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Oral History Interview with Dick and Margaret (Miggs) Durrance, 1994 July 8, 2006, 1930-1960

Identifier: AHS-C102


Dick and Margaret (Miggs) Durrance discuss skiing during the 1930's through the 1950's around the United States, World and Aspen, Colorado. They describe how Alice Chair was the reason Women's sking in the states became competitive and the introduction of Friedl Pfeifer to Miggs and womens racing in the states. They talk about their role in the film and photography world of skiing, and how the films and documentaries were shot. They discuss their involvement in starting Alta ski area as well as A-Basin. They describe their time with the Aspen Ski Company, the 1950 FIS World Championship and working with the Paepckes during the 40's and 50's. They also talk about how ski runs were developed in the early days on Aspen Mountain compared to the issues ski areas faced in later years.


  • 1994 July 8
  • Digitization: 2006
  • Coverage: 1930-1960

Digital Repository

Oral History Interview with Dick and Margaret (Miggs) Durrance

Conditions Governing Access

http:// attempt to circumvent the access controls placed on this file is a violation of United States and international copyrights laws and is subject to criminal prosecution.Copyrights to this resource is held by the Aspen Historical Society and is provided here for educational purposes only. It may not be downloaded, reproduced, or distributed in any format without written permission of the Aspen Historical Society.

Biographical / Historical

Dick Durrance was born on October 23, 1914 in Tarpon Springs, Florida to John and America Durrance. The second of five siblings, his mother moved them all to Garmisch in the Bavarian Alps in 1927. Dick begins his ski racing career in Germany winning the German Junior Alpine Championship in 1932. In 1934 he went to Dartmouth College and raced for the team under coach Otto Schneibs. Dick was chosen for the 1936 Olympic Alpine Team winning 8th in Slalom and 11th in the Downhill. He moved to Sun Valley to work and after a successful career in racing retired in 1940 and married Margaret Jennings from Berkley. He filmed his first ski films "Sun Valley Ski Chase" and "Sun Valley Holiday". Dick helped train the Army Parachutists during WWII then moved to Denver to work for Groswold Skis and made ski films. In 1947 Dick and Miggs moved their family to Aspen to be the general manager for the Aspen Ski Company. He filmed three more films "Snow Carnival", "Aspen in Winter" and "Ski Colorado". Dick helped supervise the FIS World Championships in Aspen in 1950 and shot the footage for an offical 1950 FIS film. In 1967 he moved to New York to film adventure films for Lowell Thomas, then in 1980 moved his film production company to Snowmass-in-Aspen. Dick died in June, 2004. He is survived by two sons Dick Durrance, Jr and Dave Durrance both live in the Roaring Fork Valley.


1 Items ; 50 minutes

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

Playback cassette tape: Sony HF 60

Computer Hardware: 3 (total) Intel Celeron 1.8GHz/224 MB RAM PC's (made by PowerSpec), each with a Firewall hard drive (2 made by MicroNet, 1 made by LaCie) and M-Audio Delta Audiophile (internal sound card); External Firewire Hard Drive; Analog Playback Equipment: Nakamichi Dragon, Nakamichi Cassette Deck 1; Analog/Digital Converter: Prism Dream ADA-8XR; Prism Sound Dream AD-2

Operating System: Windows XP; Capture and editing software: Steinberg Wavelab 4.0; Formatting software: Sony Soundforge; Other Devices: Switcher to allow monitoring of multiple transfers.

Basic Map: Nakamichi Dragon -> Analog RCA or XLR -> AD converter -> AES (XLR) -> M-Audio Card -> Software -> External Firewire Drive


Title supplied by the Archivist: Anna L. Scott. Interview conducted on July 8, 1994 in Aspen, Co. Accompanied by digital transcript.

Names discussed: Nancy, Kathy, Friedl Pfeifer, Alice Chair, Funk, Hannes Schneider, Lanie Riesenstahl, Elisa Fisher, Red Rowland, Fred Iselin, Harriman Brothers, Felix Shoscotch, Stein Eriksen, James Laughlin, Jim Laughlin, Walter Paepcke, Pussy (Elizabeth) Paepcke, Paul Nitze, Darcy (DRC) Brown, Jr., Larry Jump, Thorne Rosenwall, Jarvis Shoffler, Sandy Shoffler, Max Durkham.

Place Names: California, Yosemite, Sierras, Sun Valley, Europe, Boston, Senando, Aspen, Aspen Mountain, Alta, Vail, Mitizel, Franconia, Salzberg, Switzerland, Austria, New Zealand, Australia, Salt Lake City, Little cottonwood Canyon, ruthies Run, Dipsy doodle, Denver, A-Basin, Loveland Pass, Pennsylvania, Keystone, Arapahoe.

Business', Organizations, Schools: Dartmouth, Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Bennington, American Steel and Wire, Harriman Brothers, Aspen Company, Music Festival (MAA), Goethe Bicentennial, Coors Company, Forest Service (USFS), The Ram, Salt Lake City Winter Sports Association.

Races Mentioned: State Championships, Culpworthy championships, 1936 Olympics, 1941 National Downhill and Slalom, 1950 FIS World Championships.

Movies discussed: "Spring Ski Chase", "Sun Valley Holidays", "Ski Time in Aspen", "Aspen in Winter".

Margaret Durrance, also known as Miggs, was born Margaret Jennings on February 28, 1917. A ski racer from California, she had won the Harriman Cup and was involved in the race circuit in the late 1930's. She met Dick Durrance when she was an alternate for the 1940 Olympic Ski Team and had gone to Sun Valley for ski trials. The Olympics were canceled for WWII, but Dick and Miggs were married in June, 1940. Dick became more interested in filming than racing and taught Miggs to shoot pictures while he skied or filmed. They moved to Alta, then Denver and eventually making it to Aspen in 1947 where she captured many images from the late 1940's through the 1980's. In 1951, they traveled the world and Miggs' photographs were published in life, Look, Time, and Sports Illustrated. Miggs passed away November 11, 2002. She has two sons, Dick Durrance, Jr. and Dave Durrance, who both currently live in the Roaring Fork Valley.

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and Archives Repository

2150 East Evans Avenue
Denver CO 80208
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