The Huntsville Ski Club is pleased to announce that multiple Olympic medal winner and Alabama resident, Picabo Street, is coming to speak at the Club meeting to be held on September 16th. The meeting is open to the public, and will be held at the Huntsville Area Board of Realtors Building, located at 525 Monroe Street, and the meet and greet begins at 7 pm. Ms. Street will begin her presentation at 7:30 pm, and there is no cost to attend.
Picabo is a legend in the sport, and as an Olympian, pulled down a gold and silver medal. As a World Cup skier, she took a gold, a silver, and a bronze. However, as is often the case, there is a “story behind the story.” Her first Olympic fame came as a result of her taking the silver medal in the women’s downhill competition during the 1994 Lillehammer Winter Games, held in Norway. After that triumph, disaster struck. During a routine training run at Vail, Colorado, she tore her anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL, which can often signal the end of a sports career. This injury was to her left knee. She worked through close to 11,000 hours of rehab to regain her former prowess, came back and went on to win a gold in the Super-G event held at the Winter Games in Nagano, Japan, in 1998. This was the high point of her career, no doubt something she’ll discuss on September 16th. Not long after, she was competing in the World Cup in Switzerland, and lost control at 70 mph during the downhill competition. She crashed into a fence, tore her right ACL, and this time also shattered her femur in 9 places. She refused to be bested, and while this time she was out of the sport for two years, she qualified for a spot on the US Women’s Olympic Ski Team for the games that were held in Salt Lake City in 2002.
Now she lives in Warrior, is married, and is the mother of 4 boys. She is a published author, a network sports commentator, and is passionate about skier safety, prevention, and rehab. Some of her work includes being involved with the Olympic Committee’s Stay On The Slopes organization, which focuses on providing injury preventing technology for skiers and snowboarders. And, as she is also involved in helmet testing, don’t even THINK about skiing around her without a helmet! She says, “Now I get so much pleasure out of helping the next generation to do pre-hab to keep them on the slopes, to also make sure their equipment is dialed in right, to make sure that they are comfortable with it, and it’s working well for them.” She added, “And to make sure they’re doing all the cross training they need to do to be strong enough to be out there competing.” Her story is inspiring, whether or not you are a skier, and as someone who started to ski when I was 5, I am planning on hearing what she has to say. She especially loves working with kids.
Besides encouraging the residents of Huntsville to fight back through any adversity, the Ski Club is also hoping to gain new members. I spoke at length with Gene Hartsfield, a man who did not begin to ski until he was 45, got “bit” by the ski bug, and as a retired NASA Engineer, could be described as a “reverse snowbird.” He organizes the Ski Club’s annual trips to places like Steamboat Springs, Lake Tahoe, Winter Park, Park City, Breckenridge, Beaver Creek, and so much more. He has been a part of the Ski Patrol in Alabama at Cloudmont, which is located in Mentone.
The Huntsville Ski Club does far more than skiing. There are cruises, hikes, trips, and other activities, and the Club currently has about 300 members. They are hoping to add to their membership roster, and the fees for belonging to the Club are more than reasonable. A single yearly membership is $30, and for an entire family the cost is $40. Huntsville Ski Club is a member of a ski alliance called Crescent Ski Council. The Club’s constitutionally stated purpose is to “promote alpine skiing.” However, they want to build community by building families, and you don’t have to have ever been on a pair of skis or a slope in your life. They are hoping you will join them on September 16th to hear Picabo, and then discover with them what I can only describe as wonderful sensation of “flying while your feet are still on the ground.”
Huntsville Ski Club
Meetings: Every 3rd Wednesday of the month
Location: Huntsville Area Board of Realtors Bldg 525 Monroe Street, HSV, AL, 35801
Point of Contact: Gene Hartsfield, 256-497-0474 or firstname.lastname@example.org
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner