Rodney Goddard Aller
October 24, 1916 - March 21, 2005
Aller, 85, Boasts Four Gold Medals in
World Championship Masters Skiing
by Cynthia Hochswender
Lakeville Journal (Ct.)
March 7, 2002
President of the International Ski Federation, Harold Herbert, presents Rod with the Combined Tile Award - Abetone, Italy
Rod (86 yrs. old) takes four gold medals (Class XIII) at The FIS World Master Criterium
Salisbury, CT. -- He's 85 years old but Rod Aller's knees are still holding up, well enough, in fact to keep him schussing and twisting at high speed down slalom ski courses. So well, in fact, that he won four gold medals at an international ski event in March in Abetone, Italy, beating champions from around the world.
The 14th World Masters Criterium was held in the Italian Apennines and was attended by 538 racers from 16 countries, with the heaviest attendance from Italy and Austria. And though many of those Italian racers had been down the Abertone courses before and were familiar with the texture of the local snow, Mr. Aller was the overall champ in his division at the races, winning all four of the events offered.
There were only about nine other racers in his over-80 division, he said. But being one of the last remaining competitive skiers in one's age group is something of a prize in and of itself.
Others on the American team were Duffy Dodge, Dewey Davidson and Anne Nordhoy. Together, they collected nine gold, two silver and one bronze medal.
Mr. Aller, an attorney in Lakeville was quite casual about his triumph in Europe, which is not surprising when one sees the sizeable cache of beribboned metal discs, crystal statuettes and engraved trophies on various hooks and surfaces in his office.
He keeps them at work now, he sighs, because his wife, Anne, insisted he get them out of the house. There are so darn many of them, they were taking up too much room.
Mr. Aller also dominated the American Masters races in his division in New England this winter, a task he waves off easily.
"I only went to six of the races in his division in January, and I won them all," he said. "But I was tied for the overall winner in my class with Adelbert "Del" Ames, because he went to more races than I did."
While it may sound like he's an awfully confident fellow, in fact Mr. Aller is quite charming and humble about his accomplishments. It helps that when he describes his life on the slopes he does it in a captivating silky baritone with a Southwestern-sounding draw. He spent his childhood in Arizona but his mother, Catherine Goddard Aller, was a Salisbury native and she brought her family back to the Northwest Corner in 1934.
Mr. Aller attended The Hotchkiss School and then headed off to Princeton, where he helped found the college's first ski team. Competing in intercollegiate events, they couldn't beat the powerhouse Dartmouth team but they managed to defeat the teams from Yale, Cornell and Brown.
After college, Yale law school and World War II, Mr. Aller settled once and for all in Lakeville setting up his legal practice and also becoming president of the Salisbury Winter Sports Association.
"There were no jumps at that time because the tower had fallen into decay and collapsed during the war," he recalled. "We put the tower together and started the jumps again in about 1948."
As most Salisbury resident know, ski jumping has changed radically over the years. The senior skiers still keep their feet parallel as they lift off the slopes, while younger competitors create a distinctive v-shape with their legs. And while downhill skiing techniques haven't changed much since Mr. Aller's youth, the equipment has changed quite a bit. Skis are shorter now and have a different shape, for example.
"When I first started, skis didn't even have edges [to allow skiers to dig into the slopes for better control]," he recalled.
And boots weren't cinched onto the skis back then, leaving heels free. Anyone who has tried to make it downhill in a pair of cross-country skis, or has tried the new telemark skis, can imagine how challenging it must have been to ski back then.
It was those championship Dartmouth skiers who introduced many Americans (especially the fledgling Princeton skiers) to advances in gear.
"The boys at Dartmouth got edges and bindings first and the next year we got them," Mr. Aller recalled. "We could see the advantages of the new equipment. They keep improving boots, bindings, skis. They're all better now than they were five or 10 years ago."
There certainly are things in the world that get better with age. Ski equipment, for instance. And athletes like Mr. Aller, who look to men like local legend Ole Hegge and cross-country champion "Jack Rabbit" Johannsen who kept going until he was 112 years old.
"Men like that make you feel like you don't have to quit at 85," he said.
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Application for the nomination of Rod Aller to the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall Of Fame
2003 - "In men's Class 13, Rod Aller proved unstoppable, winning the Super G, then the Slalom and GS as well....the only man in Group D to sweep every event at this year's nationals."
Letter from John Gianotti - Rod at Mad River Glen (VT) with the New York Amateur Ski Club
1998 U.S. Masters National
Mammoth, CA - Age 82
Rod selected for the 1997 U.S.
Alpine Masters Team at age 81
For the Fifth Time in Nine Years
Rod Aller swept the gold medals in his Class 6 age group in 1968 at Waterville Valley and took gold at the Championship SG at Sunday River.
Stowe Masters Celebrate Rod's
October 24, 1996
(His Achilles had been torn that season from a skiing accident!)
Rod writes to his Yale Law School classmates on October 19, 1996:
Hotchkiss Prep School '34
Alumni Class Notes - September 1996
1994 - Big Sky, Montana
Fraser Noble, Rod Aller and Eric Windisch
The "Clark Kent" of Alpine Ski
Racing - Age 77
"...a quiet lawyer in his work-a-day life, he flies down mountains on weekends."
1993 - Rod: " What do you like most about Masters racing?" - "What do you like least?" - "What's really on your mind, Rod?" - "To what do you attribute your success?" - Best Results so Far?
1992 U.S. Alpine Masters Champion
Rod Aller: 1991 - 1992 FIS International Masters Cup Champion in Class 75 - 79 with 175 points.
Rod takes gold in the GS (Kossen, AUT); the GS (Murren SUI); two Super Giant races and the SL at the Criterium Mondial (Gstaad/Saanen SUI)
Gold in two GS races (Alpine Meadows, CA); First place in both SL races (Heavenly Valley, CA)
1992 - "Undefeated in nine races..."
1991 World Champion
Winter Park, Colorado
with full text)
Volkl Giant Slalom
March 22, 1990
Rod "Clark Gable" Aller takes Gold in the Class 10 Giant Slalom
The Stowe Reporter
Rod Aller Bio 1990 Part 1 Part 2
70+ Club - 12th
Annual Club Meeting - 1989
Rod selected for 1988 U.S. Alpine Masters Team at age 72
1988 - Rod sweeps all three events in Class X at The U.S. Masters National Championships at Big Sky, Montana.
Sise Cup Champion -1988 - 1988 USSA Alpine Master's Championships - Rod's Race Record up to 1988 as he "recalled" it.
1987 World Champion at age 71
Rod Aller Profile - 1987
"Since 1968, he has won a total of 20 national masters championships."
Dave McCoy, founder and owner of Mammoth, Congratulates Rod on his National Championship
March 28, 1987 - Results
"Bad Kleinkirchheim, Austria.... R. Aller 1st"
"...team standout, gathering nine golds in nine races"
Princeton University News - Class of 1938: "Rod Aller has done it again......"
Sports Illustrated Faces In The
April 14-20, 1986
Letter from Sports Illustrated Policy for selecting Faces in the Crowd
Rod racing at Jackson Hole, Wyoming -1986
Class VIII (Age 65-69) U.S. Alpine Masters Skier of the Year - 1986
Comet Racing Camp - 1986
Ski Racing / REDBOOK
Rod Aller in Class VIII is honored at season's end for dominating his age group.
"The radar gun on the downhills caught skiers in the high 70's...)"
1985 - Aller named the Alpine Masters Skier of the Year (Class 9)
Rod Aller Racing Highlights 1934 - 1986
1985 - Rod is Sise Cup winner of the Eastern Championship, the National Age-Group Champion and takes four gold medal in FIS competition.
1984 Alpine Champion - Results published March
in the Princeton University Alumni Magazine
Rod Aller - class of '38
Class V (Age 50-54) U.S. National Champion
1981 - President Ford invites Rod to join The Jerry Ford Celebrity Cup
Pepi Stiegler, Rod Aller, Rod Slifer, Al Greenberg, Paul McCallister, Jack Marshal
The Handicaps: Jean-Claud Killy and Pepi Stiegler (0), Stein Eriksen (.5), Rod (3), Gerry Ford (8).
1980 - Class VI
National Senior Ski Championships
Olympic course at Whiteface Mountain
Lake Placid, NY
Reported: March 27, 1980
Rod Aller took first in the downhill, first in the slalom and third in the giant slalom, winning the combined trophy.
March 1, 1969
Rod wins the Dabney Trophy and top honors in the over 50 age group at the annual Hochgebirge GS at Franconia, New Hampshir, for the third year in a row.
1969 - Class V gold in both SL and GS at Mad River Glen, Waitsfield,Vt.
March 15 - 17, 1968 - Waterville Valley, New Hampshire
Rod Aller wins the National Veterans Alpine Championship with gold in DH, SL, and GS.
March 4, 1967 - Caannon Mountain, N.H.
Hochgebirge Team Race
"Who is this guy? He can't be 50!"
1967 Amateur Ski Club of New York, Mad River Glen, Waitsfield, Vt.
April 16, 1963
Rod wins gold in the Vetern's Class at the 7th Annual New England Kandahar
writes to congratulate Rod for The Sixty Meter Jump Competition
sponsored by the Salisbury Connecticut Winter Sports Association
In 1948, Rod (age 32) on the Salisbury, Ct., 60-meter jump
Captain of the Princeton University Ski Team 1935 - 1938
Feburary 20, 1938
Rod Aller - Racing History - Summary - Anecdotes
Footnote: The year Rod Aller died from lung-related complications in 2005 at age 89, he had planned out a full race schedule.
Rod Aller Memorial ~ World Alpine Champion ~ Rod's favorite poems by Catherine Aller ~ The Aviator ~ RGA Family ~ River Rat ~ Naval Officer ~ The Iceman ~ Dad's Advice ~ The Lawyer ~ Gallery I ~ Gallery II ~ Guest Book ~ Sign the Guest Book ~ Send Photos ~ Weddings ~ Mad River ~ Termas de Chillan ~ The Goddards ~ Mountains