A lot of the reason people love Beaver Mountain ski resort above Logan is that it reflects the laid-back character of longtime co-owner Ted Seeholzer.
So as word spread Friday of Seeholzer's death the day before at age 81, associates mourned the passing of a man known for his sense of humor and good will as much as his role as an important cog in northern Utah's business community, providing a recreational service enjoyed by multiple generations.
"Ted and [his wife] Marge are cornerstone figures in our community. To lose one of them is heart-wrenching," said Sandy Emile, president and CEO of the Cache Chamber of Commerce.
"I'm so sad. He was a great guy and just hilarious," added Julie Hollist, director of the Cache Valley Visitors Bureau, whose board members included Seeholzer, who passed away at Logan Regional Hospital after receiving treatment for several weeks. "He knew practically everyone by name and he wasn't afraid to give anyone a bad time. He always had a funny crack. I'm really going to miss his wit."
Beaver Mountain has been part of Seeholzer's life since he was a boy and his dad, Harold, hooked up a cable to a drive train from a 1936 Buick and opened a lift in the upper regions of Logan Canyon.
The Seeholzers have run the "mom-and-pop" operation ever since, with Ted taking the controls from his dad and handing them off in recent years to his son, Trevor. All the while, Ted and Marge were constants on the scene, selling day passes, checking on food supplies in the A-frame lodge, monitoring the flow of skiers and snowboarders on the resort's five lifts.
"Beaver Mountain was the last bastion of the good-old family-run ski area… just a breath of fresh air, a true throwback," said Nathan Rafferty, president of Ski Utah, marketing arm of the state's 14 active resorts.
"What I really appreciated about Ted is that he would never turn anyone away," Rafferty added. "If somebody didn't have enough money, if they forgot their wallets or their boots, he would find a way to get them up on the hill. He did it the way skiing was meant to be."
Leigh von der Esch, the Utah Office of Tourism's former managing director, first visited Beaver Mountain on youth ski trips from her home in Brigham City. Her dad and Seeholzer worked together at Thiokol, evidence of Seeholzer's jack-of-all-trades nature.
"He was the quintessential family man in making skiing a family experience. I have many, many wonderful memories of having a good day on the slope and, right at the bottom of the first chair lift, having bowls of chili and cups of hot chocolate," she said. "Ted will be missed. He shed light on everything from Cache Valley to Bear Lake."
Emile from the Cache Chamber agreed.
"Young people who are now old people met and fell in love with their spouses at Beaver Mountain. It's not just a business here. It's part of the essence of what Cache Valley is," she said. "He loved to offer all of Beaver Mountain's resources to the community. He was always having youth groups up there, and he'd be out there chatting with people. We all loved Ted."
He was born Jan. 29, 1932 in Logan to Harold and Luella Broby Seeholzer. A graduate of Logan High School and Utah State University, Seeholzer was a ski racer in Japan while in the U.S. Army. He married Bonnie Tueller, who passed away after they had three children. He then married Marge Plowman in 1964 in the Logan Temple. He is survived by his widow; five children: Jill (Tom Pitcher), Kim (Carolyn) Seeholzer, Annette (Jeff West), Travis (Kristy) Seeholzer and Corey Seeholzer; 12 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.
Services will be at noon on Wednesday at the 11th Ward LDS Chapel, 200 S. 100 East, in Smithfield. The viewing will be Tuesday from 6-9 p.m. at Allen Hall Mortuary, 34 E. Center, in Logan.