Photo: Brad Gent. Source: Vail Valley Foundation Facebook
We are deeply saddened to announce the passing of Brad Gent. Ghent, who bravely fought ALS for five years, has succumbed to the disease. He died surrounded by his family on September 3, 2022 at the age of 69.
He has had a remarkable career in ski racing throughout his life, but he will be fondly remembered as a formidable athlete and well-loved member of the community. Most importantly, he lived his life as a truly remarkable, loving husband and father.
A celebration of his life is planned for next week, and in lieu of flowers, the family has asked that people donate to the Rocky Mountain chapter of the ALS Association on Brad’s behalf.
The loss of a great member of the ski community
Ghent was born on December 7, 1952 and grew up in Fort Collins, Colorado. He later moved to Eagle County in 1989 and became a valued Vail Valley community member. His passion for skiing was first nurtured with long drives to Winter Park where he trained with the Winter Park Alpine Ski Team on the weekends.
His love and dedication to skiing earned him a spot on the University of Colorado ski team, initially as a rookie, but eventually he rose through the ranks and quickly became a powerful member of the Buffalos. Gent helped lead the Buffs to four straight NCAA championships from 1972–75. As an alpine team member, Ghent was honored as an All-American in 1974. His indomitable spirit and talent seemed to know no end. During his tenure at the University of Colorado, his top five results still rank sixth in school history.
From skiing to coaching to dad
In 1975, he graduated from the University of Colorado with a degree in business administration and began coaching. During his coaching years, through the 1986 season, he was the alpine coach for the US Ski Team, including the team that won four World Championship medals in 1985.
After an incredibly successful coaching career with the US Ski Team, he returned to Fort Collins with his wife Karen Lancaster Ghent and started their family. After the birth of their first daughter, Erika, in 1988, the Ghent family moved to the Vail Valley in 1989. In 1990 Abby was welcomed into the Ghent world and in 1992 Christa, the youngest, became the only daughter born there Vail.
Ghent was inducted into the Colorado Snowsports Hall of Fame in 2018, receiving recognition for his lifelong contributions to snow sports.
Continued ski support as FIS Technical Delegate
Gent’s passion for skiing never waned and he officiated many races as FIS Technical Delegate. From junior competitions to World Cup and Olympic levels, he has been a fixture in the ski world. He proudly continued in his role as Technical Delegate even after the illness had started to take its toll.
Local engagement in the Vail Valley
In the Vail Valley he thrived as a parishioner. He has served on the board of directors of the Vail Ski and Snowboard Club and on the board of directors of the Rocky Mountain Ski Race Officials. Gent also coordinated Beaver Creek’s Talon Crew, Birds of Prey, Volunteers on the Hill from 2000 to 2015. Subsequently, the Vail Valley Foundation named 2015 Ghent Volunteer of the Year.
Gent was also a renowned pilot, world traveler and outdoor athlete off the slopes. He loved mountain biking and in 2012 he finished second in his age group at the Leadville 100 race
The ski community will remember Ghent’s friendly smile and willingness to play his part. However, the respect he earned as a loving husband and father will live forever with those who knew him best. His desire to fight the daunting challenge of ALS until it was no longer possible is a testament to his passion for the people he loved most. Rest in peace Brad Gent.
He is survived by his devoted wife of 36 years, Karen (Lancaster) Ghent; daughters Erika Ghent (Erik) Gilbert of Edwards, CO, Christa Ghent (Chris) Baddick of Eagle, CO, and Abby Ghent (Dustin) Cook of Salt Lake City, UT; brothers Gregory Ghent of Santa Fe, NM, Rick Ghent of Larkspur, CO, and Bob Ghent of Greeley, CO; and three grandchildren.