I think that one of the main reasons my mother chose to attend Middlebury College in Vermont was because it had its own mountain and ski area, the Middlebury Snow Bowl:
Middelbury has quite a skiing tradition. “Since the first trails were cut in 1934, the Middlebury College Snow Bowl has witnessed one of the richest skiing traditions in the country. From early snowshoe and obstacle races, Middlebury’s winter sports teams evolved into bona fide skiing powers, until the outbreak of World War II brought the program to a virtual halt.”
But after the war ended several skiers from the famed 10th Mountain Division “descended on the Bowl, along with a young fighter pilot from the Pacific theater…who coached the women’s team in 1946 and, thanks to the strength of the 10th Mountain Division recruits, led the Middlebury men in 1948 to their first of two consecutive national championship titles. In the same year Becky Fraser ’46, captain of the 1944 and 1945 women’s teams, became the first Middlebury skier to compete for the U.S. Olympic Team in the Winter Games at St. Moritz, Switzerland.”
What I did not realize is that my mother was a member of the Middlebury ski team for 4 years and skied with Ms. Fraser. She may not have been Olympic material, but she was there too. I knew she was on the Ski Patrol, but she’s there in the 1948 yearbook: “SKIING With veteran skiers Polly Hodder, Peg Curtis and Nat Benson ably assisted by the skills of Rose Hull, Pete Salmon, Mary Cameron, Lee Robbins, Jean Smith and Bobbie Merriman, the women’s ski team showed promise of a good season this winter. The team traveled with Coach “Joe” Jones to numerous intercollegiate competitions.”
I knew that she was very active in the Mountain Club, but had forgotten that she was on the governing board, Skyline. She was also the Vice President of her junior class. Here she is in the front row (left).
She really did love Middlebury and her 4 years there. Despite a disastrous sorority rush freshman year, she gave college her all. Here is a page from her junior yearbook which she illustrated:
She designed the Middlebury Winter Carnival posters for several years and also did the posters for all the big theater productions–back in the day before colored markers (and computers), when everything was painted by hand. And she managed to earn good enough grades to get into graduate school at McGill University.
For many years as a child I wanted to follow in my mother’s footsteps and go to Middlebury. I even had a dream once (in the 5th grade!) that I gave Steve McQueen a tour of the college. It was a big presence in the back of my brain. In the 6th grade, for some reason, I got it into my head that I wanted to go to Smith and I held on tight to that idea. I’m not sure why.