Very sad news.
But that photo:
a) snowboarders, please observe the safety straps on the skis (or the 'leash') around his ankles.
b) even his dog ('Captain') is wearing skis
c) the safety chains (safety bar) are not on - because they're not needed
I was going to post that photo of Hans Grimus and his skiing dog Captain too, but Hunter beat me to it. The pic was a Buller publicity photo showing Grimus, the manager of Orange lifts on the opposition Blue Bourke St Chairlift because they wanted a shot showing modern chairlifts at Buller, but Orange didn't operate any at the time.
There's a nice short article on his life on the SBS website, complete with German language interview.
'How I made my way from nothing to the top of Australia's skiing industry' By Maria Schaller. Friday, July 7, 2017 - 10:53
Hans Grimus arrived in Australia in 1959 by himself with nothing but £16 in his pocket and found his way into the skiing industry by pure coincidence. Despite hailing from snowy Austria, the now 76-year-old actually had no skiing experience himself, but he was to become a pioneer for Australia's winter sports industry.
Poor of options and opportunities in post-war Austria, Hans Grimus heard of a friend's plan to migrate to Australia.
"I had nothing to lose," says Grimus. "Instantly I said 'yes I´m coming too.'"
For the then 18-year-old it would be a life-changing decision.
"But, as I always say, the women get in between," he jokes. "Both my friends couldn't make it. One fell in love, the other didn't get the permission from his grandmother. So I was all by myself."
With nothing but $16.10 in his pocket, Hans boarded a ship towards Australia in 1959.
After his arrival, he was employed at the Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Scheme for seven months. A tough time.
"I almost died at the Snowy Mountains. In three various occasions," Grimus tells SBS German. "We were working for 16 hours."
"Once I was completely exhausted, walking along the rails. I slipped and an approaching train almost hit me."
In spite of hailing from snowy Austria, Grimus was in fact a total novice when it came to skiing.
You wouldn't expect an Austrian native to never have come across the national sport in his youth.
"There was a bit of cross-country skiing," explains Grimus. "But I come from a rather flat area. I didn't know how to ski back then."
Hans was rather talented at soccer and made a good goal keeper in Australia - until he broke his finger and gave up on playing.
It was by coincidence that he came across a fellow Austrian acquaintance in a St Kilda restaurant one night, who hepled him obtain a job opportunity in the winter sport industry.
Hans Grimus still plays the accordion for his guests
"I started as a lift operator and soon became the industry's manager and director," Grimus tells SBS German of his early years at Mt Buller.
He was a man who always rolled up his sleeves when the area's lift infrastructure was built. "There was dynamite, bulldozers... and all kind of methods," Grimus says.
"It's hard to believe today how hard it was and how much work we put into it."
In honour of one of its pioneers, the Mr Buller area named one of its chairlifts, which goes all the way up to the top, "Grimus."
"I consider myself very lucky. I don´t take anything I have achieved for granted."
It took Hans many years to establish his hotel (Hotel Pension Grimus)
In 1969, Hans opened his guest house, but was forced to sell it three years later as he ran out of money.
After buying it back, he steadily expanded - 35 rooms have grown to 120.
"I consider myself very lucky," says Grimus. "I don't take anything I have achieved for granted."
The Hotel Pension Grimus has since been awarded with the "World Travel Award" as Australi's Best Ski Lodge for eight times.
However, Hans doesn't hide the challenges hoteliers are facing. "Our season is incredibly short, roughly 12-14 weeks."
"I need to make $100,000 per week to cover the costs."
Australia's skiing resorts also have strong competitors overseas. "We can only make money with beginners and average skiers. The good ones don't stay in Australia."
The "Skiing Dog" who earned fame
The well-known character in the Mt Buller area was accompanied for many years by his four-legged friend "Captain," a German shepherd he had once won in a skiing competition.
"I trained him. This dog could do anything, he even knew how to ski," Hans remembers today.
After a Melbourne newspaper published the story, the skiing dog made headlines around the globe.
"Interestingly, I had issues with the Health Department. So I fought in court and payed a fine. But the dog had to stay with me."
Fingers crossed for Anton Grimus
Son Anton has represented Australia at the last Winter Olympics 2014 in Sotchi and currently prepares for Pyeongchang 2018.
"He's very talented, but his area freestyle skiing is a tough one", Hans says.
Mt Buller's King of the Mountain Hans Grimus and his german shepherd 'Captain' on the ski lifts 1972. Picture: David Caird
A carpenter in his home country, Grimus began building Hotel Pension Grimus in the early 1970s.
The hotel is now widely regarded as one of the best alpine lodges in Australia, named best ski hotel five years in a row.
The Grimus Chairlift, the mountain’s highest lift at 1780 metres, is named in his honour.
Mt Buller's King of the Mountain Hans Grimus. Picture: David Caird
In 2017 the World Ski Awards Academy honoured Grimus for his outstanding contribution to ski tourism.
Tributes flowed on social media for the husband and father.
The National Alpine Museum of Australia said “even those who met him once came away with a memory and a story”.
In a statement on Facebook, Mt Buller ski resort said it was hard to believe the sad news.
Hans Grimus son Anton, an Australian Olympic Ski-Cross skier, outside Pension Grimus. Picture: David Caird.
“Hans Grimus was a huge part of the Mt Buller community and it’s hard to believe he’s passed.
“Our thoughts are with his family and we will all take a moment today to smile and remember this mountain of a man,” the post read.
Grimus’ son Anton was part of the 2014 and 2018 Winter Olympic Ski Cross team.
Sad to hear it..
Everyone was talking about it today.
I remember Hans at the closing weekend carnivals in fancy dress with Captain his dog when I was younger.
Later in 1981 I knocked on his front door at the Bk St residence near the Ski School and asked him for a job, he said ok on the spot.
He was good to work for, he was a hands on boss and always working. remember every morning he used to come up to Tirol with the work roster.
And the Ziggy Zaggy at Kooroora with Hans singing the song and we all had to sing along and then skull a beer.
I didn’t know Hans but know well of him and his history here. He is and always will be an integral part of Mt Buller and will be missed across the hill. I always saw him handing out schnapps when having dinner
I’m currently at Mt Buller and perhaps fittingly in tribute, Grimus chair was in mourning for most of today and not running as mechanics tried to get it going. Today was a blue bird day all over the mountain, except a swirling mist clung around the top of Grimus. When the chair began turning mid afternoon, the mist disappeared leaving blue skies above
Thank you to Mr Grimus and all we enjoy at Mt Buller that is because of him. There will be plenty of red eyes tonight, but I’m sure plenty of stories and laughs too. Vale Hans Grimus
Apart from the sadnes of losing Hans in particular, i also mourn the gradual loss of the austrian (and other european) influence in our mountain villages. Thredbo seems to be retaining it best. Sometimes I think too many people see it as an almost embarassing anachronism that needs to be painted over in bright modernist white.
Hans' absence will be greatly felt, although his presence will be greatly appreciated for eons.
I imagine there is now much revelry each evening across the heavens. Hans will be playing his accordion while my Mum dances the polka - albeit a little tipsily, as Hans will be bringing around the Schnapps as well.
All I have to offer in salute of such a colourful figure are the colours of his beloved hill.
Met him a few times but the time I remember best was the day after my wedding at the birthday of a mutual friend (Nat Bonacci - (Dec) 2008) where he forced my to do some snuff with him ... nose felt odd for days afterwards! Bastard RIP mate.