Babette Haueisen: a pioneer in women’s skiing
CELEBRATION OF LIFE
A celebration of life will be held 1 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 7 at the Truckee River Regional Park, where Babette Haueisen’s life will be toasted with beer and brats. In lieu of flowers, consider making a donation to the Humane Society of Truckee-Tahoe, http://weblink.donerperfect.com/haueisenmemorial, in her honor.
Babette Haueisen was known to many as a skiing legend.
To Holley Schooley-Calvo and her family she was a mother and grandmother, despite Haueisen having no kids of her own.
“She gave me strength and she had a warm heart,” said Calvo. “There’s a lot of good parts of me that came from her.”
Haueisen, a longtime Truckee local and Alpine Meadows’ first full-time female ski instructor, died Aug. 24 surrounded by her loved ones. She was 88.
Haueisen grew up in Wisconsin but came to California in 1949 to attend Marin Junior College.
She picked up skiing shortly after at age 19 and joined the Berkeley Ski Club. She then moved to Donner Summit working as a ticket checker at Sugar Bowl where she was introduced to Bill Klein and other talented skiers who helped her further develop her passion for the sport.
She eventually began competing in races, winning Sugar Bowl’s Silver Belt Race in 1955 and Aspen’s Roch Cup in 1956. Her skiing had progressed enough to give her a chance at competing in the 1956 Olympics. However, she was not selected for the team.
She then moved to Austria, skiing there and around Europe for several seasons before returning to Truckee. According to Starr Walton Hurley, a member of the 1964 Olympic ski team, Haueisen helped carry the Olympic torch into Squaw Valley during the 1960 Winter Olympics, relaying it to Hurley.
When Alpine Meadows opened in 1961, Haueisen applied for a job which Calvo said did not come easily to her because of the director at the time. When Werner Schuster took over as director she became a fully certified ski instructor, the only full-time female instructor at the time, continuing her teaching career at the resort for 16 years.
“She was a strong female role model for many people,” said Calvo recalling the time Haueisen helped her get her first lifeguarding job in Lake Tahoe. “It was 1969 and they didn’t wanna hire me because I was a girl, but she told them that they had to.”
Haueisen served as the Ski School Director at Soda Springs for three years before instructing at Northstar for another 20 years.
“She loved teaching old and young, but loved teaching children,” said Calvo. “She was just a natural.”
In 2004, Haueisen was inducted into the Veterans Ski Instructors’ Hall of Fame in Deer Valley, Utah alongside Elissa Slanger of Truckee and Lyn Mundt of Reno. It was the first time women were recognized with this award.
She spent her final years in Truckee despite concerns of friends.
“We tried to get her to leave the mountains and she wouldn’t leave,” said Calvo. “She just loved it up here.”
Hannah Jones is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. She can be reached at 530-550-2652 or firstname.lastname@example.org.