Barbara Ferries Henderson
Hall of Fame Class of 1978
Information submitted in a nomination letter to the U.S. National Ski Hall of Fame by H. Pflieger.
Barbara Ferries was introduced to the sport of skiing at the age of three in the Copper Country of Northern Michigan, which has the heaviest annual snowfall in the Central U.S. Barbara was quite enthused about snow and as a result, at the age of four she was enrolled in the Weber Ski School.
Parental interest and encouragement played an important role in Barbara Ferries becoming active in skiing. Her parents, Doctor and Mrs. Charles Ferries, Jr.’s support resulted in Barbara becoming one of America’s outstanding skiers. Her determination and enthusiasm were also key factors in her attaining success.
The Ferries had four children – all skiers and racers – Chuck, Mary Anne, Barbara and Jim. Barbara started racing while quite young. On occasion she was not allowed to race because of her age, not her capabilities. In addition to alpine racing, she participated in jumping competition. In 1956, age 11, she jumped 100 feet in a meet.
Fred Lonsdorf, a very capable coach at Houghton’s Michigan Technological University, is credited for much of Barbara’s success, particularly in her early development. Fred’s coaching helped Barbara develop into a capable racer. Later, she continued making great strides as a competitor under the able guidance and coaching of her brother, Charles Ferries, an Olympic racer and coach.
Barbara won a number of races in the Central Junior Division. In 1960, she won the National Junior Girls’ Slalom Championship and the National Junior Girls’ Downhill/Slalom Championship.
Her brother Chuck felt that she needed western skiing to develop her greatest potential. Arrangements were made in 1960 for Barbara to attend high school in Aspen. The following year, she transferred to the high school in Boulder. After graduation from high school, she enrolled at the University of Colorado in Boulder.
Barbara continued in ski competitions while attending college. She and her brother Chuck participated in many important meets. They were considered a most outstanding brother-sister combination.
In 1961, she won the downhill and giant slalom at the Roch Cup and the downhill and slalom in the Jimmy Griffith Memorial Cup Races. Her brother won the men’s slalom.
Barbara’s greatest accomplishment, of course, was winning the bronze medal in downhill at the 1962 F.I.S. World Championships held at Charmonix, France. She also finished fifth in the slalom and eighth in the combined.
Barbara and Chuck were members of the U.S. Olympic Team in 1964. She was the youngest member of the team.
Barbara Ferries Henderson was elected to the U.S. National Ski Hall of Fame in 1978.
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