Nordic Pioneer John Frado Dies from Brain Injury

Alex KochonJuly 3, 2012

An innovator in the North American cross-country ski industry, John J. Frado Jr., 67, died last week of brain-injury complications suffered in a December accident, reported.

A founder of the Cross Country Ski Areas Association, of which his wife, Chris, is president, Frado was also a principal of a consulting company called Nordic Group International. He helped create the National Ski Patrol’s Nordic Division and played a role in the development of 120 trail, resort and park projects in North America.

The talented trail designer earned national acclaim for his work at Northfield Mountain in Massachusetts, where he developed a trail system and environmental education center. Another one of his projects, the  Great Glen Trails Park in Gorham, N.H., is internationally recognized.

“John has had an enormous influence on the industry as an outdoor recreation planner and trail designer, operator of Northfield Mountain in Massachusetts, author and writer,” said Jonathan Wiesel, Frado’s partner in Nordic Group International.

In December, he fell from his barn roof in southern New Hampshire while building a space for his tractor, which his wife said he affectionately named “Moose.” Frado suffered head and brain injuries and broken ribs, and died of complications about six months later.

According to SnoCountry, “Frado was an avid outdoorsman who liked to spend time in the woods, cross country skiing, telemark skiing, rock climbing, spelunking, archery, wilderness paddling, and kayaking. He was also a wood and stone sculptor as well as a builder of timber frame structures.”

His wife said he would be remembered for “his humility, friendship, strength, intelligence, passion, sense of adventure and exploration, and a sweet tooth as big as his head of curly hair.”

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Alex Kochon

Alex Kochon ( is the former managing editor at FasterSkier. She spent seven years with FS from 2011-2018, and has been writing, editing, and skiing ever since. She's making a cameo in 2020.

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