February 23, 2010
Somewhere, Paul Robbins is looking down watching the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, and he is smiling. He would have loved the scenic backdrop of British Columbia, he would have loved the atmosphere that surrounds these games, and he would have loved all the ski action that is unfolding on the slopes. Robbins was a ski and travel journalist who served as the U.S. Ski Team’s primary writer for about two decades. He worked eight Olympics in various roles and was one of the most knowledgeable people I knew when it came to skiing. I met him back in the early 1990s when he came to Steamboat Springs to cover a Nordic combined World Cup, and he left an impression on me that still lasts today. In the years that followed our meeting, Robbins was a guy I learned to count on, I learned to trust and I learned to look for at events like this. If it happened in skiing, Robbins knew about it. If you needed to know some obscure historical fact, he would find it, and if skiing had a greatest supporter, he was it. His work appeared in Skiing, SKI, and Ski Racing. His words filled the pages of newspapers across the country, and you could call him just about any time of the day and he would help you with whatever question you might have. He was a commentator on Nordic sports for CBS and NBC, and no one would have enjoyed watching Johnny Spillane race to Olympic silver more than Robbins. Sadly, he died unexpectedly in 2008 at his home in Vermont at the age of 68. He will be missed.