Babette Haueisen was born in Wisconsin on January 23, 1930. At an early age her family moved to the Bay Area. Babette is known as Queen of Donner Lake. For most old timers and some new timers Babette was also known as “Ms. B” and was a LEGEND not only to the area, but to the Ski Industry.
While attending Marin Junior college at the age of 19, she learned how to ski and joined the Berkeley Ski Club. Racing came naturally to this athletic young woman and soon Babette was winning races West of the Rockies including The Silver Belt at Sugar Bowl and The Roch Cup at Aspen.
She moved to Sugar Bowl in 1952 working for Room and Board. During this time she met Bill Klein, who really taught her how to ski and other Austrian Ski Instructors taught her how to race. Babette tried out for the USA Olympic team in 1956, but hit a tree during practice and ended up not qualifying for the team. Her drive, love for skiing, and tenacious spirit for life gave her the strength to make a career in the ski industry, which being a woman at that time was particularly difficult. This passion took her to Europe where she spent many seasons teaching skiing, mostly at San Anton, Austria.
Returning back to the states during the late fifties, she coached a ski team at Donner Ski ranch. Local kids such as the Poulsons’ first got their taste of RACING. My brother and I were among those lucky kids to join the race team.
During the 1960 Olympics while skiing on barrel staves, Babette handed off the torch to Starr Walton, who became a dear friend of Ms. B’s for life.
In 1961 Babette built her mountain home, “Haus Haueisen” on the lake. During this time she lived with my family and my dad helped insulate her home, as I am sure other old timers supported her too. Years later I joined Babette at “Haus Haueisen” to finish my last two years of high school at TNT and this is when my life was enriched with my Mountain Mom, Babette.
The next chapter in Bab’s life led her to teaching skiing, and this is where she remained for over forty years. She began teaching at Alpine Meadows, the year they opened, under Director Luggi Fogeher. Babette was the first female to be hired at Alpine. She worked for Director Werner Shuster, and remained at Alpine for the next 16 years. During this time Babette became a family not only to the Alpine Ski school but to the families she taught throughout the states. Her connections to so many families led to the teachings of two to three generations, and lasting bonds with many, that developed into traveling near and afar to visit many of “HER PEOPLE”. To further her career she became the Director of Soda Springs Ski school for three years. In 1980 she began working at Northstar and after 20 plus years of teaching at this resort, she retired. During this time she was selected as one of the top 100 ski instructors in the nation by Ski Magazine, plus she was one of the top 10 instructors in the Sierra Nevada Ski areas to receive this award. One of her happiest moments was when she was asked to coach for Team USA Transplants Game in Switzerland. In 2004 she received one of her highest achievement awards, which was to be one of the first three women ski instructors inducted into the Veterans Ski Instructors’ Hall of Fame. On the off season, Babette loved to travel not only up and down the west coast, but also enjoyed traveling abroad. Her bike often followed her as her love for biking during the off season only stopped during recent years. One of my fondness memories during her summer visits, was with my kids, their Nana, she would insist that they ride with her down Hwy. 101. (Always dressed in her awesome bike attire)
Babette’s independence, strength, and kindness touched many people throughout 8 decades. Up until her very last year, she continued to enjoy going by local venders paying her bills and saying hello. The Truckee community was who she was and who she relied on. She was a creature of habit and liked to do things her way. She was always direct, but had a heart of gold. There were so many of you who enjoyed special moments and shared in her life journey. I am so thankful for the many people that supported her wishes to live independently through your visits, meals, snow shoveling, wood deliveries and lighting her fires. I am just as grateful to the friends from afar who made her heart happy through phone calls, cards and gifts. There is no way you all can be named, but I want to thank her caretakers Kari, Carol and Bernie for their devotion. Mercie, Ellen Marie, Debbie, Cheryl, Pat and Travis for their weekly love and kindness. Werner and Hani, Bruce and Michelle, Sue and Dan for their encouragement and love. Thank you Dr. Lombard and office, Dr. Dodd and office, and all the medical field who listened patiently and respected Babette’s ways. During Babette’s last months at ECC, leading up to her last few days, while with her, I was also loved and nurtured at ECC. Thank you for not only taking care of Babette with tenderness and compassion, but for supporting her family and friends. It takes a Village, doesn’t it?
Babette Haueisen is survived by a nephew, Paul Haueisen, a cousin Bill O’Sullivan and family. Also, her very special ’Mountain daughter’s family’, Holley Schooley-Calvo and Ted Calvo, Grandchildren Raquel Pfeifer and husband Eddie, Nicole Suri and husband Akash and Tyler Calvo. Babette has three “Great Grandchildren”, Lucia, Solani and Ishaan, who called her Great Nana.
A Celebration of life will be held on Sunday, October 7, 2018, at the Truckee River Regional Park, beginning at 1pm. We will celebrate Babette’s life with brats and beer so bring your stein!
In Lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to the Humane Society of Truckee-Tahoe, http://weblink.donerperfect.com/haueisenmemorial. Thank you for your kindness.