1916 – 2003

INDUSTRY – Ralph A. “Doc” Des Roches, 86, died peacefully on June 30, at his home on Clearwater Lake.

Born in Mexico in 1916, the son of Alec and Angelina (Doiron) Des Roches of Prince Edward Island, he was educated in Mexico schools and Fryeburg Academy and attended the University of New Hampshire in the Class of 1943, where he participated in intercollegiate, national and regional ski meets, achieving Class A downhill, cross-country and combined.

During World War II, “Doc” served in the 10th Mountain Division, training ski troops at Camp Hale, Colo., and Lake Placid, N.Y.

His collegiate and Army ski experiences led him to a distinguished lifetime career in skiing. In 1946, he married Yvonne “Toby” Stone and taught her how to ski and they worked side-by-side in ski area management at Laurel Mountains Slopes in Ligonier, Pa. from 1946-1964, where he was ski school director, mountain manger and ultimately president and CEO, while Toby taught skiing and raised four children.

From 1963-1981 he served as executive vice president and CEO of Ski Industries America, the national trade association of manufacturers, importers and distributors of consumer ski products, again with Toby working by his side. When he “retired,” he moved to Clearwater Lake in Industry and developed the UMF Ski Industry Program, serving as coordinator from 1982-1992 and remained a consultant to the program till his death.

Among his many working and honorary memberships, he was charter member #7 of the Professional Ski Instructors of America, an FIS member (Federation Internationale de Ski) and charter member of the Eastern Ski Writers Association. His work with the United States Ski Association included Board of Directors, alpine official, U.S. Ski Team Fund Finance chairman, TV representative and press officer and representative at several Winter Olympic Games. He was the permanent honorary chairman of the U.S. Ski Team Fund, a lifetime honorary member of the U.S. Ski Team, the PSIA and the U.S. Ski Writers Association.

He received many national and state awards for his outstanding contributions to the sport and industry of skiing, including the Julius P. Blegen Memorial Award of the U.S. Ski Association, the Golden Quill Award of the U.S. Ski Writers Association, the John Clair Award for outstanding service to the U.S. Ski Team and the Darien, Conn. Oldtimers Athletic Award. He was recognized as a “Founder of Skiing,” for leadership in setting the high standards skiing enjoys today and was inducted into both the National Ski Hall of Fame and the Pennsylvania Ski Hall of Fames’ Inaugural Class. The University of Maine at Farmington recognized him “in grateful appreciation for his contribution in developing the UMF Ski Industries Program.” And shortly before his death, he was notified that he was to be inducted into the first class of the Maine Ski Museum’s Hall of Fame this year.

He is survived by Toby, his wife of 57 years; daughter, Laurel Lashar and husband, Jeff of Carrabassett Valley, daughter, Alexis Des Roches of Industry, daughter, Aimee Des Roches of New Sharon and Alec Des Roches and wife, Debbie of Fairfax, Va.; granddaughters, Noelle Farrington and husband, Kendall of Chesterville, Kara Cochrane and husband, Tobyn of Bellingham, Wash. and Melissa Walker of Farmington; grandsons, Jay Lashar and companion, Monica Woodward of Gilbert, Ariz., Micah Lashar and Garrett Lashar of Carrabassett Valley and Nick Des Roches and Jake Des Roches of Fairfax, Va.; and great-grandchildren, Heather and Kyle Farrington and Anna and Kate Cochrane; a brother-in-law, Gene Roy of Jay; and sisters-in-law, Rita Des Roches of Maryland, and Terry Des Roches of California.

He was predeceased by four brothers; and three sisters.

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