Snow Legends: Vermont Produces the Most Winter Athletes
You’ll find all kinds of legends in Vermont, but none are as exciting as those of the ski and snowboard athletes that hail from our beloved state, a state which is home to more ski and snowboard academies than any other state in the nation, not to mention home to the oldest one in the country. It is because of Vermont’s long standing love for the mountains and the skiers and snowboarders that have perfected their turns here, that Vermont produces more Winter Olympians per capita than any other state in the country. This year, excitement is at an all-time high as Vermont prepares to hold the Alpine World Cup for the first time since 1978, and with the arrival of the event will come many of Vermont’s most well-known and accomplished winter athletes.
Learn about the athletes, academies and programs here :
Burke Mountain Resort
Burke Mountain is honored to have the first ski academy in the United States on its slopes. After 40 some plus years, Burke Mountain Academy is the leading ski racing academy in the country, having produced numerous national team members and Olympians along the way -the most recent being 2014 Olympic slalom gold medalist Mikaela Shiffrin who is the reigning Olympic, World Cup, and world champion in slalom. Shiffrin was the youngest slalom champion in Olympic alpine skiing history, at 18 years of age.
Stratton Mountain Resort
Stratton Mountain Resort’s Stratton Mountain School (SMS) has trained Olympians and US national team members for 40 years since becoming the first ski academy accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. The curriculum combines the most comprehensive training programs in alpine and Nordic ski racing, free skiing and snowboarding with a strong tradition of college preparatory academics. Four Olympic medals, 36 Olympians and 93 national team athletes have called Stratton Mountain and SMS home, including snowboarders Danny Davis, Louie Vito, Jack Mitrani, Lindsey Jacobellis, Ross Powers, Nordic skier Andy Newell and most recently, Nordic World Cup champion Sophie Caldwell.
Stowe Mountain Resort
Taylor Riley Walker (born March 3, 1997) is an American snowboarder, better known by her childhood nickname Ty Walker. Born in Smithtown, New York and living in Stowe since the age of 7, she competed for United States at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. Later that year, Ty also won the first-ever World Cup for Women's Big Air in snowboarding, an event that will make its debut in the 2018 Winter Olympics. Ty currently attends Brown University as a member of the class of 2019 and calls Stowe home.
Mount Snow Resort
It’s a big year for Mount Snow Academy. First off they have a new home at the site of the former Matterhorn Inn in West Dover, VT, which is the second step in the board’s vision to more than double the size of the winter academy to 55 student athletes. Notable graduates include, Kelly Clark, who won the Bronze in the Women’s Snowboard Halfpipe in the 2014 Olympics and is the most decorated snowboarder in the history of snowboarding, male or female. Devin Logan, who won Silver in the first ever Olympic Women’s Ski Slopestyle competition at the 2014 Olympics, and Nick Goepper, who won Bronze in Men’s Ski Slopestyle.
Okemo Mountain Resort
Located in the village of Ludlow, Vt., Okemo Mountain School (OMS) is a winter sports academy that offers a unique and challenging academic and athletic program in competitive alpine ski racing, freestyle skiing and snowboarding. Students are selected for admission to OMS based on academic performance, athletic performance, recommendations and extra-curricular activities. In addition, the ability to balance a demanding physical training program with a rigorous academic schedule and the desire to become a better competitor are necessary qualities for each student to possess. Some noteworthy OMS alumni include Snowboarder Hannah Teter, Snowboarder Kevin Pearce, Snowboarder Danny Kass, Alpine Racer Julia Ford, Freeskier Jen Hudak and others.
Killington Mountain School, in partnership with Killington Resort, is expanding its on-mountain training facilities to include a new mogul venue on Highline served by a new midstation on the Snowdon Triple lift, lights, snowmaking and even a four-season bag jump for year-round training. Donna Weinbrecht, mogul maven of Killington, won the first Olympic Gold Medal awarded for mogul skiing at the 1992 Albertville Games and has won every accolade in her sport since. Now, Killington will once again bring home some of the industry’s finest winter athletes during the 2016 Alpine World Cup over Thanksgiving Weekend- expect to see athletes such as Lindsey Vonn, Julia Mancuso and Mikaela Shiffrin.
Sugarbush has sponsored U.S. Ski Team member and Olympian Nolan Kasper for the past several seasons. Kasper hails from the Mad River Valley and was the top U.S. slalom finisher at both the 2010 and 2014 Winter Olympics. Sugarbush is also home to the alpine training facility of the Green Mountain Valley School (GMVS). A world-class ski academy, GMVS’s alpine training program produces some of the finest ski racers in the country. GMVS has placed numerous athletes on the US Ski team since its inception in 1973 many of whom obtained World Cup podium finishes and Olympic medals, including current team member Drew Duffy. Adventure skier and Warren Miller Film Star John Egan is on-staff at Sugarbush and available for private lessons and cat skiing adventures.
Mad River Glen
Mad River Glen tends to attract some accomplished skiers so it stands to reason that when these folks “go forth and multiply” their progeny tend to be pretty good themselves. Mad River Glen-trained athletes Lars and Silas Chickering-Ayers are competing on the Freeskiing World Tour and have won numerous events and series titles. Mad River Glen Race team alumni Danny Duffy is a member of the US Ski Team and was the 2015 US National Super-G Champion.
As Bolton Valley prepares to celebrate its 50th Anniversary one cannot help but look back and remember that pro skiers Rob and Eric DesLauriers got their start there back in the 1980’s when their father Ralph owned the mountain. While Rob and Eric honed their craft on the steeps, rock drops and glades, there is plenty of terrain for beginners of all ages. Throughout the years, many people have learned to ski and ride at Bolton Valley. Skiers and rider will bump into people at ski areas across the country who have made their first turns at Bolton.
Smugglers’ Notch Resort
Smugglers’ Notch Ski and Snowboard Club (SNSC), headquartered at the base of Smugglers’ Notch Resort’s Sterling Mountain, has been the training ground for the ski careers of Olympians, National Team members, pro ski racers and college athletes since its 1959 founding. SNSC became a not-for-profit organization in 1975, and the club currently offers training and competitive opportunities in alpine skiing, freestyle skiing and snowboarding. The club’s Extreme Ski Challenge, hosted in March and now in its fifth year, attracts a full field of competitors ready to take on some of Smugglers’ gnarliest terrain. (www.snscvt.com)
Suicide Six Ski Area/Woodstock Inn
Located just north of Woodstock in the village of Pomfret, Suicide Six enjoys a strong history of ski racing. The FISK Cup FIS Slalom, held each February, is the longest running FIS race in the U.S. Past winners of the FISK Cup include many U.S. Ski Team Members and Olympians.
Suicide Six is the home of Woodstock Ski Runners, the oldest ski club in the East. Founded in 1932, Ski Runners offers many alpine and nordic training programs that have produced state and regional medalists. Many Ski Runners skiers have helped Woodstock Union High School win several Vermont State Championships.
Quechee Ski Area
As a member of the United States Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) and the Mid-Vermont Council of the Vermont Alpine Racing Association (VARA), the Quechee Ski Team participates in racing events with teams from Killington, Middlebury, Okemo, Pico and Suicide Six. Quechee hosts four to six USSA and VARA-sanctioned races during the season.