Nick Badami

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — Nick Badami, a key figure in alpine skiing who was instrumental in supporting the United States ski team, has died in Tucson. He was 88.

Badami died Wednesday at his home, the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association said Thursday.

Badami played a key role in bringing the 2002 Winter Olympics to Salt Lake City, fashioned the transformation of Park City into a winter sporting mecca and set the model for the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association.

Badami, former head of the manufacturing and retailing conglomerate BVD, bought Park City Ski Area in 1975 and with his son, Craig, developed the America's Opening World Cup races. The event became the traditional start in November of the FIS (International Ski Federation) Alpine Ski World Cup for more than 10 years.

Bill Marolt, president and chief executive officer of the association, said Badami's contributions were immeasurable.

"Nick was a great visionary but also brought a keen sense of business," Marolt said. "Thanks to Nick's vigilant guidance and leadership, the USSA is a strong, sound organization providing great opportunities for young people to pursue their Olympic dreams. He kept us focused on our goals and gave us the roadmap for a prosperous future."

Gian Franco Kasper, president of the International Ski Federation, called Badami "a great promoter of alpine skiing and especially of the FIS Alpine World Cup in the USA."

The races showcased the sport's excitement "like never before with a party atmosphere" fun for both athletes and fans, Kasper added.

Badami is survived by his wife of more than 60 years, Avis. His only child, Craig, was killed in a helicopter crash at Park City Mountain Resort following a World Cup race in 1989.

Funeral services are pending.