During World War II, Merrill served in the 10th Mountain Division at Camp Hale. After returning to the U.S. as a decorated hero, he joined the construction crew in building Arapahoe Basin. Merrill was the director of Berthoud Pass Ski School and a National Ski Patrolman. He helped start the ski association that evolved into the Rocky Mountain Division of the PSIA. In 1948, he started Skiing Magazine and successfully ran it for 16 years.