It is 8 a.m. on a Saturday morning, and I enter the patrol room to see a green coffee can sitting on the table. I am happy to know that Hal is on the mountain that day, and happy to know that I get first dibs on the Ida Duncan chocolate chip cookies held within the can.
When I first joined patrol 40 years ago, Hal Duncan was the patrol director. Hal had joined the patrol eight years prior to that. In his 48 years of service, Hal was patrol director, assistant patrol director, hill chief, and equipment coordinator. The cubbies and benches in the patrol room are Hal’s and Rich Aufort’s handiwork.
In recent years, we knew him as a member of the social committee, piling our plates with burgers, chili, or BBQ sandwiches for Saturday lunch.
Hal had a commanding presence and a deep voice that could quiet a room full of unruly middle schoolers, or a room full of morning-coffee energized ski patrollers. If you were ready to start a meeting, a nod to Hal was all that was needed to get everyone’s attention.
As a physical education teacher, Hal’s fair and caring manner earned him the respect of the students he taught. As a patrol director, his calm and thoughtful manner earned him the respect of the patrollers he led. His steady, patient guidance earned him the respect and love of this young and overly confident new patroller.
Hal will be deeply missed by many of us who have had the good fortune to spend so many years patrolling and skiing with him.
Ski on, Hal.