Master Alpine Ski Racer
Larry Voelker has participated in alpine ski racing since he was 15; at 82, he is still competitive: “In my freshman year I was Rhode Island State’s entire team, skiing under the sponsorship of Professor William Beck Sr. and competing against other New England colleges.” His best race then was a 9th place finish in the New England downhill championships.
A mechanical engineer with General Electric, Voelker joined the company’s Pittsfield, Mass., operation in 1959. He resumed skiing, serving as ski instructor at the Bousquet ski area on weekends for 17 years. He received his ski instructor certification via a week-long examination at Wildcat Mountain, N.H., and became head coach of the Berkshire Junior Ski Team based at Bousquet.
Since retiring from General Electric in 1988, Voelker has compiled many top results while racing in the master’s. Last year he won the Eastern Regional Championship, a four-day competition held at Okemo Mountain, Vt.
For the past 24 years, Voelker has been an active member of the U.S. Ski Association, the national organization that governs all master’s ski racing. There are eight divisions of master’s racing; Voelker participates in the New England division. In late March racing quotas from each division participate in a week-long competition for the national title, this year it’s at Copper Mountain, Colo. Voelker, who has participated 18 times, will ”sit this one out.”
All four of his children grew up on skis and attended high school at ski racing academies in Vermont and New Hampshire: “Three of our children had high ratings for their respective college teams, and Heidi, our youngest, was a three-time Olympian for the U.S. who competed internationally for 12 years. She is now ‘ambassador for skiing’ at Deer Valley ski area in Park City, Utah.”
Voelker restricts himself to selected master’s races. “I do race training twice a week at Bousquet with racing associates. Sometimes we retreat to Jiminy Peak in Hancock, Mass., for speed training. Then it’s off to the weekend races!”
—Vida-Wynne Griffin ’67, M.A. ’72