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Keystone Founder Honored On Opening Day

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Max Dercum on a Keystone chairlift (credit: CBS)

Max Dercum on a Keystone chairlift (credit: CBS)

KEYSTONE, Colo. (CBS4) – This weekend skiers and boarders are enjoying the snow at two more ski resorts in Summit County — Copper Mountain and Keystone. For one family opening day at Keystone was an emotional one.

While hundreds of people gathered for the first runs of the 2011-2012 season at Keystone the Dercum family was on hand, as they have been for decades, ready to see the season get under way.

“The first year of Keystone we weren’t sure. We didn’t have a lot of snow and we didn’t have a huge number of people, but people were excited,” said Rolf Dercum, a member of the family that founded Keystone.

Max Dercum helped found Keystone 41 years ago. The mountain bears his name and he even has a ski run. But on opening day the resort wanted to make sure they honored him after his passing this year.

“We’re actually dedicating a gondola cabin right here to the Dercums,” Amy Kemp with Keystone Resort said.

“It means a lot. My dad just passed away and it was a dream of his to have Keystone,” Rolf Dercum said.

The family owned a ranch near what’s now the base of the mountain during World War II. Max and Edna helped establish both Keystone and Arapahoe Basin.

“Max was also really integral in starting the PSIA, which is the Professional Ski and Snowboard Instructors of America,” Kemp said. “So they have given so much back to not only our community but also the entire ski industry.”

Max Dercum raced well into his 80s and kept skiing until a few years ago when he was in his early 90s. His son says opening day was always special.

“He was always very excited how people enjoyed it,” Rolf said. “He’d be standing here really excited because he loved how people got excited about skiing.”

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