Mariposa & Yosemite

Yosemite ski great Nic Fiore dies at 88

FRESNO — Nic Fiore, the personable and charismatic ski instructor who graced the slopes of Badger Pass for more than 50 years, was remembered Wednesday as a man who will have a permanent place in the history of Yosemite National Park.

Once described as "America's most enduring ski instructor," Mr. Fiore died Tuesday in a Fresno retirement community. He was 88.

Mr. Fiore is believed to have taught more than 100,000 people to ski during his remarkable career at the park that stretched from 1948 to 2004.

He had been in failing health since suffering a stroke in mid-May, said his daughter, Cindy Volpa, a Fresno schoolteacher. He had been living at San Joaquin Gardens since heart surgery in February 2004 forced him off the slopes.

"My dad lived a wonderful, almost ideal life," Volpa said. "We want to remember him for all those years in Yosemite and just block out the last few."

Besides two daughters and eight grandchildren, Mr. Fiore leaves behind a legacy of positive energy, vibrant storytelling and pioneering ski instruction.

"We'll miss him, but he'll be there always," said Badger Pass Ski School director Chuck Carter, a close friend and former colleague. "Nic is a permanent part of Badger Pass and the history of Yosemite."

Many of Mr. Fiore's students went on to establish ski schools throughout California and the Western states.

"Nic's philosophy was that skiing was something that needed to be simple," Carter said. "At the time it was revolutionary, but that's where the industry ended up going."

Mr. Fiore received numerous accolades for his contributions to skiing, including awards from the Northern California and Nevada Ski Media Association and the Southern California Association of Ski Writers.

Family members will hold a private funeral this week. A public memorial will be held at Badger Pass in the fall, Volpa said.