William “Senior” Mahoney began skiing in Telluride, Colorado, as a boy in the ‘30s, long before ski lifts were strung over the mountains and a destination resort drew tourists by the hundreds of thousands. He skied down snow-covered streets on rough-hewn planks, took laps on the car-engine-fired rope tow in town park, and later ventured into the mountains to make turns in alpine basins of the San Juans. He was also a miner who worked underground for 25 years for Idarado Mining Company. And so he was uniquely suited to recognize that for a mining town on the verge of bust, skiing was the future. Senior went on to play a pivotal role in the town’s transition, steering Telluride as it shifted from the extraction that was foundering to the tourism industry that would flourish.
“Senior: 82 Winters in Telluride,” a new short film by Ben Knight and Travis Rummel of Felt Soul Media, paints an intimate portrait of Senior, chronicling 82 winters and a life well-lived in the mountains. — Katie Klingsporn
images courtesy of the telluride historical museum