Meet Your Neighbor: Rick Sylvester |

Meet Your Neighbor: Rick Sylvester

Christine Stanley/Sierra SunRick Sylvester


Olympic Valley

I had my first job there in 1967 throwing dynamite and running ski patrol, and that’s what got me up here. I’ve spent many hours with Alex, and there was a saying for a long time that Squaw wouldn’t reach its full potential until he was gone. People don’t know what’s going on, but what I have heard is that (Squaw Valley USA) has to stay private for 10 years before it can be sold. In the interim, Nancy will run it for the 10 years, and then the three daughters will sell it to a corporation. People are speculating. It’s a very interesting case.

Somehow I got a crazy idea of making the world’s greatest ski jump off of El Capitan, but I needed to learn to sky dive in order to do it. So I took a lesson and ended up skiing off of El Cap. One thing led to another, and I got a call from this advertising agency to do an ad for Canadian Club Whisky with an adventure motif on Baffin Island. People associated with the (James) Bond movies saw the ads and decided to put my ski jump in the arctic circle as the opening in “The Spy Who Loved Me.” It was the most expensive stunt in the history of movies at the time ” it cost $500,000.

Climbing is very exciting, it has more moments of truth than anything else. I went to a climbing school in Switzerland and that changed my life. The last thing that I did that was really cool and exotic was Mount Kenya ” the second highest peak in Africa.

I did some of the first ski ascents at Squaw ” one of which has my name. It’s had a closed sign on it for years, but the tram goes over the formation ” Little Granite Chief. There is a little chute in there called Sylvester’s Slot ” I was the first one to go down it and I’m in Gaffney’s book.

The Sun’s Christine Stanley interviewed Patterson for “Meet Your Neighbor.” Please send suggestions for “Meet Your Neighbor” to, subject Meet Your Neighbor.

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