I first met Hal Sutliff more than 40 years ago when I came to Fulton County to operate Royal Mountain Ski Area. Before opening the first season, the area was in need of a ski rental shop.
I was introduced to Hal and he agreed to help me by putting a fleet of rental skies at Royal. I did not realize at the time he was a real pioneer in the ski business in upstate New York. Meeting Hal Sutliff and having him be a part of Royal Mountain turned out to be one of the most important things that happened to me in my early years at the mountain. He was always there for business advice when asked, but, more importantly, just being able to watch him work in the business - how he handled his customers, always treating them as his friends and promoting our sport at Royal, but more so at the Gloversville Sport Shop - left traits I have tried to follow to this day.
Not many years passed before our business relationship turned into a close friendship. Despite nearly 30 years in age difference, there was no one I would rather play a round of golf with, have dinner with or just enjoy an after-work drink with, and I think he felt the same.
With the one exception of my own father, there is no one I admired and respected more than Hal Sutliff. As the years went by, I became almost part of the family with sons Mike, Andy, C.T. and Larry. Even after Hal left the area for Arizona, we kept in touch. He was always interested in how the ski area, Chris, Ashley and I were doing.
Our conversations would always end with Hal saying, "Always good to talk to you, Blaiser," and my response would be, "Always good to talk to you, Hal."
I was very fortunate to have Hal as my friend and mentor, and my conversations with him will be missed.
Royal Mountain Ski Area