By Karen D. Lorentz
Killington will be well-represented in the Vermont Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame Class of 2018, which will be celebrated at an induction ceremony on Saturday, Oct. 27 at Killington Grand Resort Hotel. Foster Chandler and Janet and Brad Mead all hailed from Killington and Pico; other awardees include Dennis Donahue, Hannah Kearney, and Paul Johnston. Killington Resort will be honored with a new Vermont Ski and Snowboard Museum Community Award as well.
In addition to the induction posthumously of the late Brad and Janet Mead to the Hall of Fame, Saturday, a statue of their daughter Andrea Mead Lawrence will be unveiled at noon on Friday Oct. 26, on Merchants Row in Rutland in recognition of the famed skier’s accomplishments. Family members are expected to attend the two events this weekend.
Janet and Brad Mead are being recognized for their contribution to skiing. In addition to founding one of the 30 oldest continously operating ski areas in the country, they installed the first T-bar in the U.S. in 1940.
After Brad’s death in 1942, Janet ran the ski area and kept it open during WWII, when many ski areas closed. She was one of the first female owners of a ski area in America and operated the area with the assistance of Karl Acker until selling to Karl and his wife June in 1954. Janet Mead is remembered for her marketing expertise as well as focusing on youth instructional and racing programs.
Andrea Mead Lawrence was born in Rutland and learned to ski at Pico Peak, which was founded by her parents in 1937. She was 19 when she won two gold medals in the 1952 Norway Olympics and came home to a Rutland ticker tape parade in her honor. She was featured in Sports Illustrated magazine in 1999 as the top Vermont athlete of the 20th century. In a New York Times 2009 obituary, Olympic documentarian Bud Greenspan deemed her “the greatest Winter Olympian of all time,” an accolade The Times credited to her skiing and subsequent career in environmentalism.
In 2011, Congress passed and President Obama signed the Mount Andrea Lawrence Designation Act, renaming a peak along the John Muir Trail as Mount Andrea Lawrence.
The sculpture, fourth in a series planned by the Carving Studio and Sculpture Center, MKF Properties, Vermont Quarries, and Green Mountain Power’s Rutland Blooms, was underwritten by Casella Waste Management and highlights Lawrence’s Olympic record and long environmental career. The team creating the sculpture was led by Steve Shaheen, a Brooklyn-based sculptor, and included Kellie Pereira, Andrea Ingrassia, and Alessandro Lombardo of The Carving Studio and Sculpture Center. They carved the statue over this past summer from Danby white marble.
“There is no place like the Carving Studio and Sculpture Center in this country – the marble, the people and the skills are unique to the Rutland Region. This collaboration between artists and business leaders is actively building community through public art,” commented Carol Driscoll, director of the Carving Studio and Sculpture Center.
The statue includes a quote from Mead Lawrence describing what one of her gold medal winning races was like: “There are few times in our lives where we become the thing we are doing.”
“Andrea has been an inspiration to generations of Rutland County skiers, and environmentalists across the country,” Casella President John Casella Sr. commented.