Orville A. Slutzky, age 96, the beloved co-founder of Hunter Mountain, N.Y., passed away peacefully on April 18, 2013, in the company of loved ones. Orville was born in Hunter on February 13, 1917 and was raised on his parents’ farm in Jewett, N.Y. Slutzky is survived by three children (Carol Slutzky-Tenerowicz, Paul Slutzky and Gary Slutzky), in addition to numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
In September of 1939, along with his late brother Izzy, he started the I. & O. A. Slutzky Construction Company. In 1958, Orville and Izzy let it be known through an article in the New York Herald Tribune that they would donate land that they owned with the stipulation that it would be transformed into a ski resort. This was done in an effort to aid in the economic growth of the area surrounding the Village of Hunter. The only stipulations were that the ski resort had to be called Hunter Mountain Ski Bowl and that it had to have snowmaking. Hunter Mountain Development Corp. was founded and subsequently financed by New York City theater investors. The Slutzky brothers’ crews sculpted the slopes and installed a double chairlift. Hunter Mountain opened to skiers on January 9, 1960. After two brief ski seasons, few paying guests, and mounting losses, the Hunter Mountain Development Corporation declared bankruptcy. However, the Slutzky brothers were not deterred. During the 1961-62 ski season, Orville and Izzy took over control of the ski area. Orville assumed his position as General Manager of the day-to-day operation of Hunter Mountain Ski Bowl, where he remained for half a century until his retirement.
In 2007, Orville and his brother Izzy were honored with NSAA’s Lifetime Achievement Award for their extraordinary commitment to the ski industry.
The Slutzky family, the Hunter Mountain family, and the ski industry as a whole mourn the loss of an innovator, a philanthropist, an inspirational leader, a father, grandfather, and a beloved spirit. A celebration of his life and funeral services will take place on Sunday, April 21, at 10 A.M. in the Colonel’s Hall of the main base lodge at Hunter Mountain.