Cochran with grandson Jimmy
Ginny Cochran 50 had no problem watching her kids and grandkids
speed down icy slopes at breakneck speeds. But jumps made her nervous,
and were forbidden at Cochrans, the tiny ski area she and husband
Mickey 48, who passed away in 1998, built on the slopes behind their
Richmond, Vt., farmhouse.
This was still unknown to me one December morning when the upper mountain
hadnt opened yet. To entertain the kids, Id built a small
kicker off to the side of the trail and was leaning on my shovel watching
them fly off it when Ginny skidded to a stop beside me. The kids disappeared,
like birds before a storm. Ginny eyed my bump of snow. But she said nothing
of it. We chatted, and she skied off, probably to hector some hapless
She didnt make you knock it down? asked Leif, age 7,
when it was safe to return. He was incredulous.
She must really
Ginny, who died late this winter, did like me. She had an easy, warm way
of letting me know it, and I was never more honored by anyones friendship.
By turns loving and irascible, she was the matriarch of what is arguably
the greatest family of American skiers, including UVM stars past and present.
Her house, crowded with trophies, was the ski areas original base
lodge. The current lodge is decorated with race bibs from the sports
hallowed World Cup venues, including a few new ones worn last year by
grandson Jimmy. Beneath them, the worn, sodden carpet and battered picnic
tables are daily strewn with the bread crusts and forgotten mittens of
families learning to love skiing the way Ginny did.
Losing Ginny leaves a huge hole at Cochrans. But those of us whose
lives she touched will find a way to keep it going for our own
kids and those who will follow. And well honor Ginny the best way
we know: at top speed, right on the edge of control.
Joe Cutts 84 is deputy editor of SKI Magazine