A product of the Aspen Ski Club of the 1960s, Andy Mill worked his way onto the U.S Ski Team, becoming one of the most decorated Alpine ski racers to come out of Aspen.
Born in Fort Collins, Colorado, Mill came from humble beginnings. His father managed a lumber yard in Laramie and Andy and his siblings were exposed to skiing in Wyoming’s Medicine Bow mountains. It wasn’t until his father was relocated to Aspen in the 1960s that Andy found himself in the heart of ski racing, the site of the 1950 World Championships, home of the Roch Cup and one of the most notorious downhill race courses in the world.
Mill was an accomplished junior racer and made the U.S. Ski Team in 1971, and in 1974, Mill competed at the World Championships in St. Moritz, Switzerland. For the next seven years he was America’s top downhill racer. In the mid-1970s, Mill was nicknamed “Wilde Hund” (wild dog) by Europeans for his gritty style and long hair and beard. In Aspen the kids called him the “Downhill Jesus” because of his signature beard and long hair. Mill’s finest hour in skiing was at the 1976 Winter Olympics in Innsbruck, Austria,
where he placed sixth in the downhill at Patscherkofel, a race that was dramatically won by Austria’s Franz Klammer. Mill’s finish was the best by an American in the men’s downhill in 24 years. Mill narrowly missed medaling while skiing on a severely injured leg and ankle. In fact, his lower right leg was so badly bruised from a training injury that he could not stand without pain the day before the race. In order to compete, he froze his leg in the snow minutes before entering the starting gate. As a result he was honored with the “Olympic Spirit Award.”
After his retirement from ski racing he continued to support world class ski racing in Aspen. He has worked to raise money for the Aspen Ski Club’s scholarship fund and has been inducted into the Colorado Ski Hall of Fame and the Aspen Valley Ski Club Hall of Fame. Mill enjoyed a 20-year broadcasting career, covering two Olympics and hundreds of network specials. He also produced a how-to skiing series called “Skiing With Andy Mill” and he was often seen at starting gates and finish lines cheerleading and helping to provide color commentary about his fellow teammates and their competitors from all over the world.
As if becoming the best in skiing wasn’t enough, Mill’s passion turned to tarpon fly fishing after his retirement from decades on the snow. Fly fishing had always been on Andy’s radar. Even as a young boy in Aspen he worked as a guide at a local fly fishing shop and took every opportunity he could to fish the Roaring Fork and Frying Pan rivers near Aspen. He often took a rod and reel with him as he traveled with the U.S. Ski Team. He has won more Tarpon Gold Cups, the Superbowl of tarpon fishing, than anyone in the world. He has hosted an outdoor fishing show on the OLN network, is a trustee of the International Game Fish Association and has also written an award-winning book entitled “A Passion for Tarpon.”
So whether it’s looking down the sheer ice face of the Hahnenkamm or into the eyes of a fighting tarpon, Andy Mill has made the community of Aspen proud to call him one of us.