Pico Ski Club was founded more than 60 years ago and continues a skiing tradition-with a mission to focus on families-through social activities, junior ski racing programs and organization of competitive events.
A Proud Tradition
The Otter Ski Club, a predecessor of the Pico Ski Club, was founded in the late 1930's. The club became inactive during World War II, yet Janet Mead kept the Pico Ski Area operating during wartime and offered free skiing to all service men and women. Her daughter Andrea Mead (pictured right) became a ski racing celebrity of the country, and her Olympic Gold medals put Pico in the post-war national spotlight. More than two dozen young Rutland area skiers served in the Tenth Mountain Division (ski troops of WW II) and formed the nucleus of the new club upon their return from duty. Karl Acker, Swiss slalom ace, was brought to Pico in 1939 by the Meads to head up ski instruction, and joined the Tenth Mountain Division after his immigration to the US. Other Tenth Mountain Division members Joe Jones and Arny Kirbach are still active skiers and reside in the Rutland area.
Education & Ski Racing
The Pico Junior Program, led by Larry and Helena Culver, originally offered free instruction to regional children. Later, as enrollment exceeded 600, a modest fee was charged to cover basic expenses. More than 12,000 skiers have been introduced to the sport through this junior program; many have seen two generations follow in their tracks. As juniors learned the fundamentals and gained skills, the most qualified continued to train in Pico's race programs. The culmination of the initial surge of Pico ski talent came in the spring of 1959, when six Pico skiers participated in the Junior National Ski Championships at Yakima, WA. Since that time Pico has produced numerous skiers of collegiate or professional reputation including: Rick and Suzy Chaffee, Kent and Kurt Belden, Johnnie, Mike, Rich & Annie Higgins, Scott and Carolyn Heald, Megan and Christie Brown to name a few.
During the last sixty years, thousands of individuals have enjoyed the privileges and obligations of membership in an organization that has a proud history. Some members of the Pico Ski Club represent a third or even fourth generation of tradition in their families. Today, with 500 members from the area and greater northeast, the tradition of family skiing, ski racing and skier development lives on.