John Frado, who passed away in June of 2012, contributed to the sport of cross country (XC) skiing as one of the forefathers of commercial XC ski resorts and areas as a planner, consultant, and leader within the industry. He was one of the earliest XC ski area operators at Northfield Mountain in Northfield, MA and he helped develop the Nordic ski patrol and professional instructors on a national stage. And Frado consulted for many of the largest and most successful XC ski areas in the U.S.
Frado founded what was to become the Cross Country Ski Areas Association and gave presentations at most of the association's conferences and meetings between the late 1980's until 2011 to educate other ski area operators about significant facility, trail, program, and business design that led to the development and increase in sophistication of the XC ski area business.
The great value that John Frado has brought to the cross country ski world with regard to the quality and maturation of the industry should be recognized by the snow sports world. He was a leader in the XC ski industry and is an excellent example of a "snow sports builder." The XC ski industry is indebted to his contributions.
Along with 15 other ski area operators, John Frado joined Joe Pete Wilson in 1977 founding what is now the Cross Country Ski Areas Association. He served as vice president for many terms and continued to be elected to the Board even after leaving Northfield Mountain, the ski area he designed and operated for 17 years in Massachusetts to pursue work as an independent consultant and trail designer.
John's talent for trail design was officially recognized when Northfield Mountain's trails were placed into the National Recreation Trail database, a designation reserved for exemplary trails and made by the US Secretary of the Interior.
John put his background in emergency services and firefighting to good use while helping to create the Nordic division of the National Ski Patrol. He authored the "Ski & Toboggan Manual" for the Nordic Division and became a Senior Patroller when all testing was done at alpine ski areas (skiing an alpine slope on skinny wooden skis with 3-pin bindings, wearing a loaded backpack and all the while pulling a toboggan loaded with a "patient"). The ski patrol at Northfield Mountain was the first to be registered at a Touring Center (aka XC ski area or Nordic Ski center).
Johannes Von Trapp of Trapp Family Lodge is credited with putting John on cross country skis in the early 70's. The two shared an educational background in forestry and land management. John was a strong advocate of ski instruction supporting professional certification and empowering his staff and volunteer patrollers at Northfield Mountain to give away passes for group lessons. He laughed about being given "a beginner lesson" from Olympic coach, John Caldwell just months after getting on skis, while they tried to standardize a lesson for Eastern Professional Ski Touring Instructors-EPSTI, the forerunner of PSIA-Nordic. John truly believed lessons were an investment in return customers.
Frado joined forces with Jonathan Wiesel and worked under the name Nordic Group International. He's left his mark on Nordic centers across North America. His clients are a who's who of the industry including: Gatineau Park, Hardwood Hills, Lone Mountain Ranch, Great Glen Trails Outdoor Center, Devil's Thumb Ranch Resort & Spa, Tahoe Cross Country, the Nordic centers in Breckenridge and Frisco, Latigo Ranch, Telluride Nordic Association, and Dartmouth College, among many others.
John's love of humor and his passion for quality were the perfect combination for being a steward of the recreational experience. He advocated for memorable, fun trail names and spoke on the subject at CCSAA conventions.
John was connected for decades with moose and one could say it was his totem. His Nordic Group International office was filled with moose memorabilia, his farm tractor was named Moose, and he used moose for his email and license plate. John was officially given the nickname Crazymoose at Great Glen Trails Outdoor Center after surviving a run-in with a moose, breaking his finger in the process. He designed and supervised construction of the Great Glen trails and lodge and was the assistant director for its initial ski season.
In recognition of John Frado's contributions to the snow sports industry, the association asked ski area members to name or rename a trail Crazy Moose (or some version of Crazymoose Corner, Crazymoose Climb, Crazymoose Crawl, etc.)…trails in his name are a fitting remembrance of John Frado as one of the most significant personalities in the history of the U.S. cross country skiing community. (This article was mostly written by Chris Frado, wife of John Frado and CCSAA president ).