Paul Robbins Journalism Award
Paul Robbins started writing about ski racing in the 1960s. His work appeared in many magazines, including Skiing, SKI and Ski Racing. Robbins worked at eight Winter Olympics, every one since 1980 in Lake Placid. He had served as a press officer for the U.S. Ski Team, as well as a commentator on Nordic sports for CBS and NBC. He was a friend to athletes, coaches, administrators, writers and readers. He died unexpectedly at age 68 in 2008.
The award recognizes ski and snowboard journalists who, with the same commitment as Paul Robbins, perform their skill in written, broadcast or photo journalism with ethics, humor, good taste, and always with the promotion of Vermont skiing and snowboarding and the larger communities in mind. The recipient is selected not solely on the basis of one story, but rather, on a lifetime of service to the ski and snowboard community.
Most people know Peter Miller as the author and photographer behind the stunning photo books, Vermont People, Vermont Farm Women and most recently, Vanishing Vermonters: Loss of a Rural Culture, all self-published through Silver Print Press. What they may not know is that the first of Miller’s 11 published books were ski books, The 30,000 Mile Ski Race (Dial Press, 1973), about Americans in Europe on the World Cup circuit and then The Skier’s Almanac (Nick Lyons Press and Doubleday, 1980).
Miller grew up in Weston, Vt. and has always followed ski racing. From 1965 to 1988 he was a contributing editor to SKI Magazine and has visited 104 ski resorts on four continents. Miller got his start as a photographer when, as a student at the University of Toronto, he had the chance to work with the legendary portrait photographer Yousuf Karsh. Miller assisted him in 1954 as they photographed celebrities living in Europe. Miller went on to work as a reporter and writer for LIFE Magazine before moving back to Vermont in the 1960s. He set up shop next door to the Waterbury Ben & Jerry’s headquarters in Colbyville.
Mary McKhann started skiing as a teenager but didn’t really get serious about it until after her children were born. She moved to Vermont from NYC in 1981. She taught skiing at Bromley and did volunteer ski patrol at Stratton.
In the mid-80’s, Mary started working at the Manchester Journal. The paper had no sports coverage at the time, and since her sons got involved in ski racing, she started going to races and taking pictures. Suddenly Mary was a skiing journalist.
In the late 80s-early 90s Mary became the ski reporter for the Rutland Herald, and later took on copy editing and various other beats at the Herald.
In 1992 moved to Waitsfield to take a job with Ski Racing International. She covered major events in both skiing and snowboarding. This included the Lillehammer Olympics and the first FIS Snowboard Championships in Lienz, Austria.
Bob Gillen, who co-owned The Snow Industry Letter, hired Mary to edit TSIL. She says, “I knew a lot about ski racing, at that point, but not much about running a ski area or other aspects of the industry. Bob was a great mentor..”
After Bob Gillen passed away, Mary would buy TSIL in 2008. TSIL provides a weekly snapshot of what is happening in the ski industry – primarily in North America – and sends it to subscribers in a no-fuss, simple format that keeps them in the know. Most of the subscribers are major influencers such as CEOs, managers, planners, lawyers and others who interact or run ski resorts and related businesses.
Dr. Gretchen Rous Besser
A longtime ski patroller, Dr. Gretchen Rous Besser of Morrisville, was the first recipient of the National Ski Patrol chairman’s Excellence in Service Award to honor her 32 years as the first National Ski Patrol historian. In 2013, she was inducted into the inaugural class of the National Ski Patrol Hall of Fame. Her book, “The National Ski Patrol: Samaritans of the Snow,” first published in 1983 and updated in 2012, Besser has been an active publicist for the National Ski Patrol. She has been interviewed by a number of radio sportscasters, wrote hundreds of articles about ski patrol activities, and represented the organization at international conferences and the China Winter Sports Association in China in 1987.
Bill McCollom, a college and Masters skier, educator, reporter, and columnist, published a compilation of his columns from Ski Racing Magazine in for the 2013-2014 season, A View from the Finish Line. For 15 years, Bill wrote a column every week, over 300 columns in total. Raised in Woodstock Vermont, skiing with the Mid-Vermont council and then Middlebury College, Bill started his career as a coach and an English teacher. It was not until he took over at VARA, the Vermont Alpine Racing Association, that he began to write professionally, contributing race reports to the Stowe Reporter weekly. In 1998, he joined the staff at Ski Racing magazine, editing and writing race reports personality profiles, and a column.
"I was born in Rutland Hospital in 1973 and grew up in Killington, the son of ski bums. Having skied since the age of five, I began snowboarding in 1985 at Sonnenberg Ski Area in Barnard, Vermont. During my Junior Year of High School, I wrote an award-winning essay about snowboarding and realized the pen could provide a path to fulfilling my riding dreams.
After a short stint as a competitive snowboarder and later a coach, I became a full-time snowboarding scribe in the late nineties as a partner in the Burlington-based "EI Snowboard Magazine", which highlighted the infectious draw of snowboarding in New England. In 2000, I became Senior Editor of SNOWBOARDER Magazine, the largest endemic media outlet in the world of snowboarding, and have now been the Editor-in-Chief of said magazine for the past decade. Though I now call San Clemente, California home, the Green Mountains are part of the fabric of who I am and a place I visit and cover routinely, with the most recent instance being a feature I wrote about riding twelve Vermont Ski Areas in one twenty-four hour period last March."
Linda Adams helped to change the way people received ski racing news. When Trow Elliman took over the Stowe Reporter in 1963, Stowe was the Ski Capital of the East. With a strong junior racing program and Vermonters having success on an international level, Elliman decided the Stowe Reporter should carry ski news. Linda Adams began in 1970 developing with the content and taking the pictures.
Linda had grown up in Montpelier as a skier but not a racer. She was a self-taught photographer and became a well respected journalist.
As the paper's respect grew, so did the work load. In the 1980s, she hired Sporty Bell.
Sporty Bell had been commuting to Stowe from New York for 20 years before her family moved here. She first came to Vermont as a freshman at UVM.
Sporty trained as a chemist but after moving here, they ran the Edelwiess deli and the Snowdrift Hotel, as well as the volunteer with the Ski Club, Stowe Performing Arts, and staying active in horse back riding. She met Linda at the Ski Club. She went to races with Linda, but She also completed the less glamorous aspects of producing the ski racing section. They did this for skiing in the winter and for horse back riding news in the summer.
Their passion for horses, skiing, and Stowe sustained a long friendship after their retirement.
McKee grew up in Fredonia, NY. His mother taught first grade and college seniors and his father was an editor of the local paper. It is not surprising that, as he said in an interview, Writing was always the one thing in school I could do and not feeling self conscious." He skied at a small local area of 100 vertical feet and a rope tow, but that was enough to get him hooked.
He started the high school ski team, and at his first professional writing position at the Dunkirk-Fredonia Evening Observer, he initiated a ski column. He started at the Evening Observer working summers while in college. After he graduated, the position opened and he "wrote the history of [his] hometown for four or five years."
From 1977-1980, he handled the now United Ski and Snowboard Associations (USSA) publications from its Brattleboro, VT, headquarters. In 1980 he took a job with Ski Racing, and has worked there on and off for these 30 years.
In those 30 years, McKee has covered primarily men's and women's alpine racing and also Nordic, freestyle, and pro racing. He has adjusted his time and style to accommodate the evolution of reporting from manual typewriters and telex numbers to mainframe computers to reporting within 20 minutes on races watched live on the internet. His extensive stories on racers have often been their first in national press. Beginning in 1988, he has covered the Olympics; he served on the press committee for the Salt Lake games.
A competitor himself, McKee participates in barbeque competitions and in the St. Divot's Annual Golf Tournament run on his property for the last 20 years, plus continues to play with his high school rock and roll band. McKee described his life: "We eat well, we keep busy, and I love what I do, so what more is there to life, that is perfect."
For the past four decades, Stratton's photographer has covered four winter Olympics Games and has had his photographs featured in Ski, Skiing, GEO, Time, Newsweek, Sports Illustrated, and Vermont Life. His work can also be seen on many Stratton walls and on every trail map, brochure, and printed piece. His portfolio is vast and covers a wide range of subjects from Olympic Downhillers and majestic mountain peaks, to apples growing on the trees and feeding porcupines in his front yard.
Schriebl finds inspiration on his hikes up Stratton Mountain. A few times per week and probably more than 700 times throughout his long career at the mountain, Hubert Schriebl hikes to the top of Stratton, southern Vermont's highest peak at 3,750 feet. While this is not a Himalayan Peak, the accomplishment is lofty and a huge reason why Schriebl seems so young and fit. As a tribute, the Hubert Haus stands at the Stratton summit, aptly named after its favorite son.
Campbell is a born-and-raised Vermonter, who has dedicated his life to skiing. He grew up in Bennington, attended Middlebury College, taught and coached at Harwood Union High School and at the Valley Junior Racing Club, and finally settled in Stowe as the Technical Director of the Sepp Ruschp Ski School. He has served as the Technical Editor and Instruction Editor of Ski Magazine, examiner for the Eastern Professional Ski Instructors Association, co-chairman of the PSIA Technical Committee then executive vice president, US Demo team member, and Technical Director at Keystone and Heavenly Valley. His love of skiing carried through a varied writing career, including the books Ski with the Big Boys and The Way to Ski. Through his many articles, he has been highly successful at being able to convey the critical qualities that made his style so distinctive and pleasurable to watch. Because of his articles and ski tips, countless skiers have unknowingly imitated his style. Campbell has worked with the biggest names in ski racing – Bode Miller, Donna Weinbrecht, and the Mahre brothers to name a few – but has also passed along his love of the sport to the every day skier who took a lesson with him or read his column.