, the airline that doesn't care, featuring a frequent flyer program for masochists." We also skied ASPEN, ASPEN HIGHLANDS, SNOWMASS, TIEHACK and DEER VALLEY. My new GS racing skis are the best I've ever  owned. Skied 13 days in all."

TAOS, New Mexico, son Ben wrote "flew Joe and I there in 1978.  Rob arrived 36 hours after us as that was 1978 the year of the Great Blizzard in Boston, and his travel was delayed.  Taos was not easy to get to in those days."


IDAHO, SUN VALLEY (Prime western designation and his last skiing venue)
3/4/'82 postcard, "Have now skied 5 days with 2 left to go. Sun is predicted.  We have had considerable new snow and a combination of poor light and good including some sun. Total depth is 80".  Took one day off due to rain and wet snow. Am here with the Kirks and Ted Fallon plus 2 Boston couples. We have skied and dined with the Lloyds and had dinner last night with Jean, Jules and Graham Ray. .. I am doing amazingly well on great new skis."
(I caught up with my brother there in the later '80's, also  Dick Kirk and my youngest son Andy. I watched kids and minor pro hockey for the two days. Dick drove. We went into Boise for dinner. I flew on my oldest son's ticket cause he cancelled. I recall sitting at the bottom and Rob watching Rob "streak" down the hill, in jeans and a windbreaker. Competitive as always.

COLORADO
ASPEN. went to Aspen several times skiing both Aspen its neighbor Snowmass.


BEAVER CREEK,
3/13/??, "Beaver Creek was a complete success for me-94,000 vertical ft in 9 days, including 17,400' on day 9. It snowed on days 1 through 7. Ted wasn't so successful-80,000 in 8 days. He visited his doctor upon return and was told he had suffered from overexertion and altitude sickness. I never felt the altitude at all (8,100' to 11,500') and must ask my neurologist if he has some knowledge of this phenomenon. Back here (Boston), I have reverted to some nausea and a badly screwed up sleeping pattern. As my neurologist predicted, I skied better than I had for two or three seasons. There are no speed controls at "The Beav" - I was scaring myself with my speed by the end of the stay. Unlike last season, I had full control of my poles and could walk on the flats like other people (quite a relief).

Ben Nix wrote, "Later, Dick Kirk and Rob fell in love with Beaver Creek, and that became their favorite Western ski trip.  He went there several times after being diagnosed with Parkinson's in his "60's.  Rob and Dick enjoyed the fact that you could ski right out of the hotel lobby onto the slopes, calling that a "very civilized way to enjoy a mountain." His postcard 2/22/'93, "We skied from as high as 12,060 ft (top of Parsenn Bowl.at Winter Park--perhaps the most spectacular view from any Western ski area) and never felt the altitude at all. Dick Kirk says this is common "in old age". At W.P. I skied on a Golden Age pass at $17 while youthful Ted Fallon (only 61) had to pay $33. Ski day #8 was quite an experience. We arrived at the summit for the first run when abruptly I turned into a zombie. Perhaps I should have taken the chairlift down. We learned that a zombie will ski very smoothly where the trail is groomed but as Ted said, may ski straight into a tree, a lift tower or a building. I was fine by late afternoon. Strange disease (parkinsons). On days one and nine with clear weather I skied a fast and as well as ever."  2/23/'93. My neurologist thought I'd be pleasantly surprised and I am unlike last season. I have full control of the poles, can walk like other people on the flats and skating all over the mountain. I am skiing FAST! My medication delays us in the morning. 11 am is about the earliest on the lifts but that's no problem here because there are no lines. "The Beav" is livelier and friendlier than in years past but still very expensive. A new experience for us is skiing in WEATHER. It has snowed every day, there has been poor visibility and much wind and at one point it was only 1 degree on the mountain."


COPPER MOUNTAIN, 3/26/'79 "is damn good--2450' vertical, no lines on the tougher mountain (there really are 3), a good lift layout and perfect snow. I skied all 6 days despite my usual lack of stamina. The top at Copper is 12,050' and it didn't bother me."
postcard 2/15/'91 from Boston, "Developed scroiliac problem getting up from my couch. Spent 18 days at Copper Mtn anyway and had no problems. I did avoid the skating and tuck positions. Copper is an excellent resort, just up too high. (base is 9,712' and our room was on the 6th floor.) I had to take day 3 off due to a headache, weakness, stupidity, etc. Big ticket bargain for those of us over 60 but I can see why; Copper's nickname should be either Headache or Aspirin Heaven. Took free shuttle one night to Breckenridge (9,600' ft) so Ted could see the ancient town and I could order elk."

CRESTED BUTTE, postcard 2/10/1989. "Have finished 5 days of good skiing at "The Butte". The quaint old mining town, full of good restaurants, is 3 miles from the road-free shuttle. Coldest temperature at which w skied was 2 below-not bad. We had to stay overnight at the O'Hare Hilton (Chicago) due to weather. Our gear arrived after us, trucked in from Denver."
STEAMBOAT, 3/12/'81, "The best snow and some of the best runs are at the top. That lift has a vertical of 1,935 ft. We got 1 3/4" of new last night and the skiing is fairly good. A substantial fall would make it great. No problems yet after 2 days of my Great Comeback. We can ski right into our condo."

3/18/? "They were receiving 9 badly needed inches when we were leaving at 5 am on Frontier Airlines. Probably still will be forced to close next Sunday. Glad to have skied this awkward complex - one gets the impression the gods practiced designing a ski mountain here before working on the near perfection of Sun Valley. Terrain is such that we never used the gondola. Only super skiers were allowed to ski down - others were sent down on the gondola which unloaded about 200 vertical feet below our condo and past mostly muddy fields. Yet on our last day, our last run had to be down a fast-icing pitch similar to Limelight at Sun Valley but without the moguls. The single span length of the gondola explains it's being shutdown in modest winds."

SUMMIT COUNTY 3/20/I assume 1979) postcard is Summit County, no clue as to Breckinridge or Copper Mtn. Rob wrote: "Fun to be one of the best on the mountain again - this is no Sun Valley. Am skiing quite a bit considering that P.J. Cassidy's doesn't close till 2 am. The following morning I always wonder about my I.Q.. Very good restaurants...) I can't google a "P.J. Cassidy's".

WINTER PARK/MARY JANE, 1988, "Returned triumphant from 6 days skiing at Winter Park/Mary Jane. Am now ready for Calgary. My victim for this trip was Ted Fallon who watched my tail vanish into the distance on 69% of my runs. (He sat out the rest usually quitting about 2 pm). W.P. has absolutely no chic but also no speed controls on the mountain. Spent a little too much time for my age (59) in a tuck but only my eyes really suffered. Made non-stop full mountain runs regularly on Days 5 and 6. 3 good restaurants, had venison twice."

TELLURIDE  by Ben Nix, "On at least one of the trips to Telluride or Aspen, Rob and Dick Kirk met with our cousin, Doug Cohen."

IDAHO
Sun Valley Idaho  (Prime western designation and his last skiing venue). Letter 3/20/86?.  "Sun Valley with the Kirks was a ball. Eight consecutive days of skiing with full sunshine on the 2 saturdays. In between, we had most atypical weather: clouds, wet snow, European-level flat light, dense fog, even RAIN. We skied with the Lloyd family, Gordon Russell and his current girlfriend and with Sally and Yelchin Okaya (he is Turkish). I received no speed warnings this year, perhaps because my favorite bombing run wasn't  groomed. Because Dick K. is only about 85% of his earlier self, I even did some of the driving but not the toughest segment.. I'm sure you recall Black ice! Of course I assumed I could keep up with the Lloyd kids-Suzie 13, Davie 11 and super GS racer, Michael 10. I was wrong. I could almost keep up with Suzie (later I learned she specializes in cross-country). Davie was usually off training somewhere else and Michael pulled away from me whenever he felt like it. However, the adults were very well behind, except for Dick Kirk who kept pace most of the time. (How we infuriated Andy!) Of course I ate well-quail, rabbit, venison steak and catfish twice. We ate again a Peter Schott's in Boise. (I joined my brother, son Andy and Dick Kirk the last weekend they were there. I spent most of my time at the indoor ice rink since there was a Peewee hockey area tournament and in the evening, the semi-pro Suns played. I still have the programs for those games. )  The tab for the three was $82 including tip, 3 cocktails, 3 appetizers, 3 entries and a bottle of wine. In Boston the tab would have been $200 and neither food nor service as good." 

WYOMING
GRAND TARGHEE, 3/5/'83. "Targhee need apologize to nobody as a ski area. There was no reason to drive to nearby Jackson Hole as people have been driving from there to Targhee for better snow. "

OUTSIDE US

SWITZERLAND, Zermatt, March 1960. In about 2006 he sent me a copy of Washburn's August 1960 photo of the Matterhorn, noting where he and Erv S. of his ski club had started their downhill runs. There was a thick mantle of snow and ice then, largely melted by 2005.

ITALY, By Tom and Carol Brennan, " RB  love to talk about  the great time he had at  Madonna Di Campiglio .  Also he liked the rolling sound of the words."  I had helped him with pronunciation since I learned Florentine accented Italian while serving two years in Asmara, Eritrea.  

NEW ZEALAND  August 1972, "14 MILE RUN down a glacier, after a flight to the top in a single engine ski plane. Incredibly beautiful but unnerving. I skied the glacier without a fall and with occasional dignity."

MT MALAMUT, Mt.  Lac Megantic, Quebec

CHILE, Valle Nevado, 1991 his postcard "I surprised myself and realized a 30 yr dream by skiing in Chile..1 1/2 hr drive from Santiago. I skied in jeans and a lined windbreaker and had to buy well used gloves for $4....I made 7 runs and quit when I could feel it in my legs."  http://www.vallenevado.com/en

ARGENTINA, Las Lenas, Las Lenas Ski ('93 with Dick Kirk. (My brother experienced "becoming a zombie" from Parkinsons and aborted one run, returned down on the lift but later in the day skied the "bunny slopes"). He wrote in a postcard, "The Austrian National Team is here. Some days the visibility is poor.  Otherwise the skiing is amongst the most thrilling I've ever experienced. The amount and quality of the empty space one skies through is incredible.  The lift at the top I have re-named the Himalaya's Lift".



My brother's TRAVELS not related to skiing

MEXICO

His letter of June 9, ???
"I spent five vacations in Mexico, drove probably 2,000 miles (almost never after dark) and rode buses from Mexico City to Guadalajara with an overnight stay in Morelia. I drove a Falcon on one trip, VW bugs on 2 other trips.  (He visited us in Anaheim driving a bug he rented in Mexico). If you owned a car, almost certainly it would be a VW bug."

"My Mexican vacations: all between 1966-1972.

1. Mexico City, Cuernevaca, Taxco, Iquala, Lake Tequesquitengo.
2. Mexico City, Morelia, Guadalajara.
3. Guadalajara, Puerto Vallarta.
4. Guadalajara, Lake Chapala, Barrade Navidad, Playa Santiago, Manzanillo, Colima.
5. Guadalajara, Tepic, San Blas, Guanajuato, Aguascalientes, Zacetecas, Durango, Lake Chapala.

Copyright, 1996-2013 Joe Nix where applicable.
compiled, edited and maintained by
Joe Nix joe@josephnix.com
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