Cochran Ski Area PHOTO: Pennie Rand Photography
Back in the 1960’s the Cochrans – Mickey and Ginny purchased an old farm by the Winooski River in Richmond, Vermont. With their dedication and effort, they built a couple of backyard trails and a short rope tow so their children and neighbors could ski and race train.
The next decade saw four Cochrans on their way to the Olympics and World Cup as part of the US Ski Team. Slowly the facility grew. Till date the Cochrans family has groomed many children who have gone on to become racers or skiers. They have through their programs fostered a spirit of skiing and racing in the hill slopes for the love of the game and for fun’s sake.
No wonder, many proclaim they learnt skiing the “Cochran way”.
After Mickey’s death in 1998, the ski area was turned into a non-profit 501© (3) to continue the legacy and provide children with a healthy recreational facility.
Since then, the group has put in effort to bring together resources to help educate children in the ways of skiing including those from the underprivileged background.
The area now boasts of a snowmaking system that is state-of-the-art.
During winters, children from the area come to the place with their parents to practice and play. They have the option to train for ski-racing. There are season passes that offer discounts. Sales also allow skiers to purchase alpine skis, snowboards, Nordic skis, and also that Obermeyer’s one-piece.
The Cochran ski area in Richmond, VT has produced two generations of Olympic ski racers and offers hundreds of local children the opportunity to learn skiing. For several years, the Cochran ski area has nurtured more than a dozen US team members who were not related to the Cochran and are still proud to have trained there.
So, what do children do in winters in the Cochran area?
The first generation Cochrans wanted children to come and have fun. They even allowed them in their kitchen. They were made to feel like a part of the family.
They didn’t envision making it to the world Championships or to the Olympics. They only wanted children to come regularly and keep skiing until they learnt it well. After returning home from school, children are expected to eat something and head off to the slope.
Skiing is an adventure sport. It helps children develop an outdoor attitude and do something worthwhile with their bodies and mind during the winters. Spending long hours practicing on the snow leads to perfection and even though they were not trained to race in the Olympics, they made it.
Children these days have the benefit of experiencing modern technology and tactics that put them at an advantage.