SkiVT Press Room/

Vermont is the Top Breeding Ground for Winter Athletes

Mogul medalist Hannah Kearney, cross country ski competitors Ida Sargent, Sophie Caldwell and Liz Stephen, biathlon athlete Susan Dunklee are honored at the Vermont statehouse along with 14 other Vermont Olympians.
Olympian Nolan Kasper trains at Sugarbush
Ashley Maxfield holds the future in her hands at Jay Peak.
Start them young at the Hermitage Training Center

Vermont produces more US Winter Olympians per capita than any other state by a long shot. Nineteen athletes with Vermont ties made their way to Sochi in February 2014 to compete for their country. That said, it’s not only the number of Olympians from Vermont that is impressive, it’s the quality. Six Vermont athletes took home medals from the 2014 Olympic games in Sochi. That is 6 out of 28 total medals for the USA, meaning 21% of the winning athletes have Vermont roots. Not bad for a little New England state of only 625,000 inhabitants.

Here are the winning facts:

  1. Mikaela Shiffrin, a graduate of Burke Mountain Academy, won Gold in the Women’s Slalom.
  2. Devin Logan, a Mount Snow Academy graduate, won Silver in the first ever Olympic Women’s Ski Slopestyle competition.
  3. Kelly Clark, another Mount Snow Academy graduate, won the Bronze in the Women’s Snowboard Halfpipe.
  4. Hannah Kearney, a Norwich, VT native, former Gold Medalist and 2-time World Cup champion, brought home the Bronze in Women’s Moguls.
  5. Alex Deibold, a Stratton Mountain School graduate, won Bronze in the Men’s Snowboard Cross.
  6. Nick Goepper, yet another Mount Snow prodigy, competed in his first Olympics bringing home a Bronze in Men’s Ski Slopestyle.

And there is more.

Shiffrin is one of four US women to ever stand at the top of the Olympic podium for the Slalom race. Two of the other 3 also hail from Vermont: Andrea Mead Lawrence of Pico Mountain in 1952 (She took home the GS title, too.) and Barbara Ann Cochran of Cochran’s Ski Area in 1972. 

Kelly Clark of Mount Snow is the most decorated snowboarder in the history of snowboarding, male or female. A now three-time Olympic medalist, Kelly has had over 60 career wins, and over 100 podium visits in her career.

On top of grabbing podiums in alpine skiing and snowboarding, Vermont sent some of the strongest contenders in Nordic skiing and Biathlon, like cross country ski competitors Ida Sargent, Sophie Caldwell and Liz Stephen, biathlon athlete Susan Dunklee, and others. They along with Hannah Kearney, they were honored by Vermont’s Governor Shumlin at the Vermont statehouse for their strong performance at the 2014 Olympics. Read more about it here.

Clearly Vermont’s ski and snowboard academies and terrain are putting athletes to the test and preparing them for high level competition, but the strong ski and snowboard community is also to credit for instilling pride and positivity that these athletes can take anywhere in the world. 

Take it from Silver medalist, Devin Logan. "Skiing in Vermont builds a great strong foundation to become a skier (or snowboarder) that can handle any kind of conditions. Without my Vermont skiing roots, I wouldn't be where I am today. If you can ski the east, you can ski anything! Vermont is my home and it is always the best to come home to, and I have felt an overwhelming sense of love and support coming out of Vermont the last month and beyond.”

Learn more about the athletes, schools and programs at Vermont’s resorts:

Sugarbush Resort

U.S. Ski Team member and Olympian Nolan Kasper is a sponsored athlete of Sugarbush and grew up in the Mad River Valley. He was a 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. Adventure Skier and Warren Miller Film Star John Egan is on-staff at Sugarbush and available for private lessons and cat skiing adventures. World Cup Champion Freestyler David Babic skis at Sugarbush with his family, and offers occasional freestyle camps and consultation to Sugarbush’s freestyle team. U.S. Telemark Ski Team member Mark Haberle is also a sponsored athlete at Sugarbush and his hometown is Waitsfield, VT.

Stratton Mountain Resort

The roster of riders who got their start at Stratton reads like a who’s who of snowboarding with Ross Powers and Lindsey Jacobellis bringing home Olympic medals. Both athletes graduated from Stratton Mountain School, where Powers today runs the snowboard program. As the first ski academy accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, SMS has a strong of tradition of rigorous academics and comprehensive and innovative training programs in alpine and Nordic ski racing and snowboarding, including SMS T2, the elite Nordic ski team. In the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, SMS sent a total of 13 athletes.

Stowe Mountain Resort

Spurred on by the dedication and talents of Sepp Ruschp and CV Starr in the 1930’s, Stowe has spawned amateur ski organizations that have consistently produced world-class athletes.

As recently as this year (2014), Stowe sent a ‘homegrown’ snowboarder to the winter Olympics in Russia. Sixteen year-old Ty Walker represented the U.S. on the Woman’s Snowboard Team in the discipline of Slopestyle.

Some other notables include: Skiing – Billy Kidd, Chip Knight, Tiger Shaw, Peter Ruschp, Tanner Rainville, Jimmy Cochran and Ron Biederman. Snowboarding – Bud Keene, Jenner Richards, Zach Leach, Kyle Clancy, Travis Kennedy, Jake Blauvelt and Colin Langlois.

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. SNSC started in 1959 as the Madonna Racing Team back when Smugglers’ Notch was known as Madonna Mountain. Well-known ski coach Mickey Cochran along with his sons and daughters formed the racing team. This unique family-oriented program offered the highest quality training and coaching at an inexpensive rate. In 1975 SNSC became a not-for-profit organization with the goal to provide competitive skiing opportunities to youth, and the club currently offers training and competitive opportunities in alpine skiing, freestyle skiing and snowboarding.

Okemo Mountain Resort

Okemo cheered on a couple of its hometown heroes in the 2014 Olympics. Hannah Teter and Julia Ford made the Resort proud. Many young athletes got their start at Okemo and Okemo Mountain School, a unique life experience and unparalleled educational opportunity for motivated student-athletes with a passion for learning and snowsports competition. A winter-term academy for alpine ski racing, snowboarding, and freestyle skiing athletes who wish to train full time in their sport without compromising rigorous academic study, OMS is an independent school approved by the Vermont State Board of Education for grades 5 through 12. The school welcomes applicants with a desire to achieve their personal best academically and athletically.

Mount Snow Resort

Mount Snow is home to Mount Snow Academy (MSA) and the Mount Snow Development Program (Devo), both of which have turned out some of the top snowsports athletes in the world. MSA is a full-time winter program that balances acedemics and athletics. Devo is a weekend program strictly focused on alpine a freestyle sports. Alumni of these programs include 2014 Olympic silver medalist, Devin Logan; Kelly Clark, the most successful snowboarder in the history of the sport; Eliza Outtrim, finalist in women’s moguls at the 2014 Winter Olympics; Parker White, pro freestyle skier; Chris Logan, pro freestyle skier, and many others.

Magic Mountain

Magic has growing alpine racing, free-ride, and snow board programs. Magic athletes have over the past three seasons moved up the result sheets and are now frequently standing on the podium. Magic, with some of the best terrain in the State, is the host of numerous VARA races, college races, and is one of four areas where the Ski The East Tour holds their events. Our motto is, “If you want to become a great skier, come ski at a great mountain.”

Mad River Glen

Mad River Glen tends to attract some pretty accomplished skiers so it stands to reason that when these folks “go forth and multiply” their progeny tend to be pretty good themselves. MRG trained athletes Lars and Silas Chickering-Ayers both completed the Freeskiing World Tour and have won numerous events and series titles. Mad River Glen Race team alumni Sandy Vietz and brothers Danny and Drew Duffy are current members of the US Ski Team.

Jay Peak Resort

Ever heard of Ashely Maxfield? You’re going to. After playing soccer and rugby in college, this Northeast Kingdom girl decided to take that type of tenacity and unleash it into the world of Big Mountain skiing. This daughter of a Jay Peak ski patroller has spent the last two seasons on the podium of the Freeride World Tour and expects to grab the top spot this winter.

The Hermitage Club

The Hermitage Club offers specialized programs that are designed for intermediate to advanced skiers and riders that will develop and sharpen all-mountain skills and techniques. These 15 week programs feature expert coaches that will take anyone’s skiing or riding to the next level. 

The Hermitage Club Training Center is focused on youth development in Alpine Ski Racing. Children in the program will be coached in small groups consisting of kids within their age range with one coach dedicated to their improvement as all-mountain skiers and as young racers. 

 

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