BENNINGTON — Peter Graves has filled the airwaves with his calls during many of skiing’s biggest moments over the past four-plus decades, spanning countless World Cup events and Olympic races. The Bennington native’s unrivaled voice has become synonymous with the sport he’s covered in a multitude of ways since 1977.
Graves’ dedication to the sport was recognized Friday as he was enshrined into the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Hall of Fame during a ceremony at Big Sky Resort in Big Sky, Mont.
Graves called the honor “incredibly humbling.”
“I had to pinch myself many times to really feel like I belong amongst so many legends up there,” Graves said.
He’s worked as a sportscaster and a public address announcer in 13 separate Olympic Games spanning a variety of sports, most notably skiing.
His first Olympic experience came in 1980 at the Lake Placid Games for ABC, where he served as the expert commentator in Nordic and the biathlon. His Olympic work has continued from there, most recently serving as the alpine ski host announcer at the 2018 PyeongChang Games and as an announcer for the men’s and women’s road cycling events in the 2021 Tokyo Games.
He’s also played an integral role in countless World Cup ski races and World Championships.
Graves skied under the legendary Bucky Broomhall for Mount Anthony Union High School in the late 1960s. That’s where his love for Nordic developed.
“When he started the ski team, it was magical,” Graves said. “It changed a lot of people’s lives, not just mine. Bucky developed Olympians – he taught us to ski, and had such a passion for it. We all just loved him and what he did.”
Broomhall coached and advised two local athletes that made it to the Olympic level in Dave Jareckie and Andy Newell. Both skied in the Bill Koch League, the youth league Broomhall started when he stepped away as MAU’s coach prior to the 1970 season.
Jareckie competed in the biathlon at the 1992 and 1994 Olympics. Newell, a native of Shaftsbury, competed in four different Olympics spanning from 2006-2018.
Broomhall was replaced by Birger Vignes at MAU ahead of Graves’ senior season in 1970, one that ended with a junior national team bid for the newly appointed hall of famer.
“I owe an enormous debt of gratitude to those two coaches for teaching me about cross country skiing and its culture,” Graves said. “I just loved it.”
By the time his MAU ski days were over, Graves was hooked. He skied collegiately for Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colo. and began his broadcasting career following his graduation in 1975.
He credited the support of his parents, Van and Ella Graves, which helped him reach the pinnacle of the sport he loves so much.
“They were fantastic parents and incredibly supportive,” Graves said. “They wanted me to be happy and I am, even today.”
Graves was announced as an inductee as part of the Hall of Fame Class of 2021 in September of that year. The COVID-19 pandemic delayed the ceremony roughly 18 months.
He’s joined by fellow inductees: Herman Dupre, Sven Coomer, Alan Schoenberger, Renie and Dave Gorsuch, Mike Hattrup, Jan Reynolds and John Eaves. Most, like Graves, are considered “ski sport builders” and were being honored for their contributions toward the sport.
Coomer is considered one of the most influential boot designers of the modern era while John Eaves was a successful skier himself before serving as James Bond’s stunt double in ‘A View to Kill.’ Each ski sports builder furthered the sport in their own unique way.
Legendary alpine skier Bodie Miller was also part of the induction, despite officially being a member of the class of 2018.
Being enshrined next to Miller — the most decorated male alpine skier in United States history with six Olympic medals and five World Championship medals — was extra special according to Graves.
“He’s simply just an icon.”
Carving out a career within skiing has been a natural progression for Graves. He compounded his first Olympics’ coverage in 1980 into another and never looked back, all while maintaining a deep-rooted passion for his job.
“All of a sudden, in the blink of an eye, you’re doing what you love to do, you raise a family, and you’re 70 years-old,” he chuckled.
Finding that passion in his work, along with the people he’s met along the way, has been the most rewarding aspect for Graves throughout his nearly five-decade career.
“I’ve been very blessed to have so many wonderful people who inspired me and who helped,” he said.
That includes his home mountain, Prospect. Graves was an integral part of installing the first Nordic trails on the mountain in 1982. The bonds he’s created within that community remain strong to this day.
“Prospect was really central to the lifelong friends and camaraderie of the sport,” Graves said.
Monday morning, his hometown mountain congratulated him on his hall of fame induction.
“The entire Prospect Community is pleased to offer Peter the heartiest of congratulations,” a release on Prospect’s website stated.
Graves hopes the sport continues to grow, not only at a competitive level, but also recreationally.
“Anybody that wants to, I hope you get the opportunity to ski — not to race, but to ski,” he said. “It really is a lifelong sport.”
One that has provided a lifetime of memories for the Bennington native, and one that will forever be documented in the hall of fame.
“I hope to keep doing it as long as I can,” Graves said. “I have no plans to hang it up.”