One of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort’s co-founders, Alex Morley passed away at his home in Bend, OR last weekend. He was 96 years old. JHMR has been fortunate to have stayed in touch with Alex and his family over the years, and he has been involved with the resort well after he sold his share of the company. He visited Jackson in 2008 for the opening of the new Aerial Tram, and stayed connected this fall with the excitement around the 50th Anniversary.
Alex was born in Cheyenne to Scottish immigrant parents; he earned a degree in civil engineering from Colorado A&M University before becoming an Air Force paratrooper pilot. After the war, Morley married, and settled back in Cheyenne, and started a construction business, but in his heart, (in his own words), “wanted to be a ski bum.”
Following that ski bum dream, in 1961 Morley moved his family to Jackson Hole. He bought land and built a house on Antelope Flats, near the Moose entrance to Grand Teton National Park. Paul McCollister, a recently retired advertising executive, lived about one mile from Morley. The two men then started exploring the Tetons in hopes of finding a location to development a ski area. Alex said, from his home, “I looked across the valley and thought, ‘some of those mountains are better than Snow King by 10 times!’”. “I first thought about putting the ski resort on Buck,” Morley added, “but we realized pretty quickly that was a bad idea. It was too tough, and it was inside the park.”
The men turned their attention to Rendezvous Mountain, just outside the park’s southern boundary.
And then for three winters, the men packed out a test slope on Après Vous Mountain.
When you look back at the vision that Paul and Alex had, it was bold, really bold — to take a mountain like this in the middle of nowhere and develop it as a major resort,” said JHMR president Jerry Blann. “No one today would do that. No one today could do that.” JHMR opened in 1965. “Building [Jackson Hole], I had the greatest time. I loved every minute of it,” Morley said.
Quotes sourced from Jackson Hole News and Guide article – published Tuesday, Nov 3rd, 2015.