Andrea Mead Lawrence, the first American to win two Olympic gold medals in skiing, learned her craft at Pico Peak in Vermont, the ski area her parents, Brad and Janet, opened on Thanksgiving Day 1937.
This season, to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Pico, now owned by Killington, the area has sold lift tickets for $19.37 over five days (the last day is Thursday), and $75 unrestricted season passes for students from kindergarten to Grade 12.
The Meads started with a single rope tow in 1937, then grew the area into a Vermont classic with a fiercely loyal following. In 1952, Andrea, age 19, went to the Olympic Winter Games in Oslo at a time when Americans were not noticed for international ski racing results. Having skied four years before as a 15-year-old in St. Moritz, Switzerland, Mead skied to the gold in slalom and giant slalom in ’52, then appeared in one more Winter Games, placing fourth in 1956 in the giant slalom in Cortina, Italy. She was inducted into the US Skiing Hall of Fame in 1958.
After Mead Lawrence’s father died in the early ’40s, her mother kept Pico going until the mid-’50s, when she sold it. Janet Mead died in 1990, and Mead Lawrence died in 2009 at age 76. Pico’s 75th anniversary will be celebrated throughout the season.
Warmer New England winters could cost ski resorts millions of dollars, according to a report last week by the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental group. The report, titled “Climate Impacts on the Winter Tourism Economy in the United States,” claimed that warmer winters have cost an estimated $1 billion and 27,000 winter tourism jobs across 38 states over the last decade.
“In the many US states that rely on winter tourism, climate change is expected to contribute to warmer winters, reduced snowfall, and shorter snow seasons,” said Elizabeth Burakowski, a University of New Hampshire researcher and co-author of the report.
The US Ski and Snowboarding Association named 15 athletes to the 2013 snowboardcross team. The team is led by a pair of New England veterans, Seth Wescott of Sugarloaf, Maine, and Lindsey Jacobellis of Stratton, Vt.
The team was named following last week’s event in Telluride, Colo. Other team members include Olympians Nate Holland (Squaw Valley, Calif.), Nick Baumgartner (Iron River, Mich.), Callan Chythlook-Sifsof (Girdwood, Alaska), and Ross Powers (Stratton, Vt.).
Taking a step back
Just five victories short of becoming the winningest woman in World Cup skiing history, Lindsey Vonn shed more light on her decision to take time off from the tour, which she has dominated for the last five years.
Last Friday in a downhill race in Val d’Isere, France, Vonn suffered an uncharacteristic fall, then announced she had to take some time to work on her strength following a recent hospitalization for a severe intestinal illness.
After the fall, Vonn posted the following on her Facebook page: “Hit a rock on my left ski and skied off course . . . struggling to find energy I usually have . . . going to think hard over the next few days about my plan for the coming weeks and how to get strong again. Trying to stay positive.”
Two days after that post, Vonn’s coach, Alex Hoedlmoser told the Associated Press that Vonn was leaving the circuit and heading back to the US, at least until January.
“She’s going home for now,” Hoedlmoser said. “The plan is to get her back strong . . . With the way the schedule has been and all the travel, she just hasn’t had a chance to get back to strength.”
With 57 World Cup victories, Vonn is second to Austrian Annemarie Moser-Proll, who had 62 before retiring in 1980.