Obituary: Carl F. Ettlinger II, 1943-2020 | Obituaries | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Obituary: Carl F. Ettlinger II, 1943-2020

A ski safety crusader was recognized for his advancements in snowsports

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Carl F. Ettlinger II
  • Carl F. Ettlinger II

On June 19, 2020 Carl said goodbye to his family and ascended to heaven. He died peacefully at home with his family. Carl grew up on Staten Island, N.Y., where he attended Curtis High School, going on to graduate from the University of Vermont with a master’s degree in mechanical engineering.

Carl was a researcher and mechanical engineer who worked collaboratively to promote Alpine skiing safety. His knowledge, his intelligence, his grit, his courage, his principles and his passion never wavered. Carl authored or coauthored over 200 technical articles and over 50 peer-reviewed journal articles. Carl’s achievements in establishing standards for Alpine skiing equipment remain steadfast. Carl was recognized by the American Society of Testing and Materials with the honorary title of Fellow for “meritorious and dedicated leadership of the ASTM International Committee F27 and for conducting the seminal research that provided the technical basis for standards that have materially improved skiing safety worldwide.” Carl also received the Carson White Golden Quill Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Advancement of Snowsports by the North American Snowsports Journalists Association.

During his high school years, he shined as an athlete and student. He was awarded the Lou Gehrig Award for sportsmanship and courage, as well as most valuable player of his football team. He continued to play football as a starting fullback for the University of Vermont.

At UVM, Carl joined the ROTC program. Upon completion of his undergraduate degree, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Army and, soon after, deployed to Vietnam. He served as a combat engineer officer in the 25th Infantry Division with distinction and received the Bronze Star and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry. His innovative engineering in tactical land clearing and bridge building were highly recognized by his commanders. Upon his discharge, Carl joined the Vermont Army National Guard and retired with the rank of captain.

After completing graduate school at UVM, Carl taught as an instructor in the mechanical engineering department. He made the decision to establish his own company, Vermont Ski Safety Equipment, in 1971. He believed he could influence skiing safety with products and services to test Alpine binding functionality, train ski binding technicians and provide research. Carl’s tireless efforts to promote skiing safety are highly recognized, and his research-based contributions have influenced the decrease in risk exposure and injury to Alpine skiers.

Carl was known by family, friends and colleagues as both a roaring and compassionate larger-than-life titan of a man. His love of adventure stayed with him throughout his life. Regardless of the season, and mostly during the winter months, Carl would persuade family and friends to voyage with him on his Westsail 32 down the Atlantic Coast. He was a skilled seafarer no matter the conditions at sea.

He settled in Underhill with his wife, Trudee, and raised three children: Heidi, Carl and Kristopher. His children carry fond memories of working in the garden; taking care of sheep, geese and horses; sailing adventures; skiing adventures; and helping at their father’s business.

Carl will be dearly missed by many. He is survived by his daughter Heidi; son Carl and his wife, Natalia, and his grandson Alexander; and Kristopher and his wife, Priya; as well as by his best friend and wife, Trudee. Carl is also survived by his brothers Todd (wife Mary), Gary, and Mark (wife Lisa); his sister Doris (husband Mike); and many cousins, nieces and nephews. From everyone who knew this wonderful man, husband, father, grandfather, brother, friend and colleague: “Castle Charlie 26, May You Sail the Stars on Fair Winds and Following Seas.”

There will be a graveside service for Carl on June 27 at the North Underhill Cemetery. A celebration of life is planned for May 2021.

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