The FIS Alpine World Cup was founded 50 years ago, and early on the circuit made several stops in New England. For the first time in nearly four decades, it returned to Vermont on Nov. 26-27, 2016. Playing a special role in the race were the gate judges – many of whom were former World Cup stars themselves like Lindy Kelley, Bobby Cochran, Marilyn Brown, Harry “Rebel” Ryan and Kiki Cutter.
Ski Racing had the opportunity with connect with a few of them at the historic event. Leslie Leete Smith, Barbara Ann Cochran and Edie Thys Morgan took some time before the giant slalom race to talk about their memories of domestic World Cups and their role as volunteers at Killington.
Leslie Leete Smith
1976 Winter Olympic Games
Leslie Leete Smith is a Killington, Vt., native. Born and raised in the Green Mountain State, she was on the U.S. Ski Team for five years and competed in the 1976 Winter Olympic Games in Innsbruck, Austria.
“We have an elite group of Olympians and some of my teammates from way back and some people I haven’t seen for 30-plus years, so it’s a great group of people,” Smith shares about her fellow gate judges.
Barbara Ann Cochran
1972 Winter Olympic Games
The Cochran family is legendary in the ski world. Among them is Barbara Ann Cochran, who won a gold medal in slalom at the 1972 Winter Olympic Games. Early in her career, she competed in front of a home crowd at the 1969 World Cup slalom and giant slalom races in Waterville Valley, N.H. The races featured 10 athletes per day including Cochran’s sister Marilyn and Rosi Mittermaier, the German racer who would become the 1976 overall champion.
The Killington races leave Cochran and her family dreaming of future World Cups in Vermont.
Edie Thys Morgan
1988, 1992 Winter Olympic Games
If you’re a regular SkiRacing.com reader, then you know Edie Thys Morgan — former U.S. Ski Team athlete and current columnist. The two-time Olympian was amongst the ski legends on the hill, participating in history.
“This is the all-star cast,” she says modestly. “I’m sort of a hanger on in this celebrity gate-keeping crew.”