Vermont is a Breeding Ground for Top Snowsport Competitors
Vermont produces more Winter Olympians per capita than any other state in the U.S. Nineteen athletes with Vermont ties made their way to Sochi in February 2014 to compete for their country and six of them took home medals. 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. It isn’t the first time that Vermont athletes dominated the podium.
Here are some winning facts:
- Kelly Clark, a Mount Snow Academy graduate, 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. A now three-time Olympic medalist, Kelly has had over 60 career wins, and over 100 podium visits in her career.
- Three of four US gold medals in the history of women’s slalom racing belong to Vermont-trained racers: Andrea Mead Lawrence of Pico Mountain took home the Slalom and Giant Slalom Gold in 1952 and Barbara Ann Cochran of Cochran’s Ski Area won also won the Slalom Gold in 1972. Mikaela Shiffrin, a graduate of Burke Mountain Academy, won Gold in the Women’s Slalom in the 2014 Olympics.
- 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. Hannah Kearney, a Norwich, VT native and 2-time World Cup Champion, brought home the Gold Medal in 2010 and the Bronze in 2014 in Women’s Moguls.
- Devin Logan, a Mount Snow Academy graduate, won Silver in the first ever Olympic Women’s Ski Slopestyle competition at the 2014 Olympics.
- Ross Powers, of Stratton training, led the U.S. sweep of the men’s half pipe competition at the 2002 Olympics, taking the Gold.
- Nick Goepper, another Mount Snow prodigy, competed in his first Olympics in 2014, bringing home a Bronze in Men’s Ski Slopestyle.
- Rising competitor and Stowe snowboarder, Ty Walker, secured a spot on the 2014 Olympic snowboarding team and won the first-ever FIS World Cup women's big air event in Istanbul in 2015.
- Okemo Mountain School alumni include Snowboarder Hannah Teter, Snowboarder Kevin Pearce, Snowboarder Danny Kass, Alpine Racer Julia Ford, Freeskier Jen Hudak and more.
- Four Olympic medals, 36 Olympians and 93 national team athletes have called Stratton Mountain and Stratton Mountain School home, including snowboarders Danny Davis, Louie Vito, Jack Mitrani, Lindsey Jacobellis, Ross Powers, Alex Deibold and Nordic skier Andy Newell.
- Native Vermonter’s are currently at the core of the best women’s cross country ski team in U.S. history: Ida Sargent, Sophie Caldwell and Liz Stephen hold three of the six spots on team. Two others have roots in Vermont.
And the list goes on and on…
Vermont leads the nation with more ski and snowboard academies than any other ski state. Vermont’s seven statewide ski and snowboard academies and unrivaled terrain clearly put athletes to the test and prepare them for the highest level of 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.”
Learn more about the athletes, schools and programs at Vermont’s resorts:
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 academics and athletics. Devo is a weekend program strictly focused on alpine and 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.
Stratton Mountain Resort
Stratton Mountain Resort is home to the Stratton Mountain School (SMS). 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 and innovative training programs in alpine and Nordic ski racing, freeskiing 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 and Nordic skier Andy Newell.
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.
Q Burke Mountain
Q Burke Mountain Resort is honored to be associated with the first-of-its-kind ski academy in the United States which established a model all others would follow. More than 40 years later, Burke Mountain Academy is the leading ski racing academy having produced numerous national team members and Olympians along the way. Most recent graduate is 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.
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 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. 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.
Stowe Mountain Resort
Home to the Mount Mansfield Winter Academy, Stowe Mountain Resort is the training ground for Ty Walker, who has been a rising snowboarding talent since she was seven. In the last three years, the 17-year-old has moved from 16th to eighth on the World Snowboard Tour ranking and continues to progress the sport with explosive riding and one of the best backside 720s in the business.
Walker came into the 2014 season strong, landing just shy of the podium in fourth place at the Sprint U.S. Grand Prix in Copper. Then she pegged down a third-place finish at the first Sprint U.S. Grand Prix in Mammoth and secured her spot on the first Olympic slopestyle snowboarding team. Ty made her mark in 2015 by winning the first-ever FIS World Cup women's big air event in Istanbul.
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 like 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.
Middlebury College Snow Bowl
The Snow Bowl is the training site for the nationally competitive Middlebury College Alpine Ski Team, as is Rikert Nordic Center for the college Nordic team, and the highlight of the past season was Rob Cone, a sophomore from Killington, winning the NCAA GS race at Whiteface. Another Vermonter, Chris McKenna from Quechee, placed third in the same race giving the Middlebury men’s team the team GS championship.
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. The club’s Extreme Ski Challenge, now in its fourth year, attracts a full field of competitors ready to take on some of Smugglers’ gnarliest terrain.
Killington Resort & Pico Mountain
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.
The Quechee Club
The Quechee Ski Team is a very robust race program run at Quechee Ski Area and many competitors who began in Quechee, have moved on to larger programs and collegiate skiing.
The Quechee Alpine Ski Club is an opportunity for children ages 7 to 18 to participate in alpine ski racing. Led by an experienced coaching staff, the Quechee Ski Team is for children who love to ski and provides them with the chance to improve their skiing skills, while also learning how to race. There’s no racing experience required to join the team, but skiers need to be comfortable skiing all types of terrain. Younger skiers must be able to get on and off the chairlift unassisted.
Rikert Nordic Center
The Rikert Nordic Center offers over 55 kilometers of varied and scenic trails for cross-country skiers and is the training ground for Middlebury College Nordic competitors. Thirteen Middlebury Nordic skiers have competed at the Olympics, including three who competed in multiple Olympics.
In 2011, a generous gift from the Tormondsen family, enabled the center to complete a five-kilometer trail that has been certified for competition at the highest level by skiing’s governing body, the Fédération Internationale de Ski (FIS). The College has completed an ambitious plan to add snowmaking to that trail, allowing Middlebury College skiers to use the trails no matter what Mother Nature has in mind.