JACKSON, Wyo. — An old Checker Aerobus discovered in Buena Vista, Colorado turned out to be the Jackson Hole Ski Club (JHSC) team wagon from sometime in the mid to late 80’s.
A man who had never heard of JHSC found the wagon in a junkyard among other run down vehicles.
“We spend much of our time in Buena Vista Colorado, where the Aerobus was located,” said Ken Mentor who made the discovery. “I was raised near Kalamazoo Michigan, home of the Checker Motor Company, so I’ve always been curious about these cars. I was roaming around the area and noticed a bunch of Checkers, including taxis, these limos and a few other old cars,” said Mentor.
After taking a look at the Aerobus, Mentor realized that the text on the side of the vehicle read “Jackson Hole Ski Club Racing Team.”
Mentor eventually reached out to JHSC Chief Marketing Officer, Jeff Moran who connected the vehicle to old photos of the JHSC team from what is believed to be the 1985-86 season.
“It was cool to see Jeff’s photos of the bus in action with the old ski team. This was my first introduction to the club, I was happy to see it still existed, and I thought the group might be interested in the photo,” said Mentor.
And interested they were. In the post shared to JHSC’s Facebook, commenters began to name team members and coaches in the photograph. One woman even shared memories of driving the wagon herself.
“I drove this car many many miles with kids in sleeping bags and one assigned full time scraping windshield. [It was the late] 80’s. Tom Johnston [was the] 14 year coach at JHSC from 1986-1999,” wrote Cassy Benjamin Johnston.
Johnston also identified several individuals in the photo. “Fred Turton and Mitch Hastings (deceased) are the coaches. Deb Martin (deceased) [is] the red head. Stan Nelson [is] on the right with glasses, best windshield scraper, also a great downhiller,” wrote Johnston.
According to Pete Lawton, a JHSC team member from the late 70’s to the early 80’s, the team even gave the wagon its own name.
“We called the bus ‘Stretch’. It was donated from the JH Lodge Company,” said Lawton. “Didn’t work well trying to go through McDonald’s in Idaho Falls.”