For over 40 years, Jack Van Scoter was the owner and operator of the Cockaigne Ski Area.
In that time, Scoter served on the Ski Area of New York (SANY) Board of Directors as well as the National Ski Areas Association Board of Directors.
He is known as a pioneer within the ski industry and was recently recognized as the recipient of the SANY Hall of Fame Award.
"I think it meant a lot to him," John Van Scoter II said of his father. "He put his whole life into Cockaigne and skiing."
Van Scoter was presented with the award at the 2012 Ski Areas of New York annual EXPO held at the Hope Lake Lodge/Greek Peak Ski Area. The event was attended by over 375 ski industry professionals.
Though Van Scoter was a businessman who took great pride in Cockaigne's status as a contributing small business in Chautauqua Country, his biggest accomplishment was probably his learn to ski programs.
"They were first of all an outreach to local schools," Van Scoter II explained. "He had very active programs with virtually every school in the area, notably Dunkirk and Fredonia.
"It was an eight-week program," he continued. "There would be a weekly bus trip for the kids who signed up. It would enhance the skills for the kids and was just a great time."
Van Scoter and Cockaigne were also heavily involved in the STAR national racing program. The program allowed skiers to race against nationally ranked times and see where they stack up against the best in the country.
Van Scoter II was both a competitor in the racing program and a participant in his father's learn to ski program through Fredonia High School.
"The bus trips were always very memorable," Van Scoter II said with a laugh. "You were with friends and got to stay out later than you probably should have on a school night. It was a lot of fun."
Of course, Van Scoter's famous beginner ski courses were not just limited to school-age students. Cockaigne always had a ski school and a set of instructors for anyone who wanted a lesson.
The elder Van Scoter also enjoyed using Cockaigne to teach not just about skiing, but teach the values of hard work and ethics.
"He's a big believer in developing people," Van Scoter II said of his father. "He liked to bring a lot of people new to the workforce into Cockaigne. He introduced them to the workforce and taught them how to work."
If ever there was a man worthy of SANY Hall of Fame honors, it's Van Scoter. Generations of skiers are in love with the sport because of his efforts.
Were you involved in a learn to ski program at Cockaigne? Do you have any stories about the program or Van Scoter that you'd like to share? Please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.