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Nancy Reynolds Booth

Hall of Fame Class of 1972

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Information submitted in a nomination letter to the U.S. National Ski Hall of Fame by Patricia Peterson.

Nancy Reynolds Cooke is rated among North America’s most extraordinary sportswomen.

Nancy Reynolds Cooke, 1937 graduate of Bennington (VT) College, member of the American Women’s Tem in Europe for the 1938 F.I.S., named to the 1940 Olympic Team, wife, mother and grandmother is rated among North America’s most extraordinary sportswomen. From her early ski days on the hills of Vermont to international competition and national championships won, she has been a dedicated Skisport builder.

Nancy Reynolds was National Women’s Closed and Open Slalom Champion of 1940 at Sun Valley, Idaho; the Closed Downhill and Combined Champion of 1941 at Aspen, Colorado and during 1939 through 1941 she established an enviable record in competitions all over North America.

Her American Ski Annual documented triumphs of 1940 included the Alpine Combined Championship of F.I.S. sanctioned Internationals at Alta, Utah based on winning the slalom and second in downhill; the Combined Championship of the Far West Kandahar at Mt. Hood, Washington and a second place in the First Annual Silver Bell in California’s Sugar Bowl. She was certified as an internationally-rated Class “A” competitor.

While what was to have been an Olympic year produced Nancy’s best racing season, she had sparkled the previous winter during the Olympic tryouts and 1939 National Championships at Mt. Hood. Competing against an international entry of open class and amateur invaders, she placed 6th in slalom for the second best showing of the American girls and 10th in the downhill. As a member of the Amateur Ski Club of New York she had gone West to train at Sun Valley. Even though the 1940 Winter Olympic Games were called off due to World War II, Mrs. Cooke wore a United States Olympic Ski Team insignia.

Nancy’s ski career began as a boarding school student of Hanover, New Hampshire for a Dartmouth Carnival. A fraternity student put her on cross-country skis with boots attached to slats. This “ski fever” was carried by Nancy to Bennington where she organized a “ski day”. Among the instructors were Sel Hannah, Warren Chivers and Otto Schniebs, all now U.S. National Ski Hall of Fame members. That launched skiing at Bennington.

During Nancy’s senior year (1937), she competed at Cannon Mountain, placing behind the foreign entrants. Next came the great invitation – when skiing benefactor, Alice Damrosch Kiaer persuaded Nancy to try out for the U.S. Ski Team by making the trip to Europe for the 1938 F.I.S. and various national championships. Gaining this experience enabled her to compete with honors on the North American competitive scene in 1939, 1940 and 1941. The next stop was Brattleboro, Vermont where (1944 through 1950) Mrs. Cooke taught skiing for the Brattleboro Outing Club. She had as many as 100 juniors on the slopes each week.

It was Nancy’s husband, Cookie as he was known best, who founded the Mt. Mansfield chairlift, along with Roland Palmedo. After they sold out, Cookie and Nancy climbed Mad River and another ski area was born. This outstanding American ski woman and onetime international competitor said: “Any of the old-time skiers have to keep improving to keep skiing – and that’s good. I wouldn’t want to have to ski as fast as the racers do now but I’d love to ski as well.”

Nancy Reynolds Cooke was elected to the U.S. National Ski Hall of Fame in 1972.

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