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Joan Hannah

Hall of Fame Class of 1978

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Joan Hannah hails from Franconia, New Hampshire where she was introduced at an early age to skiing by her father, Sel.

Joan Hannah brought back one of two bronze medal won by Americans at Chamonix in 1962. Her performances there helped to establish the new U.S. alpine image in international skiing.

Joan was raised in Franconia and literally was born into skiing. The Hannahs are a family of skiers. Her parents had four children – Joan, Lucy, Frank and young Sel, all skiers. They have often been referred to as America’s “skiingest family.”

Sel was an accomplished racer. He achieved fame as a collegiate ski racing champion while attending Dartmouth. One of the races he won was the Canadian Combined Championship in 1936.
Joan credits her father as the individual who instilled in her both the fierce competitive spirit and technical skills that helped her compile one of the most distinctively successful careers in American women’s alpine racing.

Under the guidance of Ollie Cole, Franconia coach and former university skier, Joan continued to develop her racing skills.

Joan’s first major accomplishment came in 1954 when, at the age of 14, she made the USEASA Junior National Team. She continued to perfect her championship talents while racing for 4 consecutive years on the USEASA Junior National Team.

Joan’s most outstanding accomplishment, of course, was the winning of the bronze in the 1962 F.I.S. World Championship Giant Slalom at Chamonix, France. In this event, American women placed three in the first six.

In addition to competing in the 1962 F.I.S., she was a member of the 1966 F.I.S. team which competed in Portillo, Chile.

Joan was also a member of the 1960 U.S. Olympic Team at Squaw Valley and at Innsbruck, Austria in 1964.

She competed in many major ski meets, some of which are listed as follows:

• 1959 Won the International Downhill Race at Stowe
• 1959 Women’s North American Giant Slalom at Squaw Valley
• 1966 Downhill at the Mt. Werner Classic
• 1966 Downhill in the Echo Cup Championships
• 1966 Won the Giant Slalom in the Combined Canadian Nationals
• 1966 Took first place in the Alta Snow Cup

Joan Hannah was elected to the U.S. National Ski Hall of Fame in 1978.

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