Robert J. "Bob" Chambers

Wednesday , November 09, 2016 - 10:00 PM1 comment

July 18, 1930 ~ November 6, 2016

Early Sunday morning, Bob Chambers began his last and final ski run. True to form, he was on the first chair up and didn't hesitate to tear off and make first tracks. But then he never was one to hesitate much.

Bob was born in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, to early homesteaders Jess and Mary Hedrick Chambers. Bob grew up surrounded by stout and tireless ranchers, trappers, and farmers during an era defined by resourcefulness and hard work. Some of his fondest childhood memories were of working with his grandfather, Charlie Hedrick in the newly-formed Teton National Park.

His family moved to Ogden when he was 10, and not long after he began working, delivering telegrams and shining shoes on Ogden's colorful 25th Street. He saved what he earned and put it toward his love of skiing, which became his lifelong pursuit and career. As a key member of the Ogden High School ski team, he was most proud of winning both the coveted Knudsen Cup and the 1948 State Championships, unseating the long-revered East High ski team of Salt Lake City.

War interrupted his life, and took him to Korea where he served as an army medic and was awarded the Bronze Star for Valor, saving the life of a fellow soldier while under enemy fire. Back in the states, he was made an instructor for the US Army's Mountain & Cold Weather Training Command at Camp Hale, Colorado, and was awarded All-Army Ski Champion. Upon returning home, he attended the University of Wyoming on a ski scholarship, where he became captain of the ski team. He was the NCAA 4-way Champion, and also studied hard and earned a degree in business.

After graduation, Bob returned to Ogden and founded Alpine Sports in 1955, which continues today as Utah's oldest family-owned ski shop. Nothing made him happier than to help people enjoy skiing as much as he did. He proudly led Alpine Sports, serving generations of skiers, and gave countless teens their first real jobs. Bob was also a founding member of the Mt. Ogden Ski Club and was the founder and director of the All Air Force Championship Ski Races.

After 40 years of selling skis, he retired from the family business and resumed his ski racing career. He traveled the Intermountain West, winning more than 60 first-place finishes in Masters Racing. Bob's greatest honor was being chosen as a torch-bearer for the 2002 Winter Olympics, proudly carrying the flame down the center of 25th Street, Ogden.

Bob had a generous heart. Whether it was building home-made ski outriggers for a young boy who was an amputee, or teaching a young girl with a prosthetic leg to ski, he was eager to help those with challenges to experience the thrill of skiing. He helped found the first ski swap in northern Utah, and later turned it over to be run by the Utah Handicapped Skiers Assn.

In an unlikely, yet wonderful chance-meeting in Japan, Bob met his wife of 60 years, Mary Tomoko Hamada. Mary was his favorite ski companion and a loving and devoted partner in all his endeavors. They brought into this world four daughters: Katie (Kyle) Secretan, Peggie (Tim) Ambrey, Bobbie Chambers (Brentley Smith) and Christi Chambers DuFour. Throughout all of Bob's pursuits and successes, his family always felt like they came first and foremost. The grandkids always brought a twinkle to his eyes and a big smile to his face and were very spoiled by their grandpa. He taught the whole family to ski, bike, camp and truly embrace the outdoors.

Bob is survived by his wife, daughters, seven grandchildren: Jennifer Barney, Robbie Barney, Margo Barney, Lindsay Owens, Hilary Green, Zoe Zoberski, Leo Zoberski; and four great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his brother, Charles; his sister, Mary Lue Barnes; and his business partner and close friend, Jim Linford. We would like to thank Dr. Stephen Bruce for his many years of friendship, love and care. Also, thank you to Brenda from Summit Hospice for helping Bob pass with peace, dignity, and comfort.

If your life has been touched by Bob, please join us in a memorial gathering, Sunday, November 13, 2016, from 1 to 5 p.m. at Alpine Sports (1165 Patterson St., Ogden). Come share your favorite story or memory of Bob (open mic at 2 p.m.), but sorry, no returns of those boots he sold you back in 1978.

In lieu of flowers, please send donations to Ogden Valley Adaptive Sports.

And to Bob, we wish you Godspeed on your final and greatest ski run of all.

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