New Pico lodge to honor Vt. Olympian
By Kevin O’Connor
STAFF WRITER | December 07,2012
Andrea Mead Lawrence was a Time magazine cover girl in 1952.
KILLINGTON — The name of the late Vermont native Andrea Mead Lawrence — the only U.S. woman to win two skiing gold medals at one Olympics — is destined to live on in the history books.
And, soon, on the new $1.3 million headquarters of the state’s largest year-round sports program for people with disabilities.
Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sports is partnering with Lawrence’s family and the Pico Ski Education Foundation to raise money for the Andrea Mead Lawrence Lodge at Pico Mountain.
“This is where my mother’s roots began in her skiing career and her love of mountains,” daughter Quentin Andrea Lawrence said in a statement, “and if she can inspire families of up-and-coming skiers as well as those with disabilities who are drawn to the mountains, then this is where we believe that she should be immortalized.”
Lawrence, who was born in Rutland and whose parents founded the Pico ski area where she grew up, landed on the cover of Time magazine at age 19 during the 1952 Winter Games in Oslo, Norway. She remained in the spotlight a half-century later when Sports Illustrated named her the top Vermont athlete of the 20th century.
An environmental activist who in later life formed the nonprofit Andrea Lawrence Institute for Mountains and Rivers, the skier marked the 50th anniversary of her Olympic slalom and giant slalom wins by helping carry the ceremonial torch at the 2002 games in Salt Lake City. There, historian Bud Greenspan named her “Greatest Winter Olympian of All Time.”
Vermont Adaptive and its more than 500 volunteers aim to help people with disabilities score their own personal victories. The nonprofit offers specialized sports education, equipment and events including skiing, snowboarding, canoeing, kayaking, sailing, cycling, hiking, rock climbing, tennis and horseback riding.
The Lawrence family — including sons Cortlandt and Matthew and daughters Deirdre, Leslie and Quentin — has committed to help raise the $250,000 necessary to complete the facility.
In addition, U.S. Paralympian champion Sarah Will — who hasn’t missed a Pico ski season, even after an accident that broke her back and paralyzed her from the waist down — will help with the campaign and be honored with her name on the lodge’s “Access for All” entrance and elevator.
Vermont Adaptive started construction on its new headquarters this fall and hopes to finish fundraising this winter. It is set to officially announce the project at a public noontime ceremony at Pico on Saturday, Dec. 15 — the first day of the area’s ski season and 75th anniversary celebration.
People interested in donating can contact Vermont Adaptive executive director Erin Fernandez at 353-8129 or email@example.com or log onto www.vermontadaptive.org.
Lawrence lived her later years in Mammoth Lakes, Calif., before dying of cancer at age 76 in 2009. She returned to her home state for her 2002 induction as the first person in the Vermont Ski Museum’s Hall of Fame in Stowe and her 2005 honorary degree from Green Mountain College in Poultney.
“As Pico Mountain begins to celebrate its 75th anniversary, it makes perfect sense to keep her legacy at the forefront of skiing in this community,” Tom Aicher, secretary of the Pico Ski Education Foundation, said in a statement. “Naming this building in her honor will do just that.”