The Mountain Times

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Vermont Adaptive and the Pico Ski Education Foundation unveil the new $1.3 million Andrea Mead Lawrence Lodge at Pico Mountain in honor of skiing icon

U.S. Paralympian Champion Sarah Will joins efforts

Erin Fernandez, executive director of Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sports, announced Dec. 5 that their new headquarters will be named the Andrea Mead Lawrence Lodge at Pico Mountain. The Lawrence family has committed to help raise $250,000 necessary to complete the $1.3 million facility.

In addition, U.S. Paralympian Champion Sarah Will, who also hails from Pico and is a Pico Ski Club alumni, has partnered with the two organizations to raise more than $60,000 as well. The "Access for All" Elevator and Foyer will be named in her honor.

Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sports, the largest year-round organization in the state to offer daily adaptive sports programs to people with disabilities, will share this facility with Pico Ski Education Foundation.

A special ceremony and official announcement will be held at the project site at Pico Mountain on Saturday, Dec. 15 at 12-noon. This is also the first day of the season for skiing and riding at Pico (weather permitting) and the beginning of a season-long 75th anniversary celebration of Pico Mountain. All are invited to attend the ceremony.

"Andrea Mead Lawrence continues to provide inspiration to Pico Ski Club kids and their families as well as to skiers of all (dis) abilities in the region and throughout the country," said Tom Aicher, secretary of the Pico Ski Education Foundation, which has partnered with Vermont Adaptive to build this new facility. "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. Naming this building in her honor will do just that."
In partnership with the Lawrence family, the two non-profits will raise $250,000 in honor of Mead Lawrence.

"This is the right place to commemorate our mother's place in the skiing history at Pico," said Quentin Andrea Lawrence, Mead Lawrence's daughter. "This is where my mother's roots began in her skiing career and her love of mountains, 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. On behalf of the family, we are honored to name the new state-of-the-art facility after our mother."

Construction began on the Andrea Mead Lawrence Lodge at Pico Mountain in October. In-kind donations have allowed construction to begin early, so that framing work can begin ahead of schedule in the spring. The campaign will continue to raise the final funds for the project throughout the winter.

Andrea Mead Lawrence began skiing at her parents' ski mountain, Pico Mountain, and at age 14 made the national team. At 15, she competed in the 1948 Winter Olympics, taking eighth in slalom. At the 1952 Olympics in Oslo, Norway, at the age of 19, she won gold in the slalom and giant slalom - the first and only time an American skier has won two gold medals in an Olympics.

Sarah Will began skiing at age 4 at Pico Mountain and hasn't missed a ski season since, even following her accident which broke her back and paralyzed her from the waist down. She went on to win a record 12 gold medals and one silver in four Winter Paralympic Games, and her passion for skiing and for life continues today in her work. She is presently an advocate and consultant for accessibility for persons with all types of disabilities.

To donate toward these campaigns or to inquire on other naming opportunities, contact Fernandez at 802-353-8129 or director@vermontadaptive.org or visit www.vermontadaptive.org.