Ski racing star and long-time American television commentator, Christin Cooper, was recently honored with a bronze statue in her hometown of Sun Valley, Idaho. Friends, family, former coaches and racers turned out to get a first look and share some emotional memories.
On a breezy summer day, the canopy hiding the sculpture was roiled, then swept away right on cue, revealing the feisty ski racer in a moment of speed and determination as she passes a gate.
The action figure is the second of a planned six larger-than-life pieces for “Our Olympic Ladies,” a tribute conceived by local businessman, Brian Barsotti. A statue of 1948 gold medalist, Gretchen Fraser, was previously completed, and in the works are pieces honoring alpine Olympic medalists, Picabo Street and Susan Corrock, snowboard half-pipe Olympic gold medalist, Kaitlyn Farrington, and Paralympic star, Muffy Davis. Sculptor, Ben Victor, created the first two statues and is expected to continue with the project.
In a heart-felt speech, Cooper shared memories of growing up as a member of the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation local team, then moving on to the world stage with lessons learned. She was appreciative of former coaches, Pat Bauman, Jim Savaria, Michel Rudigoz, and others who contributed to her journey. She vows carry the mission of junior ski racing forward.
“I am honored, obviously, above all, though I am delighted that this monument may inspire kids to sign up and show up, to try a mountain sport that requires teamwork but also individualism and self-reliance in the outdoors,” Cooper said. “Supporting access and affordability to more kids is my rallying cry these days. Skiing will never be inexpensive, but a year or two in a junior program can be life-changing.”
Cooper is married to Mark Taché, a former U.S Team and professional ski racer. The couple split their time between Aspen, Colorado where they give back to their sport and community with historical and fundraising work, and Bozeman, Montana where they have for the past 20 years owned and operated Montana Ale Works, an award-winning restaurant and bar.
Release courtesy of David Butterfield.