|2013 Hall of Fame Induction|
Sverre Caldwell, a graduate of The Putney School and Dartmouth College '77, joined the Stratton Mountain School (SMS) in 1980 as the Head Nordic Coach. Only the second Nordic Coach since the school opened in 1972, Caldwell has shaped this program into a nationally recognized leader in preparing athletes for all levels of competition. To date, he has coached at least 28 junior world team members, 17 national team members, 12 Olympians and has had at least one World Junior Team member and one Junior National Champion for 14 straight years. The USSA recognized him as Coach of the Year in 2001, 2003, and 2009. The SMS program received the Roger Weston Award honoring the top girls and boys high school programs in 2008, 2009 and 2010. He has coached the US Olympic team (1988), US World Junior Championships (2000, 2002, 2010), and the New England Coach team to US Junior Olympics 14 times.
During his youth in Innsbruck, Austria, Emo Henrich (1922-2009) developed skills as a painter, engineer, climber, singer, ski instructor, and racer; he brought these talents with him to Stratton, Vermont. In 1961, Emo came to newly-opened Stratton Mountain to build the ski school where he and his wife Annedore also ran the Birkenhaus Lodge. For twenty six years, he provided an unforgettable experience to Stratton visitors by hiring world-renowned Austrian ski instructors and by performing Tyrolean folk music with the Stratton Mountain Boys. The Henrichs employed Jake Burton while he was developing his snowboard prototypes, helped in organizing the World Cup Races held at Stratton in 1978 and in founding the Stratton Mountain School. Although Emo and Anne relocated to Austria in 1986, Emo's spirit and dedication have been annually reemembered by the Stratton Foundation's Emo Henrich Award which recognizes impact on Stratton through professional excellence and exemplary community service.
Fred Pabst, Jr.'s (1899-1977) passion for skiing and vision of a future ski industry pushed him to leave the family business back in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and strike out on his own. That vision combined with his energy and ambition contributed to the development of the ski industry and set standards for later ski areas. He opened his first area in Quebec in 1935 under Ski Tows, Ltd., and at one point in the late 1930s, operated 25 different lifts throughout Canada, New England, and the Midwest. Economics forced him to consolidate, and he focused his resources on Big Bromley in Vermont in 1938. Bromley remained opened during WWII and Pabst was instrumental in promoting skiing during this time of rationing and limited resources. Before grooming machines in the 1940's, Pabst cleared trees and rocks from his slopes, then seeded rye grasses to smooth out the ground so that he could boast that skiing on his mountain required as few as four inches of snow. Bromley was first to provide full mountain access using the J-Bar and was among the first of Vermont ski areas to begin installing chair lifts. Recognizing how inconsistent snowfall affected business, Pabst made a huge investment in snowmaking and was the first with top to bottom snowmaking ability. He implemented state-certified slope side childcare as part of his goal for a family ski mountain. Pabst was inducted into the US Ski Hall of Fame in 1969 and received the National Ski Writer's Golden Quill Award in 1974.
Ross Powers, considered "snowboarding's first child prodigy", attended his first U.S. Open at the age 9, competed in nationals the next year and was a world champion before his 18th birthday. While a student at Stratton Mountain School, Powers won the halfpipe Gold Medal at the 1996 FIS Snowboarding World Championship. At the 1998 Winter Olympic Games in Nagano, Japan, Powers earned a Bronze medal for his performance in the Halfpipe. Later in 1998 he won two gold medals at the Winter X Games. In 2000 he established himself as the best halfpipe rider on the pro circuit, winning at the Winter Goodwill Games, at the Gravity Games, and the World Championship. At the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics, Powers won gold in the halfpipe. In 2001, he formed the Ross Powers Foundation with a commitment to offering assistance to promising athletes with financial need, following the belief that one's opportunity to achieve excellence in sport should not be limited by their economic situation. Powers grew up in Londonderry, Vermont, learned to snowboard at Bromley, and served as Okemo's Snowboard Ambassador before returning as the Snowboarding Program Director at SMS in 2010.
Charles Bird (CB) Vaughan, Jr., a downhill skier by training, launched CB Sports after designing and producing a pair of warm-up pants, the Super Pants, for ski racers and selling them from his car. Finding success with his 1969 pants design, he added a hat, shell and parka in 1970. By 1975, sales hit the $1 million mark. By the 1990s, CB Sports had 450 employees, 6 retail stores, and 850 dealers; but Vaughan had sold in the late 1980s. In 2003, the company reorganized under CB Sports Holdings Limited with CB Vaughan taking a role in rebuilding the brand. He grew up in Manchester, Vermont and skiing for Vermont Academy and St. Lawrence University. Vaughan set the World Speed Skiing Record in 1963 going 105.285mph. A stint on the European pro tour and then at AMF brought him back to Vermont where he aimed to make durable ski clothing; the clothing became iconic.
In the early 90's while professional halfpipe riding was still in its infancy Hinesburg, Vermont's Jeff Brushie was literally head and shoulders above the pack. With his uncanny ability to maximize airtime, seemingly effortless trick execution and stylish flair both on and off the slopes Brushie put New England on the freestyle snowboarding map and signaled the arrival of skate-inspired new school trickery to the top of the podium. Jeff's fluidity was infectious and kids from coast to coast would crouch, sprock and poke off every bump they could find in homage to Brushie. Winning the overall World Cup for halfpipe in 1990 solidified Jeff's place as a snowboarding superstar and iconic pro model boards soon followed only adding to how immensely influential Jeff Brushie was to the snowboarding aesthetic. Today tricks pioneered by Jeff Brushie are performed at an Olympic level yet few riders since have been able to do them with as much style.
Today they would reverently be referred to as outliers, yet three decades ago, the individuals who pioneered snowboarding in the Green Mountains were for the most part considered outcasts. The handful of hills that welcomed these non-conformists became ground zero for a movement that would eventually be celebrated for saving the winter sports industry.
In 1985 a group of High School kids from Northern Vermont saw advertisements for snowboards in their BMX and skateboarding magazines and soon started schussing the toboggan hills and golf courses of the Champlain Valley standing sideways on shred sleds. Once resorts like Sugarbush, Jay Peak, Stowe and Bolton Valley opened their doors to riders this pastime transitioned into a lifestyle and a brotherhood was born. To many in the alpine establishment the acceptance of snowboarding was largely probationary. From the liftline to the cafeteria to the cat track launches that provided the sought after opportunity to get some air every riders actions were scrutinized and the only respite from this judgment came from your fellow snowboarders in turn fostering a deep bond. Inspired by the Mount Baker Hardcore on the West Coast, one of the group, Josh Brownlee, hand drew Vermont Slope Posse, a moniker that merged hip-hop with riding, on sweatshirts and the crew forever had their colors. Other lettermen joining Josh to fill out the VTSP ranks were Cole Bouchett, Matt Lawrence, Greg Manning, Kris Swierz and Jeff Brushie. Rallying up and down Route 100 the VTSP became renowned for their technical skills and new school style. The crew's fame soon spread across New England and eventually the world on the pages of International Snowboard Magazine, Transworld Snowboarding and Snowboarder Magazine. In addition to consistently having a presence on the podium at the US Open, the New England Cup and the PSTA Pro Tour, the VTSP alongside four-time US Open Champion Andy "Dog" Coghlan held several camps a year at resorts like Killington, Bromley and Bolton in turn intimately raising the level of local riding talent beyond their sect.
Putting words and letters together made the VTSP's ties something tangible. Though snowboarding is a personal endeavor it is also a social one. Just as the Vermont Slope Posse and The Mount Baker Hardcore acknowledged the common ground they shared with their onhill community by creating close-knit cliques, future generations of snowboarders would also band together as The Farmington Crew, The SFK, The Frends, The Grenerds, The Wildcats, RK1, The CoBrah's, The ARA, Lick The Cat, The Trulli Clan, Aesthetiker, The Skids, The Gremlins and more. While snowboarding is no longer the outlaw fraternity it was once labeled as, there is still a desire to celebrate the intimate bonds sown on the cold slopes in a way that only insiders can know. This is why the cryptic symbols sharpied alongside sponsor logos on top sheets may have changed, but the relationships these characters represent remains timeless.
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