Stratton's Powers named to state Sports Hall of Fame


BENNINGTON — Ross Powers, the director of the snowboard program at Stratton Mountain School and a 2002 Gold Medalist at the Salt Lake City Olympic Games, has another accolade to add to his trophy case.

Powers, who is from Londonderry, is part of the 2019 Class of the Vermont Sports Hall of Fame, the list of which was revealed on Wednesday afternoon.

"It's an honor to be a part of this year's class," Powers said. "There's so many great athletes from the state of Vermont, and to be a part of that is special."

In addition to Powers, the VSHOF's seventh induction class includes World Cup champion and Olympic moguls skier Ann Battelle; state and NCAA hockey championship coach Bill Beaney; softball standout and pro baseball player Elizabeth Burnham; four-time Olympic Nordic skier Larry Damon; stock car driver Harmon "Beaver" Dragon; field hockey star Jenny Everett; football and track star Jeff Hughes; basketball legends Layne Higgs and Rich Tarrant; record-setting state amateur golfer Holly Reynolds; and Olympic alpine skier Tiger Shaw. The late Mal Boright, a legendary journalist and a founder of the Vermont Sports Hall of Fame, was selected by the hall's board of directors as its David Hakins Inductee.

Powers was born in Bennington and grew up snowboarding at Bromley Mountain in Manchester.

"Bromley was my babysitter," Powers said. "I fell in love with snowboarding. I was lucky to be here with Burton [Snowboard Co.] close by. Snowboarding came [to Vermont] early on, I got into it and grew into it."

As a student at SMS, Powers captured the Gold Medal at the 1996 FIS Snowboarding World Championship in Austria.

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Two years later, when the Olympic Games added snowboarding as a medal event, Powers won a bronze medal in Nagano, Japan, in the halfpipe.

Four years later, in 2002 on home soil in Salt Lake City, Powers, at 23 years old, led an American sweep in the halfpipe.

With his family in attendance in Utah, Powers became the first Vermont male athlete to win a Winter Olympics Gold medal.

In 2010, Powers returned to Stratton Mountain School as the director of the snowboard program, one of five winter sports programs at the academy.

"Time goes fast," Powers said. "Now being at Stratton, I'm helping the next generation. Every day, I'm out there, working with the kids."

Along with his coaching, Powers is a philanthropist, the founder of the Ross Powers Foundation and the Level Field Fund. Since it was started in 2001, the Foundation has provided funding to dozens of deserving athletes. The Fund raises money for talented athletes with limited financial resources.

Now at 39, Powers becomes a member of the Vermont Sports Hall of Fame's 2019 class.

"Stratton Mountain School is an amazing place," Powers said. "I'm psyched to be here, watching our athletes grow as people, whether they go to the Olympics or not."


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