Marion Post Caldwell
Hall of Fame Class of 2016
“Happiness doesn’t come from being the best, but rather being the best that you can be.”
Dan Post devised an incentive program to encourage his three children to read. They could swap “book points” for something special. Big brother Irwin wanted skis, and because Marion and Ellen wanted what he wanted, they became a skiing family. Marion remembers her first pair of skis cost 26 Dr. Seuss book points. Little did Dan and his wife Frieda realize their twin daughters would become world-class competitors and students of the sport.
Growing up you could say Marion and Ellen had two homes: the family home in Averill Park in upstate New York and Jiminy Park Ski Area just across the border in Massachusetts. From their first lesson, they were invited to be on Jiminy’s Junior Demonstration Team. Small but mighty, it didn’t take long before the twins showed their talent for tricks and were synchronizing ballet runs.
Skipping their high school graduation ceremony, the sisters drove to Airborne Eddie’s Summer Freestyle Camp across the country at Crystal Mountain, Washington. They had machine knitted and hand stitched 1500 ski hats to pay their tuition. Ed Ferguson encouraged them to turn pro the following winter.
In 1974, Marion began winning international ballet competitions. At Waterville Valley, New Hampshire, she choreographed her ballet run to “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing” only to find out it was Coca-Cola’s theme song; the event sponsor was Diet Pepsi. Welcome to the Big Leagues! At the event, she delivered the first back flip ever performed by a female skier in freestyle aerial competition history.
Marion was already performing on moving ski deks at ski shows throughout New England, but in 1975 she did a half-time show with fellow freestyler John Clendenin at the Patriots/Jets football game before 60,000 people.
Her notoriety as a performer landed her on a Flip Wilson CBS Television Special with Mark Stiegemeier and ice skaters Randy Gardner and Tai Babilonia, and on ABC’s “Challenge of the Sexes” with Wayne Wong. NBC’s “To Tell The Truth” had viewers nation-wide watching whether she and her two imposters could stump the panel. Marion’s skiing was shown on “ABC Wide World of Sports” five times and in several Warren Miller Ski Movies.
She loved the energy and the diversity of the people she met traveling the circuit, but above all Marion loved the movement, the kinetic sense inherent to skiing, the chance to be creative. She admits she didn’t set her sights to “beat” other competitors. In fact, what she disliked most was the idea of competing. Rather than celebrating a win, she remembers doing laundry, planning a new routine or diving into a book on many a victory night.
One of Marion’s proudest moments was at the 1976 World Trophy Freestyle competition at Snowbird. Jumpin’ Jack Johnston had been jumping his best ever, but the morning of the season’s final competition he could barely walk. She had taken a course in treating athletic injuries at the University of Vermont and offered to tape Jack’s ailing feet. It worked. Jumpin’ Jack skied away with the Men’s title and Marion won the Women’s Aerials.
Throughout her athletic career, Marion gave her best to the sport but she didn’t go on to promote Freestyle Skiing. Instead she studied math and psychology, always interested in how the brain processes patterns and movement. But Freestyle influenced the teacher she would become. From Choreographing ballet routines, she moved on to choreographing juggling shows for up to 70 youngsters at a time. Along with reading, writing and arithmetic, her students learn how to support each other as a team. They come to know that learning requires tenacity and hard work, and that success depends on having the courage to be the best you can be.
Marion has two sons, Ian and Timothy. She lives with her husband Tom in Evergreen, Colorado.
1970: New England Junior Masters Ski Champion
1972: 1st place, Junior National Championships of Exhibition Skiing
1974: WHSA Women’s International Ballet Champion, IFSA World Ballet Champion
1975-78: PFA Women’s Overall Grand Prix World Champion
1976-77: Women’s Overall (Ballet, Aerials, Moguls) Grand Prix World Champion
1977-79: Starred in London’s International Ski Show
1996: M.A. Curriculum and Instruction
2003: CCTM Outstanding Elementary Mathematics
2009-Present: President, Math Rocks! Inc.
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