On Friday, January 17, Olympian Penny Pitou graced the inaugural event at the still-under-construction Thomas Barbeau Training Center on the Waterville Valley BBTS campus.
Pitou, a double silver medalist at the 1960 Squaw Valley Olympics, gave an energetic, funny, honest and exceptionally engaging talk to the big crowd in attendance. Accompanied by clips of her at the games in 1960, she shared the realities of medaling in a downhill race over 50 years ago. Still showing the grit and determination that propelled her to Olympic stardom, Pitou explained the challenges and, more importantly, the opportunities skiing presented her in 1960, and every year since then.
Grooming? Try a bicycle with some chains attached. Helmets? A leather hat with ear flaps. $3,000 skis? Hers cost $27! How times have changed and how training philosophies have progressed.
Surrounded by old and new friends, Pitou shared stories of traveling unaccompanied through Europe as a young woman. She spoke of her pride in the skiing legacy that she represents as manifested in her son, Christian, a member of the Waterville Valley BBTS Snowsports Educational Foundation board and her three grandchildren: Dylan, a BBTS coach, Zane, a Waterville Valley Academy (WVA) U14 Alpine racer, and Zoe, a WVA U12 Alpine racer.
Over 75 folks braved the cold and ice to make the first event in the Thomas Barbeau Training Center an evening to remember. Great food, music and a video honoring current Olympian, Hannah Kearney, rounded out the evening. Kearney, a former BBTS athlete, is also a WVBBTS/SEF board member.
The third honoree of the evening was Alpine Director and Head U16 coach, Tom Barbeau.
According to CEO, Peter Stokloza, “Tom has been an integral part of BBTS for almost 30 years. His mastery of the Burdenko Method, as developed by PhD Russian Sports scientist, Igor Burdenko, provides our athletes with the opportunity to dramatically improve six essential abilities – balance, flexibility, coordination, endurance, speed and strength. The new training center will have a dedicated Burdenko workout gym as well as two in-ground trampolines, a tuning room, and a video review and conference room plus support facilities. We are proud to name it after Tom!”
WVBBTS is still seeking donations to complete the project. For more info, contact Krista Katz, Director of Advancement at [email protected] or call (603) 236-4246.
WVBBTS/SEF is a nonprofit snowsports educational foundation located in Waterville Valley, NH. WVBBTS offers training programs for competitive alpine racing, freestyle/freeskiing, and snowboarding with world-class coaching for athletes dedicated to pursuing elite-level athletic development. WVBBTS/SEF also operates Waterville Valley Academy, a snowsports academy, featuring the four-year Pinnacle high school and the 5-month Winter Term that develops student-athletes to achieve their athletic and academic goals to their fullest potential.