Growing up in Auburn, John Litchfield, started skiing at age four and by high school was an accomplished skier. He was one of Zeke Dwelley’s earliest skiers and was a member of the Edward Little ski team that won the 1934 Maine Winter Sports Championships. In the early 30’s he competed in all disciplines, jumping, cross country and alpine winning in all events, honored by the state of Maine by being named the best junior skier in the state.
John’s success continued at Dartmouth where he earned an economics degree while winning awards in ski events. In 1937 he was a member of the first U.S. Alpine Ski Team at the Pan American Games in Chile. He was then chosen to be a member of the U.S. FIS team competing for the World Championships. He was named to the U.S. Olympic Ski Team but missed out when those games were canceled by World War II.
From 1940 to 1942, Litchfield was a ski instructor at Sun Valley, Idaho before joining the 10th Mountain Division to train at Camp Hale in Colorado. Captain John Litchfield served in the famed mountain division from 1942 until 1945 earning a Bronze Star during the Italian Campaign.
Following the war John returned to Colorado where he became one of the original incorporators of Aspen. Along with Freidl Pfeiffer and Percy Rideout, he started the Aspen Ski School where he became a co-director and he built and operated the famous Red Onion Restaurant in Aspen. In 1945-46 he served on the Denver Chamber of Commerce Committee to develop winter sports in Colorado. Through all of this he continued to compete, in 1947 placing first in slalom, seventh in downhill and third in Alpine Combined at the championships of the Southern Rocky Mountain ski Association.
Leaving Colorado john returned to Sun Valley, Idaho where he progressed from ski instructor to chief instructor, and to Executive Director of the Sun Valley Ski School. That phase of his life was interrupted by a recall to active duty in the Army during the Korean War. On his return to Colorado after that war he resumed his ski racing in the Senior Masters series winning nine races, and adding a pair of second pace finishes along with three third places.
His skiing skills were put to use by Hollywood when he performed as a stand in for Jimmy Stewart in the movie Mortal Storm. In that film he skied down a mountain chased by machine gun firing Nazis.
Throughout his skiing and professional careers John has volunteered his time and efforts serving as president of the Rocky Mountain Chapter of the National Association of the 10th Mountain Division, a national association board members and a board member of the 10th Mountain Hut System. He has been honored by induction in 2001 into the Maine Sports Hall of Fame and in 2002 into the Colorado Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame. He is also a member of the U.S. Ski Hall of Fame. This lifetime of devotion to skiing has earned John Litchfield a place in the Maine Ski Hall of Fame.