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2006 Vermont Ski Museum Hall of Fame Inductions

Roland Palmedo

Roland Palmedo (1895-1977)

Roland Palmedo devoted his greatest energies to encouraging people to share his greatest passion, the sport of skiing.

  • Writer
  • Investment banker
  • Pioneer aviator
  • Versatile sportsman

 Click here to hear Ken Quackenbush discuss Roland Palmedo.



Marilyn Shaw McMahon (1924-1989)

Marilyn Shaw McMahonAt age 16, the youngest woman in history on the US Ski Team; original Mt. Mansfield Ski Club member, spirited Vermonter, 1940 Olympian.

Born as the winter sports craze was coming to Stowe, she was Stowe's "snow baby," believing snow was something Heaven sent, just to support skis.

Born Burlington VT May 28, 1924 to Gale and Theresa Shaw.

  • American girls debut in Europe in 1935
  • 1938 at national championships on Nose Dive Betty Woolsey saw Marilyn ski and recognized a "comer" when she placed 7 th at 13 years old and with only 3 years of ski experience, she invited MS to train
  • American Ski Annual 1940 "Marilyn Shaw skied extremely well to win the combined National championship, although she won neither the slalom nor the downhill. She also won the giant slalom at Mt. Tremblant, the NH State slalom at Plymouth, and the Sugar Slalom at Stowe. From her record it appears that, like Cristl Cranz, she is a slalom specialist and a very steady runner. She should be an example to every young skier in her steadiness and in the lack of recklessness in her downhill running." Elizabeth Woolsey
  • April 1940 "Girl of the Month" by Youth Magazine
  • Trained under Friedl Pfieffer in Sun Valley
  • "Those that haven't climbed on the Marilyn Shaw band wagon had better start climbing. In the meantime don't forget some credit to Sepp Ruschp who taught her a great deal of what she knows."
  • Becomes National Combined Champion on her 16 th birthday "Miss Shaw is considered by sports writers as the most consistent woman skier taking part in the National contests. This is more remarkable due to Miss Shaw's age. Sun Valley Idaho will not soon forget this little Vermont school girl who carried off the honors."
  • 1941 and 42 win NH and VT state slalom championships; 1942 enters Wellesley College
  • Marilyn skis for Sonja Henie in Sun Valley Serenade April 1941 and in Ski Three
  • 1952 falls and breaks both legs, end of career
  • Engaged to Aviation Cadet Edward R McMahon of Morrisville and in 1944 marries on post chapel of Matthew Field in Sacramento CA
  • US Ski Hall of Fame in 1986

Click here to hear Ann Shaw Savela reflect on Marilyn McMahon Shaw.

Perry H. Merrill (1894-1993)

Perry MerrillVermont State Forester (1930-1966) - negotiated state land leases to ski area developers; Administered Vermont CCC (1933 - 1942) who built ski area and state park infrastructures.

Often called the patron saint of the ski industry in Vermont, Merrill was third on the Rutland Herald's list of most influential Vermonters of the 20 th century.

The Man who Put Vermont on Skis

  • 1894 Born in Westport, NY
  • 1917 Graduated from NY State College of Forestry at Syracuse
  • 1917 - 1919 Served in France in WWI as ambulance driver
  • 1920 - 1921 Studied as a Fellow of the American Scandinavian Foundation at the Royal College of Forestry in Stockholm, Sweden
  • 1921 - 1924 Served as District Forester in Vermont
  • 1924 Earned Master Degree in Forestry at Yale
  • 1924 - 1929 Assistant State Forester in Vermont
  • 1930 Appointed State Forester of Vermont
  • 1933 - 1942 Supervised the CCC in VT
  • 1935 Mayor of Montpelier
  • 1942 - 1945 President of the National Association of State Foresters
  • 1955 Director of Vermont Forest and Parks
  • 1957 Elected Fellow of the Society of American Foresters
  • 1964 The 30 th Anniversary of Skiing : an award in recognition of his distinguished service to skiing
  • 1966 Retired as Commissioner of Forests and Parks
  • 1975 Published Vermont Under Four Flags
  • 1981 Published Roosevelt's Forest Army
  • 1984 Published The Making of a Forester
  • 1987 Published Vermont Skiing

Click here to hear Forester Brian Stone reflect on Perry Merrill's role in Vermont.

Betsy Snite Riley (1938-1984)

Betsy Snite Riley1956, 1960 Olympian from Norwich, Vermont; 1960 Olympic slalom silver medalist; ski fashion consultant; owner Betsy Snite Sports, Stowe, Vermont.

"We had to do it ourselves. Train alone. Depend on yourself. There was no real national team. My father was my coach and a neighbor was my trainer."

Learned to ski on Cemetery Hill in Norwich, VT, and with Ford K. Sayre Memorial ski program. When she got too good, she trained with the Dartmouth ski team

  • Named to 68 member US FIS Training Squad for 1954
  • 1956 The Helms Athletic Foundation of LA CA has named Olympian Betsy Snite of Norwich, VT Junior Woman Skier of the Year of 55 and presented her with the Andrea Mead Lawrence Award in absentia
  • Youngest member of the 1956 Olympic team, but ends up out with an injury, coached by Friedl Pfieffer
  • Ski October 1958 Headline "Pitou and Snite Wine Late-Season Triumphs" - post FIS girls stay in Europe and by the end Snite and Pitou sweeping the GS The official Austrian Ski Association publication called them "in a class by themselves."
  • 1958 - captain of the US FIS's women's team
  • 1958 - offered a job with Bogner so she can stay in Europe and train
  • 1958 - won Alberg-Kanadahar Slalom and in 1959
  • March 1959 - Grindelwald Penny and Betsy finish 1-2, described as "two of the very best women skiers in the world."
  • 1959 - Betsy Snite wins USEASA slalom crown (1958 published in 1959 annual)
  • Jan 1960 - Lucille Wheeler writing "For a girl, I think a coach is extremely important, and if possible, to train under the same one for a few seasons. Our teams in the past have had new coaches for each Olympics or World Championships. By the time the coach and the competitor understood each other, the winter was at an end." "the terrain for the women's slalom is a steep slope at the top, running into a traverse and changing to a more gradual slope.Betsy Snite of Norwich VT, a strong contender for a slalom medal is of slender build and quick reactions. Her slalom technique is more like that of a man and different from most women, who tend to have difficulty to stay completely in the fall line and changing quickly from one edge to the other without going too far across the hill. Betsy has the same style for the giant slalom, which forces the skier to be accurate. She has also shown well in downhill, but her forte is in the slalom field."
  • February 1, 1960 - cover of Sports Illustrated "US Girl Skiers on Top of the World" inside describes Betsy: "Poised, sophisticated and -on occasion - ruthless, this willowy racer from Vermont is one of the American girls who could dominate the Alpine ski events at Squaw Valley." Betsy quoted "When it's time to race, I'll be ready. In the meantime I'm going to have fun."
  • Races in Olympics on metal skis, one of first women to do this
  • 1960 - retires from amateur racing after winning the slalom at the American International Race. Silver in slalom in the Olympics, 4 th in GS.
  • 1962 - named skiwear consultant for Du Pont Company's Textile Fibers Dept she will assist in developing fabrics and fashions and make personal appearances
  • 1964 married Bill Riley
  • 1977 opens Betsy Snite Sports
  • 1985 - Ford Sayre program starts the Betsy Snite Riley Memorial Plaque given to a girl age 14 and under who exhibits "good sportsmanship and the greatest improvement in racing technique."

One member of Ford Sayre wrote "Her perseverance, enthusiasm and femininity in an aggressive, competitive sport, proved to American girls and women that there is a place for them in competitive Alpine skiing."

Click here to hear Penny Pitou discuss Betsy Snite Riley.

William Winston "Billy" Kidd

William Kidd  1964,1968 Olympian from Stowe, Vermont; 1964 Olympics slalom silver and combined bronze medalist; 1970 World Championships combined gold and slalom bronze medalist

I asked Sepp Ruschp "How can I thank you and the people of Stowe for all you've done for me?" He answered "You don't have to, just pass it on."

  • Mount Mansfield Ski Club, Stowe, VT 1953-1964
  • 1961 - alternate to the FIS team
  • 1964 Olympian, Innsbruck, Slalom- Silver medal; Downhill - 16 th ; GS - 8th, Combined -Bronze medal
  • 1966 - injured ankle at end of season, had to have it operated on. Broke his leg in Chile in august, returned to University of Colorado
  • 1968 Grenoble, France
  • Slalom - DNF; Downhill - 15 th ; GS -5th
  • 1969 - Steamboat's Director of Skiing; degree in economics from CU. At 1pm Kidd leads a free clinic at Steamboat every day
  • 1970 - gold medal in World Alpine Championship skiing - won slalom and best downhill run by an American. Wins bronze in slalom, gold in combined.
  • 1970 Ski Magazine's Pro Skier of the Year award based on who tops the money winning list - 1 st person to win Amateur and Pro World Championships in the same year
  • 1972 covers the Olympics - will ski next to the course or in the course to give a good idea of where the race will be won
  • Spokesman for Hart skis, Comfort products, Bonne Bell
  • 1973 retires from amateur and pro racing
  • 1976 - Ski in Six Days by Billy Kidd and Douglas Kent Hall. "This book, by the 1970 World Ski Champion and one of America's best known ski personalities, takes the newcomer through an orientation of the sport - the lifts, skier etiquette, enjoying the mountain environment, conditioning, equipment, clothing - to days one through six, a progression of learning steps which takes the student through the basics of ski technique, from side-stepping to parallel turns to the mastery of moguls. Laced with Kidd remembrances of his racing days, learning skiing as a youngster and the delights of skiing and the mountain experience, the book provides plenty of enjoyable, and convincing, reading for the newcomer to the sport."

Currently of Steamboat Springs, Colorado, Inducted US Ski Hall of Fame and MMSC

Click here to hear Billy Kidd.

Warren Witherell

Warren WitherellCo-founder (1970) and Headmaster (1970-1984) Burke Mountain Academy; author How the Racers Ski (1972) world's first ski book to promote carving turns.

I am honored here for what has always been a Team effort - by the students, staff, and parents of Burke Mountain Academy. I thank them all.

In 1970, a 14-year old girl Martha Coughlin who had been taking ski racing instruction at the mountain voiced a desire to stay on. However, law required that she acquire proper academic schooling. Thus the seed of the Burke Mountain Academy (BMA) was planted and grew into a fully accredited grade 9 to 12 school. It consisted of but four students that first year and 15 the following year under the headmastership of Warren Witherell. Stayed until 1984. He had founded the first ski academy which became the model for all others which, collectively, provides the USSA with most of its ski team members. Witherell authored How the Racers Ski, in 1972, a "must-read" in ski racing circles. He was inducted into the U.S. National Ski Hall of Fame in 1998. - From Allen Adler

1971 - BMA has 15 full time students and 13 winter tutorial students, 1973 43 students. BMA incorporated by Douglas Kitchel, state Senator, dairy farmer, and money behind Burke Mountain Resort, more girls than boys. Witherell and Gundersen lived with the full time students in one of the farmhouses, 5 coaches in 1973. Stats - first 2 years, Burke sent more racers to the Junior Nationals than any other team, more BMA racers finished in the top 10 than the total of the next three clubs combined, BMA placed 11 on National B and talent squads

Dec 1972 article by Peter Miller described Witherell as "an idealist. Yet he is a man of strict routine, a pragmatist, and he speaks well - almost too well. He has been a world champion water skier, an All-American swimmer, a four-letter man in college, and is a certified referee in soccer, hockey and lacrosse. He has also been a soccer, baseball and tennis coach and for the last 11 years has been a practicing ski coach. He is an instrument rated pilot. By profession he is a teacher."

Witherell known as the "father of the carved turn" because of his revolutionary book How the Racers Ski

1984 Water Ski Hall of Fame Inductee- more firsts than any other water skier, he was the first and many remain the only skier to win national slalom championships over a span of 28 years. From 1953 until his retirement from active tournament skiing in 1968. Witherell beaten only 5 times in more than 100 tournaments. Also involved in rules, rating, judges and tournament committees of the American water ski association

1993 The Athletic Skier published

WW on Burke: "The most important work at BMA, however, is the work of human development - in the best and broadest sense of the term. Burke is a school abundant with hope, friendship, responsibility, and love. Wherever one looks, there are bright eyes and bright smiles. The people are happy here - students, teachers, coaches, staff and they are working together. What really works at Burke is a sense of community , a value system that deserves the most careful study and imitation."

Click here to hear Warren Witherell discuss How the Racers Ski.