Janette Burr Johnson
Hall of Fame Class of 1970
A native of Seattle, Washington, Jannette Johnson began skiing in 1945 and proved her competitive ability immediately. She had incredible balance and fearlessness.
Although her father made skis and she lived in the shadow of Mount Rainer and Mount Baker, Jannette Burr Johnson was disinterested in skiing until the 1945-46 ski season – when she was seventeen years old.
Once Johnson decided to compete however, she was a hard-driven performer with incredible balance. She had that “killer instinct” that is found only in the very best skiers and never skied at anything but top speed – despite the handicap of being nearly unable to see without glasses.
Some people considered Jannette as good a downhiller as Andrea Mead Lawrence and Katy Rodolph. She was selected for special coaching after the 1950 F.I.S. competition. While recognizing that Jannette had the technique and temperament demanded of a racer, the National Ski Association decided she needed to compete against the top European women. After racing in Austria and Switzerland, she was automatically placed on the 1952 Olympic squad.
Jannette’s distinguished racing career included the National Downhill Championships of 1948 and 1950, the North America Downhill Championship of 1950 and third place bronze medal for the giant slalom during the 1954 F.I.S. World Championships. Other highlights were winning the Pacific Northwest Ski Association Combined, the Daffodil Cup, the Heather Cup, the Golden Poles, Northwest Intercollegiate, the Penguin Giant Slalom in 1948, the Sir Arnold Lunn Race, Sun Valley Ski Club Championships and the Heather Cup in 1949, seventh place in downhill and giant slalom during the F.I.S. Championships and the Silver Belt in 1950, five first places in Europe during 1951, the Golden Rose Race win of 1952 and third place in the National Open Combined in 1953.
Jannette graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in physical education. After serving on the 1950 and 1954 F.I.S. teams and the 1952 Olympic Team, she won a bronze medal in giant slalom at the 1954 F.I.S. Championships (the only U.S. medal in the competition). Because her numerical standing remained high over the next two years, the NSA Technical Committee recommended that she be named an alternate on the 1956 Olympic squad.
Jannette Burr Johnson was elected to the U.S. National Ski Hall of Fame in 1970.
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