Fri, Sep 6, 2013 01:13 PM
The Andrea Mead Lawrence Lodge at the base of Pico Mountain is
nearing completion. With 6,000 square feet on two floors, it will
be the new home for Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sports and The Pico
Ski Education Foundation (PSEF).
The building features an impressive system of thoughtfully
designed decking, outdoor ramps and an elevator, which will ensure
that both floors are accessible for everyone. Part of that design
included adapting existing Pico structures to improve their
functionality, too. Now this building provides a connection to the
Pico Ski Club building and the Pico Mountain base lodges, bringing
accessibility to all.
The building's namesake, Andrea Mead Lawrence, is a continuing
source of inspiration for both organizations, which will call the
lodge home. Lawrence, the daughter of Brad and Janet Mead who
founded Pico Ski Area, went on to become an Olympic gold
medalist. She made the national ski team at age 14 and
competed in the Olympics the following year in 1948. At age 19 she
was captain of the women's team and went on to win gold medals in
slalom and giant slalom, the only time an American woman racer has
managed that feat.
The Lodge was made possible largely because Vermont Adaptive and
PSEF were able to join forces. Not only were both groups in need of
more space, but their mission statements overlap and it made sense
to cooperate, organizers say. Both organizations are committed to
providing snow sports opportunities to whoever is interested,
regardless of their challenging financial situation or their
Vermont Adaptive will now have some much needed storage space and
administrative offices. Pico Mountain is the state headquarters for
Vermont Adaptive; programs similar to those at Pico run at other
resorts across the state. With five full time staff working at
headquarters and three out in the field, plus about 500 volunteers
statewide, the organization had outgrown the humble space allotted
to them. Participants will now enjoy a large, dedicated program
room, a room for those with sensory issues, family rooms, and
"We are so excited to have this much space," said Erin Fernandez,
executive director of Vermont Adaptive, as she gave The Mountain
Times a tour of the building recently. "Killington/Pico has always
given generously and we've always had what we have needed to
operate but space has been limited… they fully believe in what we
are doing here. From the executives like Chris Nyberg and Mike
Solimano all the way down, we've gotten an overwhelming amount of
support. They donated the land this building sits on, for example,"
she said of Killington/Pico and parent company POWDR.
The Pico Ski Education Foundation will also use the new lodge,
much will be racing related. Coaches of the Pico Ski Club are
looking forward to new offices, event and fundraising space,
staging areas and more. The story of the new lodge, however, is
really about community support that both these organizations have
enjoyed while planning and building this lodge, said Fernandez.
"The money for envisioning and constructing this lodge has all come
from donations, both cash and in kind."
Organizers have $150,000 left to raise and the two organizations
are urging people to "support accessibility for all and remember
that every dollar counts and every dollar is being used as
efficiently as possible."
Many companies have given generously and the community, ski club
members and Vermont Adaptive donors have exceeded expectations,
explained Fernandez. People have also donated time, materials and
expertise to drive the price of the building down. "It's been a
true community effort and we could not have done it without this
continued support," Fernandez added.
A ribbon cutting ceremony will be on Friday, Nov. 8 at 10 a.m. A
public open house will be held Saturday, Nov. 9 from 10 a.m. - 4
p.m. with a celebration at 4 p.m.
The lodge is on tract to be open this winter.
Photos by Kim Jackson