July 17, 2019

Ski Hall of Fame taps Williston Olympian

Ann Battelle

Ann Battelle

By Jason Starr

Observer staff

Ann Battelle typically comes back to Williston every summer to visit her mother and spend time in the town in which she grew up.

This year, the Steamboat Springs, Colo., resident has reason to return to her home state during the height of fall foliage season. Battelle, an Olympic mogul skier who learned to ski through Williston Central School’s Friday afternoon program at Cochran’s Ski Area in Richmond, has been named to the 2017 class of the Vermont Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame.

A ceremony is planned for Oct. 21 at the Stoweflake Mountain Resort in Stowe. Tickets can be purchased at vtssm.com/events.

Reached by phone at the tail end of a hike as she gears up for a renewed season of ski coaching in Steamboat, Battelle said she was surprised to get a call from Vermont Ski and Snowboard Museum Executive Director Susan Dorn in June about her hall of fame induction.

“I was not aware of the Vermont Ski Hall of Fame,” Battelle said. “It wasn’t really on my radar at all. It’s quite an honor to be remembered and celebrated in my home state.”

The hall of fame ceremony features a dinner and silent auction to benefit the museum.

“It will be nice. I don’t usually get back to see the fall colors in Vermont and feel the crispness in the air,” said the former soccer, softball and gymnastics athlete at Champlain Valley Union High School.

Battelle, 49, began competing in mogul skiing after graduating from Middlebury College and moving to Colorado. After two years of training at Steamboat, she made the U.S. National Freestyle Team. She was a six-time national champion and won the world championship in 1999 over an 11-year career with the team. She competed in four Olympics before retiring after the 2002 Games.

A mother of two girls, Battelle now coaches middle school and high school skiers at the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club. She is also a girls soccer coach. She still skis moguls, but only under soft snow conditions. Years of skiing the rutted, icy moguls on the World Cup tour has left her with an artificial hip and the prospect of two future knee replacements. Still, she can’t envision a future without skiing.

“I’ll be involved in the ski industry hopefully the rest of my life,” she said.

Joining Battelle in the 2017 hall of fame class are telemark skiing legend Dickie Hall of Waitsfield; Nordic ski coach Jim Fredericks of Underhill; and Chuck and Jann Perkins of Burlington and Stowe, who founded the Alpine Shop in South Burlington.

The Paul Robbins award for journalism is going to photographer and author Peter Miller of Waterbury.

The museum is also honoring Norwich snowboarder Kevin Pearce with its inaugural First Tracks Award, given in memory of Vermont Ski and Snowboard Museum board member Ian Graddock, who passed away in 2016 at age 35.

The award recognizes contributions to the sport by someone under the age of 35. Pearce was on track for the 2010 Olympics when a severe training crash cut his career short. He has since gone on to set up the Love Your Brain Foundation to help people with traumatic brain injuries.

“The purpose of the Hall of Fame is to honor athletes, special contributors and pioneers of Vermont skiing who promoted and/or contributed to the sport of skiing in Vermont,” a press release from the museum states.

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