Claudine Longet and Spider Sabich
'A Babe Magnet'
Sabich quickly became one of the tour's stars — on and off the ski runs.
Blond and blue-eyed, he was the sort of man who stopped conversation when he walked into a ski lodge. Ski bunnies crowded in for a closer look.
"He was so charming and very sexy," longtime friend Dede Brinkman told the Sacramento Bee. "It was the same type of charisma you see in movie stars."
His brother Steve added, "Spider was a babe magnet. Just catching his overflow was fine with me."
In the early '70s, Bob Beattie pioneered the use of celebrity ski races to drum up interest in his new U.S. tour. Spectators would flock to the slopes to see stiff-skiing celebrities, then stick around to see the real ski racers.
In 1972, singer, actress and ski enthusiast Claudine Longet was invited to a celebrity skiing exhibition held before a pro race at Bear Valley, Calif., just 25 miles from Sabich's hometown of Kyburz.
Sabich and Longet met there for the first time and were overwhelmed by an immediate mutual attraction.
Sabich was accustomed to women finding him irresistible. But with Longet, the feeling was mutual. A friend likened it to "nuclear fusion."
They were a couple before the weekend was over.