In Vermont, it has been about turning the tables since superstorm Sandy devastated the coastal region of the United States from New Jersey to Connecticut in late October. It was just over a year ago (Aug. 31, 2011) that Hurricane Irene tracked inland up the Green Mountain Valley, causing some of the worst flooding many natives ever had seen.
A strong part of the relief effort, according to Parker Riehle , director of the Vermont Ski Areas Association, came from those regions that received the brunt of Sandy’s impact. Organized in Boston during the ski show, Operation Mountains of Love is raising funds, 100 percent of which go to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund for victims of Sandy.
“Our friends are going through something that Vermont knows all too well,” Riehle said in a release. “When Irene hit us last year, New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut rallied to support Vermont – they had our backs. Now, it’s our turn to rally for them and we want them to know we have their backs as they do the difficult work of bouncing back.”
At the show, skiers and riders took advantage of deeply discounted lift tickets to Vermont areas and even pints of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream in turn for donations made to the Red Cross.
For further information regarding Vermont’s relief effort, go to skivermont.com.
Jeff Kuller, director of Parks and Recreation in Camden, Maine, including Camden Snow Bowl, died Nov. 4 from injuries he suffered while cutting a tree limb on his property. While running Camden, Kuller made significant advances to the snowmaking system and the Learn to Ski Program. Memorial donations in his name can be made to Ragged Mountain Recreation Foundation, P.O. Box 438, Camden, Maine, 04843 . . . This weekend, Birds of Prey in Beaver Creek, Colo., is hosting the World Cup races. Travis Ganong of the United States turned in the fastest time in the downhill training run Wednesday. The first racer out of the gate, Ganong flew through the course in 1 minute, 41.38 seconds, a time that held up the rest of the afternoon. He edged Siegmar Klotz of Italy by 0.29 seconds. Joachim Puchner of Austria was third. The downhill is scheduled for Friday.
Marolt to retire
Bill Marolt, the veteran CEO of the US Ski and Snowboard Association, announced his retirement Monday. He will leave USSA in spring 2014 when he reaches age 70. Marolt joined USSA in 1996 after serving as athletic director at the University of Colorado. He drew attention — and some sneers — when he issued a challenge to US snowsports athletes to become “the best in the world”, a slogan the team carried into the Salt Lake Olympics in 2002, where the team, especially in boarding, began winning medals at an unprecedented rate for the US. By 2010 in Vancouver, at world championships and through many World Cup events, Marolt’s vision seemed well justified, as the US had established itself in all snowsports. Marolt said in a release, “Today our eyes remain squarely focused on preparing for Sochi 2014, ensuring that we have a world-class support system for developing athletes and building a stronger financial base for the USSA.”
Six make Hall
The US Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame elected six new members at the beginning of the competitive season. Freestyler pioneer Wayne Wong and freestyle moguls champion Jeremy Bloom were among the new members. Others included Kirsten Clark, the racer from Sugarloaf in Maine who skied on the US team for 13 years, winning 12 national titles and appearing in three Olympic games, with eight World Cup podiums and a world championship silver medal in Super-G. Also elected were Craig Kelly, a winner of four snowboard titles in the sport’s early days, the third boarder to be elected to the Hall of Fame, and Horst Abraham, an Austrian native who reformed the way US coaches taught ski racing. Beginning with the famed Aspen Ski School, then Vail, Abraham eventually became education vice president of the Professional Ski Instructors of America and is credited with beginning the American Teaching Method that impacted generations of US skiers and racers. The final honoree was Hans Geier, a leading manager and developer of ski areas across the country for 30 years.