Dick Bass Dies at 85

Richard Daniel “Dick” Bass, partner and chairman of Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort and the self-proclaimed first person to climb the highest point on each of the seven continents, died Sunday, July 26, 2015 at the age of 85 surrounded by family in Dallas, Texas. Bass suffered from pulmonary fibrosis.

Dick BAss

Bass spent the last 44 years building Snowbird into a world-renowned, year-round destination mountain resort, dedicated to the enhancement of body, mind and spirit. He co-founded the resort in 1971 with Ted Johnson, and maintained sole ownership of the Utah resort until the Bass family sold majority interest in Snowbird to Ian Cumming in May 2014.

“The Snowbird family is mourning the loss of a great man who changed so many of our lives for the better,” said Snowbird president Bob Bonar, who worked for Bass since before the resort opened.

Bass was born Dec. 21, 1929 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. After serving in World War II and then joining the family oil business, Bass invested in 1962 as one of the original limited partners in Vail Ski Resort, and joined the Board of Directors of Vail Associates Inc. in 1965. In the mid 1970s, the Bass family acquired 58 percent of Vail Associates. The Bass family’s Vail stockholdings were sold in 1985. In addition to Vail, Dick and his brother Harry Jr. were 10 percent stockholders in the Aspen Ski Corporation until it was purchased by Twentieth Century Fox in 1977. Until recently, Dick also owned 10 percent of the Alta Ski Lifts Company. For all his involvement in the winter resort industry, Bass received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Ski Areas Assn. in 2006.

Bass completed his list of the “Seven Summits” at age 55 in 1985 when he summited Mt. Everest on his fourth attempt with guide and lifelong friend David Breashears. Pat Morrow was the first person to summit all the seven peaks on the Messner List of Seven Summits while Dick Bass was the first to complete the Bass List. Morrow was also the first person to climb all the eight peaks on both lists.

Bass was known for his love of poetry, art, travel, literature and people. A conversation with Bass was never brief but always entertaining with his homespun aphorisms he called “Bassisms.”

Bass is survived by wife Alice, four children and 13 grandchildren as well as five stephchildren and 11 step grandchildren.

Funeral services will be Friday, July 31, 4 p.m., at St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church in Dallas, Texas.

For a more complete Bass biography, visit