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A Legacy in Skiing and Leadership: Otto Tschudi Endows Alpine Head Coach Position

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Sarah Satterwhite

Senior Editor, Strategic Content and Storytelling

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On a mountainside, Otto stands with ski poles and a racing suit.

DU Special Collections

“Don’t give up on the first turn. Be persistent. Keep charging.”  

Insight from Otto Tschudi (BSBA ’75) – for skiing and for DU students in their career pursuits – reflects a determination that runs through his own life. Tschudi has achieved noteworthy success in ski competition and in business for decades, and his recent gift to University of Denver to endow the Otto Tschudi Head Alpine Ski Coach will empower DU student-athletes to attain their own success for decades to come. 

Born in Norway and recruited to DU by legendary ski coach Willy Schaeffler, Tschudi is a notable Olympian and a legend of the DU ski team. He skied for the Norway national team from 1964 to 1972, competing in two Winter Olympics and earning four top-10 finishes in World Cup slalom. At the same time, he dominated NCAA competition for the University of Denver, winning 5 NCAA Titles, the NCAA downhill championships in 1970, 1971, and 1972, plus the slalom and combined championships in 1971. Tschudi turned pro in 1972, skiing for Winter Park Pro Racing Team, then he worked as a tv ski commentator and as the director of skiing at Winter Park and Sun Valley Idaho. In the years since, he has led institutional international equity sales at Stifel, based both in London and San Francisco. 

Tschudi’s decades-long involvement with DU, including service on the Board of Trustees since 1992, helped reignite the University’s prominence as a ski-racing team. More than a decade ago, he envisioned DU creating a dynamic athletic and outdoor experience for all students, a vision that has since become reality in the James C. Kennedy Mountain Campus. Tschudi’s most recent gift will provide critical funding to support the most pressing needs of the alpine ski program. 

“This gift by Otto Tschudi to endow the head alpine ski coach position is both transformational for our student-athletes and a fitting legacy,” says Josh Berlo, vice chancellor for athletics and Ritchie Center operations. “It will elevate the support for our alpine ski program and help ensure sustained excellence. Otto has long been a champion of skiing at DU, first as a student-athlete and most recently as a friend, mentor and advocate. Having his name on this coaching position is an honor for Athletics and an extension of his legacy at DU. We are tremendously grateful for this remarkable gift from one of the greatest and fastest Pioneers to ever race for DU!” 

Athletic competition and the 4D Experience give DU student-athletes an edge in preparing for the future, says Tschudi. The focus, determination and endurance that they build in athletic competition translate to any career. And the education that students receive at DU gives them the foundation to create success in their chosen fields. 

“DU’s 4D Experience, which helps students grow their character, career aspirations, intellect, and wellbeing, provides an ideal opportunity for students to gain exposure to many career avenues,” he says. “I always encourage students to have internships in multiple fields to broaden their experience.” 

“Otto’s visionary gift creates an unmistakable legacy here at DU,” says Val Otten, senior vice chancellor for Advancement. “By investing in our championship programs and opportunities for our student-athletes, he strengthens one of the key priorities of The Denver Difference campaign. Otto’s name has long symbolized excellence in skiing here at DU, and we are thrilled that this gift will provide a sustained level of annual support for the ski team.” 

To read more about Tschudi and the history of skiing at DU, check out DU Skiing Retrospective