Wally Dobbs' dual roles of marketing director and ski instructor at New Mexico's Red River Ski Area marry his two loves: skiing and talking. When the slopes close, Dobbs hits the road in his 1951 Willys Overland Truck to preach the gospel of New Mexico skiing in Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma. One summer, he spread the word to more than 1,000 ski clubs and shops.
Born July 18, 1945 (age 55)
The First Time "In 1960, I was living in Mesquite, Texas, the rodeo capital of the world, when I saw the Squaw Valley Olympics on television. I thought: women, hot tubs, that's me. In 1968, I got an invitation to go to Vietnam. The week before I went, my best buddy said: 'Since you're going to Vietnam anyway, let's go to Red River; maybe you'll break something.' My friend convinced me to go to the top of the mountain. It took me three hours to get down. I really questioned why I was doing this, but I knew I liked it."
On Ski-Bumming "My dad told me, 'Anybody can work for a living.' It took me 20 years to figure out what that means. I've owned a rafting company and a bar, I've been a night watchman. Now I'm marketing director for a ski resort and a ski instructor. I'll do anything as long as it doesn't interfere with my skiing. What makes me happy is either skiing or talking about skiing."
On the Road Again "I'm the godfather of traveling ski area reps. I've been out there longer than anybody. I'm reaching people who no one has ever talked to about skiing. I have three or four signs that say Red River and Taos on my vehicle; it's on my hat, my shirt-even on my watch. I was in southern Louisiana in a backroads town, and a guy came over to me and asked: 'Are you from Red River?' I said, 'How'd you figure that out?' He asked me what I was doing down there. I said, 'I'm down here promoting skiing.' He responded, 'My brother skis. I just got him a new Evinrude.'"
Perfect Wheels, Perfect Turn "I travel in my Willys 1951 Overland Truck. I get 12 miles to the gallon, and it has a 12-gallon tank. It has a Corvette engine, a turbo transmission that shifts into fourth at 80. It has Elan SCX skis mounted on the front bumper because Elan perfected parabolics. They make the car turn easier."
Settling Down "When I was single, I had this theory: I needed eight girlfriends 300 miles apart. That way, they couldn't just drop in. That's why I was single for a long time. I thought I was really happy, thought I had the greatest deal going in the world-till I got married and found out I wasn't even close. Like skiing, life's more fun with a buddy."