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Skiing is in the blood

Pam Ziemann and her father, Warren Pagel, 80, both serve on the National Ski Patrol at Afton Alps. Photo by Margaret A. Ontl

For a boy from Iowa, it took a stint in the Army during World War II to expose him to skiing and other alpine sports while he was stationed in Europe. Hudson resident Warren Pagel reached outside his roots to experience all that life has to offer and he is still doing it at the age of 80.

For his three daughters it was a different childhood -- they all started skiing at an early age and continue to this day.

"I have been skiing since I was 3," said Pam Ziemann, Pagel's middle daughter who looks forward to regularly crossing paths with her dad on the slopes at Afton Alps.

She has been a member of the National Ski Patrol for 14 years -- her dad has volunteered on the patrol for 40 years. From Nov. 15 to April 1, Ziemann estimates she puts in 100 to 130 hours; Warren puts in over 200 hours. There are 135 members on the National Ski Patrol at Afton Alps. The number of members on duty depends on the volume of skiers. Evenings there is normally three; on weekends it climbs to eight or nine.

"It is very fulfilling to work together as a team," said Ziemann. "Not many people get to do work with their parents."

"I guess any family that skis together is an active family," said Ziemann. "The role modeling that he has done is phenomenal and has kept us together. All seven of his grandchildren are very accomplished skiers."

Skiing is just one example of Pagel's influence on his daughters.

"He is a special, special, special role model," said Ziemann, who currently lives in White Bear Lake. "He raised us and he is the most positive role model. Dad used to say, 'Shoot for the moon. What's the worst that can happen? You miss.'"