Clarita Heath Bright, a member of the first U.S. Women’s Ski Team, died on Oct. 13. Cause of death was not released. She was 87.
Born in Pasadena, Calif., Bright learned to ski while vacationing with her family in Austria. She was only 18 when she was named to the four-member Olympic ski team. She raced in the 1936 Winter Olympics at Garmisch, and placed 27th. After suffering knee injuries, Bright went on to win the U.S. combined championship in 1942.
Bright’s first husband, William Reiter, was a Navy pilot who died in World War II. She met her second husband, Olympic skier Alexander H. Bright, at the ’36 games. He was elected into the U.S. National Ski Hall of Fame in 1959; she was inducted in 1968.
In her later years, Bright became one of the first female ski instructors to work in Sun Valley, Idaho. She coached actress Ingrid Bergman for the ski scenes in the film, “Spellbound,” and appeared in the documentary, “Thrills and Spills (History of Skiing in New England).” Bright continued to ski into her 80s.