c.1953 5

Carl Richard ("Dick") "Mad Dog" Buek (November 4, 1929 – November 3, 1957) was a downhill skier on the 1952 Olympic team, and the fiancé of champion ski racer Jill Kinmont, whose life story was made into the movie The Other Side of the Mountain (1975). Buek died when a plane a friend was piloting crashed into Donner Lake.

[ Question: the CA birth index and his birth certificate show Carl Richard, but other sources show Richard Carl. Which was his official given name? ]

Buek was born November 5, 1929, to Carl Buek and Gladys Mangels (Buek). They also had a daughter, Jean Buek (Williams). 3 The family lived at 712 Brooklyn Avenue in Cleveland Heights, and Carl worked as mechanic. Carl worked at a number of places, but their 1927 marriage record says he was a mechanic at the Chevrolet factory.

Carl later ran a ski shop and ski school in Soda Springs, and Dick learned to ski before he was 17, at the nearby Soda Springs Resort. His obituary in the Oakland Tribune says his father built a home in Soda Springs in 1947 so Dick could be closer to the slopes. 6

By the time Dick was 18 he was a serious downhill racer, and was on the 1952 U.S. Olympic team. He finished 12th in the downhill in Norway.

"Mad Dog" was even more reckless off the slopes, favoring motorcycles and airplanes. A 1953 motorcycle accident left him with a broken back and his leg, pelvis, and shoulder crushed.

At the time of his death, Buek was engaged to national slalom champion Jill Kinmont. In January 1955, Kinmont was in a near-fatal ski accident in Utah that left her paralyzed. The movie The Other Side of the Mountain was made dramatizing her life; actor Beau Bridges played Buek in the film. 4

Death and Burial

On November 3, the day before his 28th birthday, Buek was giving flying lessons to Dick Robarts around Donner Lake. Robarts owned the plane, and was at the controls when the plan spun into the lake. 2 Buek was buried in Mountain View Cemetery. His father Carl died just a few years later in 1959, and is also buried in Mountain View.

Links and References

  1. Dick Buek on FindAGrave.com
  2. Sierra Ski Star, Friend Die In Donner Plane Crash Reno Gazette-Journal November 4, 1957
  3. obituary for Carl Buek Oakland Tribune December 11, 1959
  4. The Other Side of the Mountain IMDb
  5. Richard "Dick" Buek U.S. Ski & Snowboard Hall of Fame
  6. Noted Skier Dies In Plane Crash Oakland Tribune November 4, 1957