Welch Village Ski Area Co-Founder and Longtime Owner, Leigh Nelson Has Died

Leigh Nelson  Obituary, Death – passed away peacefully at his home on June 10th and he was laid to rest last week in Hastings. Leigh would have been 95 years old in August. Leigh was a visionary and a pioneer in the ski industry. He started Welch Village in 1965 with his older brother Clem. He truly believed that nothing could have a more positive impact on a person or family than the sport of downhill skiing.
Many of you who were able to talk with Leigh, ride the chairlift with Leigh, and ski with him here at Welch Village over the years and you know exactly the passion he had for the joy that only skiing could provide. Leigh skied 90+ days through his 70’s, 80’s, and until he was 90 years old. The finals years of his skiing career frequently included skiing with his great-grandchildren.
Leigh was very involved in the ski industry beyond Welch Village and served several terms on the board of directors for the National Ski Areas Association and was involved in many industry-related initiatives and programs. Leigh had a passion for building things and consistently adding improvements at Welch Village. The Back Bowl probably ranks #1 on a long list of capital projects that Leigh loved the most.
As a former chemical engineer at 3M, Leigh was passionate about snowmaking and always finding ways to advance the technology and quality of the snow that was produced at Welch Village. He was also a vocal leader in the for pushing chairlift manufacturers to design chairlifts that made better sense for smaller ski areas in the Midwest.
Welch Village continues to be family owned and operated. The current owners, management, and ski area staff honor Leigh’s legacy in how we run this place. We run this place like Leigh would want us to run it and that will not change anytime soon. Rest assured…The Village is in good hands.