in memoriam: Virginia Huidekoper

By Jim Stanford on October 28, 2010

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Virginia atop Rendezvous Mountain in April 2009. She came out for closing day with her oxygen tank to check out the new Aerial Tram.

I’d be remiss in not joining the chorus of tributes to the late Virginia Huidekoper, an icon of Jackson Hole who passed away Sunday in her cabin above Wilson at 88 years old.

Angus Thuermer of the News&Guide has penned a couple of fitting obituaries (here and here). Columnist Todd Wilkinson also wrote a remembrance, in which he accurately declares, “What Huidekoper didn’t countenance well was B.S.”

Virginia was a pioneer of skiing on Teton Pass. Her exploits were chronicled in the excellent ski film Legends of the Fall Line. She co-founded the Jackson Hole News with Ralph Gill in 1970 and took the famous photo of Bill Briggs’ ski tracks after his first descent of the Grand Teton.

Virginia as a teenager in Alta, Utah. Jackson Hole Historical Society photo.

She also was a rancher, equestrian, pilot and all-around hell-raiser. In politics, she was a brave and defiant leader of the opposition, running twice for Wyoming Senate as a Democrat. Years ago, she famously remarked, “All the Democrats in Teton County could meet in a phone booth.” I’m glad she lived to see the tidal wave of Obama supporters flood the convention in 2008.

For the Jackson Peace Rally in 2007, Virginia was invited to pull down the faux statue of Dick Cheney with a lasso and her horse. She was unable to participate, but appreciated the idea. Her spirit of political engagement lives on, especially in her granddaughter Claire Fuller.

Nobody could say she didn’t squeeze enough life out of her years. Thanks, Virginia, for showing us the way.

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Posted under Deaths, Democratic Party, Politics

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