Andrea Lawrence with poet Gary Snyder
Last summer, as Tristan and I parked by the gate that bars the road to Soda Springs, near Tuolumne Meadows, a car drove up to the gate. A frail-looking older woman with white hair got out, opened the lock, and pulled off the heavy chain that loops over the posts. Using a cane, she walked slowly back to her car to drive through.
Accustomed to helping my mom , was recovering from a total hip replacement, I ran over to close the gate.
“Are you going to hear Gary Snyder?” she asked. “Would you like a ride?”
After grabbing our water, we rode with Andrea Lawrence to Gary Snyder’s poetry reading.
Tristan chatting with two-time Olympic gold Medalist Andrea Lawrence
After the reading, at the sumptuous feast prepared by the organizers, we chatted more with Andrea Lawrence, who had been a supervisor of nearby Mono county, home to Mammoth ski area.
When we asked Andrea if she was a skier, she said yes, she’d skied all of her life. When we mentioned that we skied, and that Tristan had raced, she said that she too had raced. A little more conversation revealed that she first raced in the 1948 Winter Olympics in St. Moritz, and later Andrea won two gold medals in Oslo in 1952.
So much for the frail old lady!
She invited us to visit her in Mammoth, which, sadly, we failed to do. I recently read Andrea Lawrence’s obituary in Ski magazine, and realized we’d missed a never-to-be-repeated opportunity to speak at more length with one of the former greats of skiing. Since Tristan plans to pursue ski racing, it may have been a rare opportunity for him