dancing in United Express "Destinations
Ski Dancing with Senator Frank Lautenburg - Chairman of the Senate Committee
for the Environment
in her movie "Goldfigure"
"The Snow Women" - Name
given by the Indians
Suzy "Chapstick" Chaffee
"50 Greatest Sports Figures
of the Century" - Sports Illustrated _____________________
Find out how you, your group, organization or company can be enriched with Suzy's ski wisdom, while (tax deductably) supporting NVF goals, including Native Americans in the Olympics. Click here to find out how!
As a result of discovering elevated cancer cells in 2008, Suzy was guided by an environmental scientist to switch to all Natural Products. In 3 months her cells normalized. In appreciation and to make amends for any toxins in products she unknowingly promoted, she wrote the "Top 10 Toxins to Replace List" on the home page. The Vt Country Store(.org) contacted her and together they developed a 70% organic lip balm... called "Suzy Chaffee Naturals," which are "Body, Nature and Weather Friendly."
Remember those feisty little girls who could beat you at just about anything on the playground? They grew up to become pioneers in all areas of action sports. In honor of Women's History Month, the following gallery features our sport experts' picks of some of the most influential women in action sports, based on their pioneering and progression, contest wins, awards, media exposure and, in some cases, their ability to transcend the physicality of sport into other arenas, like business. View the photos here.
Suzy received her first world headlines as top American skier at the 1968 Grenoble Olympics. The Italian press dubbed the statuesque (5' 9") blond in her silver team downhill suit, ("which revolutionized sports fashion"), "Miss Olympics."
Having been a ballerina as a child, she had fantasies of dancing down mountains. Experimenting in ski films, she invented ski ballet, (tying the men in the contests), to become three-time World Freestyle Champion. Introducing Freestyle Skiing to America on The Tonight Show (Johnny Carson), she raised $1 million to start a women's division, and in '84, co-produced the World Cup event in Breckenridge that qualified it to be an Olympic sport. Suzy is uniquely honored in the U.S. Ski Hall of Fame in three categories: Alpine, Freestyle and Sport Builder.
Born to an Olympic family in Rutland, VT, her ski career started at two when she tried to step into her mothers skis. Her first coach, at age five, was Joe Jones, an Abenaki Indian. Skiing in the Green Mountains connected her with her inner voice that has guided her life. For staying true her own drumbeat, Suzy was dubbed by teammates, "Daffy Chaffee." "Following the '68 Games, I worked with a team of summer Olympians giving sports clinics in the inner cities. I saw how a little caring stopped the riots that burned 120 cities. Finding that 'giving back' is the 'real' Olympic high,' redirected my life. Plus I've gotten my biggest breaks, like the Chapstick Commercial, following my passion."
"Chaffee was, and is, the quintessential silver-sequined snow ballerina." - Powder Magazine _____________________
After studying journalism, photography and languages at the Universities of Denver, Washington, UCLA and Innsbruck, and briefly modeling to live in Europe, Suzy took a vacation to Olympia, Greece, and learned why the Ancient Olympics were successful for 1,000 years. On returning in 1971, she teamed up with Jack Kelly (Princess Grace’s brother), Senator Bill Bradley and Muhammad Ali, to unite world athletes to reform the rules to bring the integrity of the Ancients Games back to the Modern - sports heroes set the standard of ethics in society, the key to humane civilizations. Also becoming the first woman to serve on the U.S. Olympic Committee board, she wrote the rule that allowed Madison Avenue to freely sponsor Olympic teams and individuals, which leveled the international playing fields, putting it over-the-table to welcome all economic classes.
This freespirit of earth-honoring Viking, Druid, (French) Cathares & Slavic heritage, also introduced the "fun of sports" to the Presidents Council on Fitness and Sports in 1974, after a Munich meeting, then worked for four Presidents. She credits German/Scandinavian leaders for sharing the fun fitness idea (mascots...), which coincidentally helped us catch up to the First Americans (men and women), with their joyful, spiritual sports philosophy that predates Atlantis. As a third generation athlete she saw that moms are the fitness providers in the family. Also since the "right to sports is the right to health," (at US PE Teachers request), she led the Washington March for Title IX - Equal Opportunity for Women in School Sports, and set up the first White House (with Billy Jean) meeting to get it enforced. Convincing Ted Kennedy, Senate Health Chairman, and President George Bush Sr to put it under their wings for 30 years, they together saved Americans a trillion dollars in healthcare and welfare.
While skiing and working with President Ford on the Amateur Sports Act Bill (of 78) to democratize and streamline U.S. Olympic Sports in 1975, his ad man, Jim Jordan, was so inspired with Chaffers activism that the "Suzy Chapstick" lip balm commercial came to him in a dream, which helped pioneer the 70's Fitness Revolution. As Ambassador of Colgate (1st women sports commercials), her Ultrabrite Commercial also made "Best Commercial of the Decade." She also launched Dannon Yogurt, Revlon's Charlie Campaign (endorsing Women's Lib/grossing $50 million in 6 mo), and as Queen of Hot Dog skiing saved the Hot Dog Industry from a FDA oops. Ski Magazine said of Suzy, "Underneath her rhinestone headband is a mind of a Lee Iacocca." Said Coke’s ad man, Walter Dunn, "It’s Suzy’s heart and vision that’s made her one of the most beloved women athletes in three decades." (according to magazine polls.)
Post-freestyle tour, Chaffee hosted CBS' "Challenge of the Sexes," created the award winning "Suzy Chaffee Ski Workout, lectured, and studied ice dancing with Olympic skater John Curry, which inspired her to produce and direct her first ski ballet film –"Butch Chapstick and the Snowdance Kid" that Mikhail Baryshnikov called "fun, imaginative with lovely lines." In 1986, Chaffee starred in Willy Bogner’s "Fire & Ice," still the biggest box office ski film hit worldwide - third overall in Germany. After getting hypothermia, she turned to designing fur-lined skiwear in the 1990's, tying with Bogner to win the "World Ski Couture Award."
"When it comes to the 'right to sport' and Earths ecology, Suzy Chaffee is the essence of commitment, fearless and true to her spirit." - Santa Barbara Magazine (Cover story) _____________________
Moving from NYC/LA to Telluride in 1995, to lead a more natural life, and continue her passion: sharing her ski wisdom on corporate outings, like Credit Suisse and Avis, and with students like Jean Claude VanDamme, President Ford and the Empress of Iran, she found her greatest calling: After Telluride SkiCo and Suzy shared the joy of skiing with Rollingbears (Lakota), he was so touched that he saved the community from a snowless Christmas, singing the "Four Directions Song" (similar to the Essenes) on the radio. After four weather miracles, she realized that "Mother Earth listens," and found herself co-founding Native Voices Foundation (NVF) with Southern Ute Unity leader, Alden Naranjo, to welcome the tribes back to their ancestral lands to ski, snowboard and share their sustainable wisdom.
Over the last 10 years the program has snowballed across America, reaching thousands of youth. In appreciation, the tribes have saved ski areas from snow and water droughts with their magnificent snowdance ceremonies. NVF is now a partnership of U.S. tribal leaders like Tex Hall (President of the National Congress of American Indians), US Olympians like Billy Kidd (Abenaki), Euro leaders like IOC's Prince Albert of Monaco (honorary Lakota), and the Ski Industry, whose mission is "to create joyful unity through sports to preserve Nature's playgrounds for future generations."
"Most Popular American Skier" - People, Snow Country, & Powder Magazines _____________________
Thanks to this success, NVF was chosen to head the President Healthier U.S./Native Initiative in the Great Outdoors. Sports has been found to give Native youth the most health, motivation and hope. And since the International Olympic Committee recommends we include Indigenous Peoples to enhance the future of the Games, Chaffee is Spearheading Indian youth having a chance to compete in future Olympics as Sovereign Nations, along with Stew Young (Tulalip) World Cup Speedskier on the Native American Olympic Ski Team, and NVF's Euro supporters, led by French Princess Caroline Murat (Napoleon's closest descendent!)
"You bring the Native American spirituality of athletic competition to people in such an affirmative way that is inspiring and infectious. I admire your dedication." - Bill Bradley _____________________
CNN's Paula Zahn recently profiled some of the colorful contributions of this "First Lady of Skiing," whom the Navajo and Utes call "Snow Woman." Thanks to exploring the cutting edge of nutrition on behalf of Native American health, and to make a successful comeback herself after a hip replacement in 2004, Chaffee feels blessed with learning secrets to beautiful longevity, and is again joyfully dancing down mountains. A proud model of the youthful Baby Boomer Generation, Suzy was delighted to be featured in Ski Press USA Magazine's '95 Spring issue on the "Babes of Skiing," in the company of "20 Somethings," as "The Classic."