SODA SPRINGS, Calif. – Skiing with “Miss B” is skiing with a legend.
Babette, affectionately known as Miss B, has 60-plus years of skiing, 50 years of teaching and at least three generations of families that have been coming to her ski school classes for some 40 years.
Babette came to California in 1949 to attend Marin Junior College. She had never put on a pair of skis even though she was from Wisconsin. She joined the Berkeley Ski Club and thus began her journey. She knew she wanted to be a teacher, but her real calling was teaching on the snow, not in a classroom.
She moved to the Donner Summit and became a ticket taker at Sugar Bowl and worked for room and board and $150 a month. It was there she met Bill Klein, who taught her how to really ski. She loved to ski with the Austrian instructors and started racing to improve her skills. She became such an accomplished ski racer she won the prestigious Silver Belt Race at Sugar Bowl and the Roch Cup in Aspen in 1955. She tried out for the 1956 Olympic Ski Team but wasn't selected.
She then moved to Austria and the famous ski school at St. Anton. After several seasons in Europe, Babette returned to Truckee. In 1960 at Squaw Valley, Babette carried the Olympic Torch into Squaw Valley on barrel staves as there was very little snow and relayed the torch to myself. The next year, with the opening of Alpine Meadows, she applied for a teaching job with the ski school and Luggi Foeger. At that time, there were no female ski instructors in Foeger's new school. Babette persisted and was finally hired. Under Alpine's next Ski School Director, Werner Schuster, Babette became a fully certified ski instructor and taught at Alpine Meadows for 16 years. Babette was the Ski School Director at Soda Springs for three years and then moved to Northstar, where she taught for the next 20-plus years. One of her proudest moments is being the coach for Team USA World Transplant Games in Switzerland. In 1995 Babette was named as one of the “Top One Hundred” ski instructors in the nation by Skiing Magazine. She was selected , not just for her technical excellence, but her ability to facilitate ski development and teach a class or private lesson with equal success. She is one of 10 instructors in the Sierra Nevada to receive the recognition. In 2004, Babette, along with Elissa Slanger of Truckee and Lyn Mundt, from Reno, Nev. was inducted into the Veterans Ski Instructors' Hall of Fame in Deer Valley, Utah. It was the first time for women to be recognized and inducted to the Hall of Fame.
— Reprinted with permission from the Donner Historical Society news letter.