Cascade Ski Club & Lodge
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Mission Statement

Dedication to upholding a tradition of supporting affordable and accessible year-round mountain experiences centered around our lodge in the spirit of fun and friendship for families, youths, and all mountain enthusiasts.

Bill Johnson


Bill Johnson

Our Fastest Friend

Letter from Hal Burbank

Greetings dear friends at Cascade. I am Hal Burbank, a 1970s-vintage club member and racer, to whom your inspirational and perhaps unequaled community spirit, grace, warmth, love and support was shown by so many of you when, as a mere boy of 18 years, I trekked for the first time from my home Maine mountains to yours, not knowing what fate I would meet. Needless to say, I have never forgotten your kindness, and at age 44, I cherish my memories of you.

I write today to ask your support for one of Oregon's famous skiing sons, Billy Johnson. When I was with you, I met and worked at Mt. Hood Meadows with Billy when he was just 16. Like so many on the Mountain then, I saw Billy's racing promise and hoped he would "succeed". Of course, that turned out to be an understatedthought. He amazed us by becoming the first American to win the Olympicdownhill and the only American ever to win 4 World Cup downhills.

I assume many of you followed Billy's more recent attempts make the 2002 US Team, and race in the 2002 Salt Lake Games. Bill's near fatal crash at Big Mountain, MT shocked me and the world. Even more disturbing to me was learning, via crash publicity, of other tragedies in Billy's post-Olympics life - his loss of a son, his restlessness and his near zero financial net worth. As someone who knew Billy not as an Olympic champion, but as a young man, much like many other teenagers I met on the Mountain in the 1970s, I was moved by his plight. Billy is part of my Mt. Hood experience and I cannot turn away from him. Though I did not know her, I emailed Bill's Mom, DB Johnson, after the accident, and offered free legal and any other services I might give Bill and his family, especially his two young sons (I am a lawyer today). Currently I represent Bill before the US social security administration in hopes of gaining him disability and related federal benefits. No judgment will be forthcoming for many months yet.

My longtime Cascade sidekick, current MHRT coach Phil Bride, intends to contact you about donating to Bill's Gresham, OR rehab fund, and I write today to make the same request. See more on the donation fund at Billy's website, currently maintained by DB and family at www.billjohnson1984gold.com. Billy just went to a Bakersfield, CA brain trauma rehab for months of testing and work. His funds are low and his family cannot support him indefinitely. One of my brain trauma experts here, Dr. John Stanwood (also from OR, ironically) says it costs not less than $500,000 to rehab these injuries. Much will be covered by current insurance, but significant costs will not be covered. I hope Cascade will consider contacting DB at ProSportNW@aol.com, or 503-666-2528, or me, at 860-693-2687 (home) or 203-579-6877 (work, Office of CT Attorney General) to discuss Bill's needs and a possible donation.

I would also appreciate your passing this message on to Duane Bridge. I hope Duane recalls me from 1975, when he so generously arranged for me to live in the clubhouse for awhile. Phil Bride hopes to be in touch with Duane soon as well.

In any event, I am glad to see from its website that Cascade is thriving. It is part of life that great tragedy often inspires great good. For me, in this case, that includes the opportunity to reconnect with Cascade. I sincerely hope that Cascade continues to prosper, and I would very much look forward to working with anyone there who wants to help Billy and his family. Some of Bill's old US Team teammates and coaches, including Andy Luhn and Erik Steinberg, and I are attempting to start a foundation to help Bill and other injured skiers, but that will take much time. Bill's family could use everyone's help sooner rather than later as the bills mount up. Frankly, the US Team and USOC have not come forward at all, to date, and we amateurs are on our own, as is Billy.

Thank you for your attention. I hope to hear from you soon.

Very truly yours,

Harold H. Burbank, II, Esq. 
84 N. Mountain Rd. 
Canton, CT 06019


22 Jul 2018 13:12