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Spider Sabich
Original name: Vladimir Peter Sabich
Birth: Jan. 10, 1945
Sacramento County
California, USA
Death: Mar. 21, 1976
Pitkin County
Colorado, USA

American Alpine Ski Racer. He helped popularize skiing in the US in the late 1960s and early 1970s and is remembered for his participation as a member of the US Ski Team on the World Cup circuit, and for his controversial death involving his live-in girlfriend, singer-actress Claudine Longet, who was the former wife of entertainer Andy Williams. Born in Sacramento, California the second of three children, his father was an officer of the California Highway Patrol who had served in World War II as a B-25 Mitchell pilot, and who was held as a prisoner-of-war by the Soviets in Siberia after his aircraft was forced down in Soviet territory. He was given his nickname "Spider" by his father, as a result of his thin arms and legs at a pre-mature birth. He and his younger brother Steve learned to ski at the Edelweiss ski area (Now called Camp Sacramento) near their California home and were taught European-style ski racing by Lutz Aynedter, a downhill champion from the 1940s who emigrated from Germany to California after the war. They became junior stars among the fearless young racers of Edelweiss, who became known as the "Highway 50 Boys," and soon established themselves as top junior ski racers in northern California in the early 1960s and were offered skiing scholarships to the University of Colorado at Boulder, Colorado, the dominant collegiate program of the era. He skied on the World Cup circuit for its first four seasons (it began in 1966), and finished fifth in the slalom in the thick fog at the 1968 Winter Olympics at age 22. His sole World Cup victory came two months later in April, a slalom at Heavenly Valley at South Lake Tahoe, located on the California-Nevada border. He finished 8th in the slalom standings for the 1968 season and was the U.S. downhill champion. In 1969 he reached the World Cup podium (top three) three more times in the slalom, finishing 7th in the 1969 season standings for the slalom and 11th overall, but fell out of the top ten in the slalom the following year. Prior to going professional, he had 18 top ten finishes in Olympic and World Cup competition: two in downhill, three in giant slalom, and 13 in slalom. After the 1970 season, he turned professional, following his friend Billy Kidd, and won the pro championship in 1971 and 1972. His winnings, along with his endorsements, allowed him to his base of operation from Boulder to Aspen, Colorado. He earned his aviation pilot's license and owned a twin-engine Piper Aztec that he flew to his pro skiing events in North America. While chasing French skier Jean-Claude Killy for the 1973 pro title, he incurred a back injury on the final weekend of the season at Aspen Highlands. He was hospitalized as a result of his injury and Killy won the season title in his only season on the pro tour. For the next three seasons, injuries continued to plague his success. His last victory on the pro circuit was at Mount Snow, Vermont, in January 1974. A few months later he hurt his knee in Sun Valley, Idaho, and underwent surgery that August. He was featured on the cover of "GQ" magazine in November as "pro skiing's richest racer, but sat out the 1975 season. In 1976 he returned to the circuit but qualified for only two races with just a mere $800 in earnings. On Sunday afternoon, March 21, 1976, he had returned from a day of skiing in Aspen and was preparing to shower. He was shot in the bathroom of his Starwood home in Aspen by his live-in girlfriend, Claudine Longet. The two had met at a pro-celebrity event four years earlier in Bear Valley, California, and had quickly become an item. She claimed the gun discharged accidentally, when he was showing her how it worked. He was hit in the abdomen and lost a significant amount of blood before an ambulance arrived and died on the way to Aspen Valley Hospital with Longet at his side. She was arrested and charged with the shooting and was later convicted of only misdemeanor criminal negligent homicide and sentenced to pay a small fine and serve 30 days in jail, working off most of the sentence on weekends. After the criminal trial, the Sabich family sued Longet in civil court, which was eventually resolved out of court, with the stipulation that she never tell or write about her story. (bio by: William Bjornstad) 
Family links: 
  Vladimir Peter Sabich (1915 - 2001)
  Frances E. Ravenscroft Sabich (1911 - 2003)
  Mary Frances Sabich (1942 - 1988)*
  Spider Sabich (1945 - 1976)
*Calculated relationship
Westwood Hills Memorial Park
El Dorado County
California, USA
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Originally Created by: K
Record added: Mar 20, 2006
Find A Grave Memorial# 13681642
Spider Sabich
Added by: John "J-Cat" Griffith
Spider Sabich
Added by: the Chronicler
Spider Sabich
Added by: Roberta
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