Picabo Street inducted into Ski Hall of Fame
Park City Olympian says emotion hit her during ceremony
Picabo Street, winner of the 1998 Olympic Super G in Nagano and runner up in the 1994 Olympic Downhill in Lillehammer, was honored by the Alf Engen Ski Museum as an inductee into the Intermountain Ski Hall of Fame on Wednesday.
Street learned to ski at Sun Valley, but has called Park City home for nearly two decades.
“It’s kind of an emotional day, more so than I thought it would be,” Street said before the induction ceremony. “And I think it’s because I’m not looking back on my most recent career, and I’m looking more at when I was a kid. It’s all really coming full circle.”
She said, in particular it reminded her of her routine as a child – going to competitions throughout the Mountain West, where she first cut her teeth in the skiing world.
“It was Sun Valley, it was Jackson Hole, Snowbasin, Snowbird, Kelly Canyon, Bogus Basin, all the places that we raced all along here,” she said. “It was driving to all those races on the weekend.”
She said she remembers the simple rituals of traveling to ski races — collecting gear, packing, and the road trips.
“Are you spending all your money on junk food, like your dad said you would when you leave, and just that whole childhood, because there’s so many things that happened for me here at that time and that’s what we’re celebrating tonight,” she said. “That’s what’s on my mind for sure. And the people that were a part of the process, because it took more than a village. ”
More than most, she said the trip to Snowbird was always memorable, with its undulating canyon walls that open in a parking lot dwarfed by the mountain above. It was usually Picabo’s last stop of the ski racing season.
“As a little person I remember rolling up there – it was the Spring Series, there was either always a ton of new snow, because that big old March dump had happened and we were following it in, or it was spring skiing and it was slush up to your ankles,” she said. “Either way, you were having to completely adjust your skiing style and approach the thing differently.”
These days, she said Park City serves as her family’s base of operations, saying it’s not only where she is raising her three boys, but also where she started the “second part of (her) after-ski career plan.”
Which, she said, is based on making a positive difference in the lives of upcoming generations through her school, the Picabo Street Academy.
She said she is also very focused on being a mother.
“That is the one area in my life that I thought that being an Olympian and elite athlete would prepare me better for, but actually I think that I came with baggage to the game with that,” she said. “Because all of the tricks that I have that I thought would work and have worked for me, they don’t work in motherhood. So I’ve just slowly been having to drop the bags and get to surrender and be on the ride.”
Street said the only thing that carried over was the feeling of joy.
“That super soft spot is what you’re experiencing when you stand on top of the podium,” she said.
She said, so long as her actions have inspired others, then being recognized was a win-win, and, despite her accolades, she said her induction was somewhat unexpected.
“It’s kind of embarrassing to be at the center of it, because quite frankly, as a mom you’re on the back burner, and I just have been so busy paying it forward so to be honored tonight is hitting me in the pit of my belly,” she said. “It’s taking me all the way back and I just hope that the legacy of this inspires more kids to do the same thing and believe they can do it no matter where they come from. This is one of those that as you get older you really realize what it means, you realize what you’ve left, and that’s happening currently.”
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