At age 13 in 1947, Bud Valian put on his first skis in British Columbia. They were wooden with toe pieces crafted from coat hangers. Around each heel was a six-foot leather strap that he secured with a buckle. “They were no heavier than the skis of today,” the 79-year-old renowned ski tuner quickly notes. “They were great for their time.”
Valian went on to become an accomplished racer. In 1954, while visiting Timberline, then ski school director, Gustav Webber, asked him to come teach. He has lived in Government Camp ever since—teaching, tuning skis and selling equipment.
In his early days, Valian would put snowshoes on in the early morning, hike to the top of The Mile Lift (now Silcox Hut), shovel it out, open the doors so the chairs could pass through, ski down to the lodge and hope to get some breakfast in before lessons began.
Valian opened The Mogul Mouse Ski Shop in 1968 in Government Camp. After selling it in 1982, he opened Valian’s Ski Shop with his wife, Betsy. There, he still spends much of his days tuning—a process, he says, hinges on choosing the right ski.
In addition to serving skiers from around the country, Valian has taken his expertise worldwide, including a trip to the South American Cup in La Parva, Chile this past summer.
After all these years, Valian’s loyalty to snowwhite mountains and the skiers who sail down them remains strikingly clear. “Skiing is a way of life,” he says, “and I am glad that I have made it my life.”
You can find Valian’s Ski Shop in Government Camp or at valiansskishop.com