Granby skier will be inducted into U.S. National Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame
Grand County, Colorado
Olympic silver medalist and former U.S. Ski Team member Liz McIntyre of Granby, Colorado, will be inducted into the U.S. National Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame in April.
The announcement of McIntyre’s induction was made on Oct. 15. The Hall of Fame is located in Ishpeming, Mich.
“It’s quite an honor being picked for the Hall of Fame,” McIntyre said. “It was also a surprise because I didn’t know I had been nominated.”
The crowning achievement of McIntyre’s skiing career was winning a silver medal in the 1994 Winter Olympics at Lillehammer, Norway. She won it in the alpine skiing sport of freesyle moguls.
“Winning that Olympic silver medal was definitely a high point for me,” she said. “I just loved the course at Lillehammer and I had prepared all spring, summer and fall for it.
When I got to the top of that course I knew that I was prepared which was a great feeling. And it all worked out and I won.”
While her Olympic win was a major achievement, it was not the only high point in her U.S. Ski Team racing career, which ran from 1986 through 1998.
During four of those years, she and her teammates won World Cup team medals at Tignes, France. She also earned 18 individual World Cup medals and competed in the 1992, 1994 and 1998 Winter Olympics.
“Finally in 1998, I won the national championship title,” McIntyre said. “It was a great way to end my racing career. And it was a good time to stop because I was sore, my knee hurt and I was told that if I wanted to continue to walk I had to quit.”
Turns to coaching
But her career with the U.S. Ski Team was not over yet. From 1999 to 2006, she was its moguls technical coach.
“The year after I quit, I was invited to help at a U.S. Ski Team camp,” McIntyre said. “It was the first chance I had to focus on other athletes rather than myself and I liked it. It was really satisfying and fun, so I stayed on.”
During her eight years as a U.S. Ski Team coach, she mentored Shannon Bahrke, Toby Dawson and Travis Mayer to Olympic medals in freestyle moguls. In 2003, her athletes Bahrke and Travis Cabral also swept the World Cup titles.
“I was working with a great group of athletes,” she said. “As a coach, you have to coach them as a team, but it’s still an individual sport. I felt it was necessary to maximize the potential of each of them and to be there for them. That was a challenge for me, but I made it work.”
As a coach, McIntyre said she also had to learn to deal with her athletes’ frustrations and disappointments.
“It was really frustrating for some of them to win World Cup races and still not qualify for the Olympics,” she said. “All of them worked so hard and sacrificed so much, but they all knew that only half of them were going to make the Olympic Team.”
McIntyre’s association with Grand County began when she was 17 years old when she first traveled from her native New Hampshire to Winter Park Resort for the 1985 National Championships.
“I didn’t make the U.S. Team until the next year, but when I got here, I realized there was a lot more skiing out here than just in New England,” she said. “I also met Winter Park Competition Center coaches Peter Young, Joe Ward and Laurie Mooney who encouraged me to come back.”
Over the years, she kept returning to work with those coaches and enjoy the skiing at Winter Park Resort. In 1991, she moved to Fraser.
With her U.S. Ski Team career now behind her, McIntyre lives in Granby and works for Twin Enviro Services of Steamboat Springs.
McIntyre still loves skiing, but confessed that the first winter after she left the U.S. Ski Team, she took it off and went “somewhere warm.”
“Last winter was the first one that I skied since I left the team,” she said. “I really enjoyed skiing just for fun.”
McIntyre said she also has taken up telemark skiing because it is “fun and a challenge.”
Would she recommend others follow the same path that she took?
“I would say that whatever you are interested in ” be it skiing, art or some something else ” you should really pursue it,” she said. “It’s important to be able to say to yourself: ‘I gave it everything I had.’ It’s hard work but when it’s for something you have a passion for, it’s very satisfying whether you win or lose.”
McIntyre’s induction into the U.S. National Ski and Snowboard Hall will take place at Park City, Utah, in April, followed by an enshrinement in Ishpeming, Mich., in Sept. 2009.
She is being inducted with two former U.S. Ski Team members Cary Adgate and Nelson Carmichael as well as Bill Briggs, a pioneer first descent skier and a foreleader of American ski mountaineering.
McIntyre said she is especially honored to be inducted with Carmichael, a Steamboat Springs native, who as a mogul skier won Olympic, World Cup and national championship medals.
“Nelson was a role model for me,” she said. “It’s very exciting and an honor to be inducted with him.”
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