When John Droege was announced the winner of Class 14 at the Phillips 66 Masters National Ski Racing Championships at Big Sky, Mont., the entire crowd at the awards banquet spontaneously erupted with a standing ovation.
Droege missed last year’s event because of a debilitating injury to his quad, which forced him to have surgery last summer. Only a miraculous recovery, driven by a disciplined rehabilitation regi- men, allowed Droege to race at Big Sky. Droege’s presence at Nationals this year was important not only to his friends, but also to the entire masters community. At the age of 90, Droege has assumed the role of elder statesman for masters ski racing. It’s not a role that he has chosen, but over time, he has come to be revered as a national treasure.