George W. (Judd) Preston


The Beaver Mountain Ski Patrol and the Intermountain Division lost a true icon on May 20, 2019, with the passing of George W. (Judd) Preston.  Judd started patrolling in 1948 when he was 16 for the fledging Beaver Mountain ski area near Logan, Utah. Over the next few years while also patrolling, he assisted the hill owner, Harry Seeholzer, in installing a rope tow, a T-Bar, and finally a chair lift.  He was a member of the Beaver Mountain Ski Patrol for 60 years, except for three years while he was on active duty as a pilot in the U.S. Air Force, when he patrolled with the Terry Peak Ski Patrol in South Dakota. Judd served his first term as Patrol Director from 1953 to 1955.  He was instrumental in the Beaver Mountain Patrol joining the National Ski Patrol system in 1954.

Judd completed his JD at the University of Utah in 1960.  During 1960 – 1962, Judd was again elected the Patrol Director.  He wrote the by-laws for the patrol during that period, most of which are in effect today.  He was a Red Cross first aid instructor from the late 1950s, and he participated in WEC and OEC courses until he retired.  He received National number 2744 in 1963. He completed his Avalanche 1 and 2 courses and became an avalanche instructor in 1964.    At the same time, Judd continued to fly C-119s and B-36s for the Air Force Reserve and maintain his law practice in Logan. He completed MTR 1 in 1972.

Judd served as the Beaver Mountain Ski Patrol legal advisor for most of his career.  He was also the Intermountain Division legal advisor for several years. He was elected to his third term two-year term as Patrol Director in 1976.  No other Beaver Mountain patroller has served more than one two-year term as Patrol Director, which is an indication of his dedication to the Patrol and the respect in which he was held.  He also served on the Intermountain Division Awards Committee for several years during the 1980s.  

Judd was named the Beaver Mountain Patroller of the Year in 1981, and he received Beaver Mountain management’s Harry Seeholzer Memorial award in 1988, recognizing his many contributions to the Beaver Mountain Ski Area during his patrolling career.  

From 1999 to 2001, he played a key role in the creation of the Beaver Mountain Ski Patrol building which is recognized as one of the best patrol facilities in the Intermountain Division.  Beaver Mountain rests on State of Utah property and the ownership of the building was a complex legal issue. He helped in the building of the facility, but his major contribution was the legal agreements that assured that the building could be constructed and operated by the Patrol.  He continued to fulfill all his patrol duties and provide help to our skiers in an exemplary manner until his retirement from the patrol in 2008 at the age of 80. At that time, Judd was one of the few fully active patrollers his age in all the NSP. Judd was a lifetime member of the NSP.

Judd was an avid outdoorsman, participating in sailing, off-road motorcycling, and black powder shooting, among other activities.  He served as Bear Lake (Utah) County District Attorney for several years after his retirement from private practice. He had an acute sense of humor and would demonstrate elegant Royal Christie turns on request, even at 80 years old. 

Judd continued to ski at Beaver from his retirement until his death.  He was a friend and a model for several generations of Beaver Mountain patrollers. Judd was the first inductee into the Beaver Mountain Hall of Fame in 2018, in recognition of his many contributions to the leadership of the patrol and his 60 years of dedicated patrolling.  His laughter and guidance will be remembered by all of us.

Judd was preceded in death by his brother Patrick and his wife Janet (Eggen), and is survived by his three children, and three stepchildren, as well as grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He was loved by many and will be sorely missed by those who were fortunate enough to have known him.

John Keith


Beaver Mountain Ski Patrol