I have found a new “pet peeve” this ski season. Regular readers of this column may remember for the past couple of seasons my “pet peeve” has been people who don’t look up the hill before starting down the trail! That’s number 4 on the Skiers Responsibility Code!  It’s not that people have improved in regard to that rule, I’ve just gotten so used to it that I don’t get as upset when it happens. I’ve even started doing it myself! Oops!

My new “pet peeve” is people who block the entrance to the lift mazes, particularly on the Quad. I’m not talking about when the lift lines overflow the maze, but when the mazes are almost empty. I assume it’s someone waiting for their buddy, or their family, or their high school reunion! Anyway, it is frustrating to have to navigate through a maze of stationary people just to get into the maze. There is an easy solution for those who want to regroup before getting in line: just stop at least 10-15 feet from the maze to leave room for others to get in line.

Well enough complaining!

I received some good feedback on my Perry Merrill column from Brian Lindner. Brian Lindner is a real historian who has a personal tie to the Perry Merrill story. Brian says, “Perry hired my father away from MMSP to Forest and Parks in 1947 and that’s how I got to grow up in the Mansfield Base Lodge.”

I had indicated that today’s Perry Merrill was not in the same location as the original, but Brian corrected that.

“The current Perry Merrill Trail does indeed follow the original location.  In 1968 it was just widened to its current appearance.  It originally started at the base of the turns on Nose Dive then mostly followed what we now call Rim Rock – although there was once a short uphill section.  I remember skiing it as a kid….missing trees, stumps, rocks and even climbing over open ditches.  It was a hike to get back to the Single.  That was REAL Vermont skiing.”

On to this week’s topic. This February marked the 30th anniversary of the 1994 Winter Olympics. The games were held in Lillehammer, Norway, and were the first winter games held out of phase with the summer games.

Norway had hosted the winter Olympics once before back in 1952 in Oslo. At those Olympics, 28 countries participated in the alpine skiing events which consisted of Downhill, GS, and Slalom for men and women. Those were the games where Stein Eriksen would win gold and launch a career that made him one of the most famous skiers of all time. On the women’s side, Vermonter Andrea Mead Lawrence would win double gold.

In 1994 there were 46 countries represented in alpine skiing and the number of alpine events had expanded to five for each men and women with the addition of Super G and Combined. The United States fared reasonable well in the medal count, second only to the host country Norway. Granted that second place was a tie among four countries.

For the U.S., Tommy Moe won gold in the downhill and silver in the Super G. Diann Roffe won gold in the Super G and Picabo Street won silver in the Downhill.

 The 1994 Olympics were the high point of Tommy Moe’s ski racing career. He would continue racing and go to the 1998 Olympics with respectable results, but no medals. After retiring from racing, Moe founded the Tordrillo Mountain Lodge in Alaska which features heli-skiing, fishing, and hiking. Moe now lives in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where he serves as a Ski Guide and Special Ambassador for the resort.

Diann Roffe is a Burke Mountain Academy graduate who served notice at age 17 when she won the GS at the 1985 World Championships. She would compete in three Olympics 1988, 1992, and 1994. She won a silver medal in GS at the 1992 Olympics and the gold in Lillehammer. Roffe retired from racing after the 1994 season and turned to coaching. In 2019 she returned to Burke Mountain Academy to head up their junior skiing program.

Picabo Street came by her unique name in a unique way. Born in Idaho, her parents had decided not to give her a name at birth, but wait until she was old enough to name herself. However when she was three and they needed a name for a passport application, they used the name of a nearby town, Picabo! Picabo would compete in three Olympics 1994, 1998, and 2002. She followed up her Lillehammer silver in downhill with a gold in Super G in 1998. She is now the expert analyst for the NBC coverage of alpine skiing, if you can find it on TV!