THREDBO Historical Society announced the inaugural Faces of Thredbo at their annual mid-winter dinner at The Denman in Thredbo on July 23.
In this inaugural induction, five people were awarded the honour for their contributions to Thredbo with Frank Prihoda, Sasha Nekvapil, Barry May, Michael Milton and Leonard Erharter the first inductees. In future years more faces will be awarded.
Frank Prihoda escaped from communist Czechoslovakia in 1949 and eventually represented Australia in the Giant Slalom and Slalom events at the 1956 Winter Olympics in Cortina, Italy. In 1974 he moved to Thredbo where he started a gift shop and has lived there ever since.
Sasha Nekvapil (Frank's older sister) represented Czechoslovakia in the 1948 Winter Olympics in St Moritz before defecting in 1949 and eventually arriving in Melbourne with husband Karel in 1950.
Karel and Sasha built a ski lodge in Thredbo in 1959, Sasha's Lodge, and twelve years later built Sasha's Apartments. Sasha also has a run named after her high on Thredbo, Sasha's Run. Sadly she passed away on June 10th this year at the age of 94.
Barrie May has been involved with Thredbo since 1964 where he joined the Thredbo Ski Patrol Association (TSPA). Barry has received two major awards for his dedication as a ski patroller including this season where Barry achieved 50 years of patrolling and was awarded 'The 50th Year of Service Medal'. Barry will be only the 2nd recipient of this prestigious medal in Australia.
Michael Milton is one of Australia's greatest athletes and has won numerous awards for his achievements in skiing. He has won six gold medals, three silver medals and two bronze medals as a Paralympic skier. He also holds the fastest Australian downhill speed skiing record with his personal best downhill speed of 213 km/h (132 mph) and has never let the fact he lost a leg to bone cancer at nine years of age deter him.
Leonhard Erharter directed Thredbo's Ski School from 1958 to 1977. Much of Thredbo's early and long-term success has been credited to Leonhard Erharter, whose experience and advice was highly valued. By 1970 there were fifteen instructors in Thredbo Ski School under his directorship. Leonhard passed away in Austria in 2007.