Stratton Mountain featured on Red Bench Series March 10

It’s a season of Stratton anniversaries, and the Vermont Ski and Snowboard Museum is highlighting three in their Red Bench Series on March 10. Representatives from Stratton Mountain, Stratton Mountain School and the Carlos Otis Clinic will be live starting at 7 pm for conversation and questions. 

To register for the webinar, visit 

While many played key roles in the launch of Stratton, it began with a trio. Frank Snyder, a Connecticut lawyer and businessman, was the skier who set his sites on the tallest peak in southern Vermont. Tink Smith was the Vermonter who could build anything, knew every inch of the mountain and couldn’t wait to get started. Sen. Ed Janeway was the lawmaker who helped pave the way in Montpelier, literally with approval for the Access Road.

Since opening in December 1961, there have been scores of firsts for Stratton. From the first mountain to fly in lift towers with a helicopter (October 1961), among the first ski areas to offer year-round recreation with the addition of golf in 1964, host of Vermont’s first World Cup race in 1978, the first major resort to welcome snowboarding (1983), the first snowboard school (with Jake Burton’s team) and 30-year home of the US Open Snowboarding Championships, to Lindsey Jacobellis’ record setting gold medals in the 2022 Winter Olympics.

Jacobellis is just one of the medal-winning athletes who graduated from the Stratton Mountain School. What began as a program to combine academics and athletics for a dozen Stratton ski racers has grown in scope and space over 50 years, and now has more than 900 alumni who have graduated to the Ivy League, National Teams and the Olympics, with Jacobellis and Jessie Diggins medaling in Bejing.  SMS grad and Snowboard Director Ross Powers earned bronze in 1998 and gold in 2002. 

Stratton was also a pioneer in building a medical clinic at the base of the mountain to take care of injured skiers.  Founded by Phil Snyder, Frank’s brother, in January 1972 the clinic boasted the best equipment and orthopedic care available thanks to Dr. Carlos Otis of Townshend and Dr. William MacAusland, a prominent Boston surgeon who recruited colleagues. The non-profit clinic continues its relationship with Massachusetts General continues today with surgeons and physicians volunteering in exchange for mountain time with their families and medical residents learning from the best. 

Kimet Hand will moderate. She began skiing at Stratton with her family in 1965, started working at Stratton in 1974 in a variety of roles, and has been instrumental in founding and managing a long list of programs including Stratton Mountain Girls, Stratton Foundation, Stratton Archives and the 40th and 50th anniversary celebrations. She worked on the 1978 World Cup and at the Arnold Palmer Golf Academy at Stratton. She is also a former SMS trustee and chairman of the board, Ski Ball chair and parent (Sarah Laidlaw Wilde ‘97). Kimet is a recipient of the 2012 Emo Henrich Award. 

The panel includes: 

Seth Boyd, a native of Whittingham, VT, has been at Stratton since 2003 and took over as Clinic Director in 2011. He has consistently gone above and beyond when dealing with patients who have received care in the clinic, often following up with them, weeks and months after they returned to their homes for recovery of an injury. Seth’s very personal attention to Clinic patients, the Ski Patrol, the Doctors who staff the clinic, and the first aid and clinic personnel earned him the 2021 Emo Henrich Award. 

Sverre Caldwell, a graduate of The Putney School and Dartmouth College ’77, joined the Stratton Mountain School (SMS) in 1980 as the Head Nordic Coach. Caldwell shaped this program into a nationally recognized leader in preparing athletes for all levels of competition. He coached the elite SMS T2 Team including Jessie Diggins, until his retirement in 2019. Well-known throughout the US skiing community, Sverre is a member of the legendary “Caldwell Clan”, the son of John and Hep, brother of Tim, Peter and Jennifer, father of Sophie, Isabel and Austin. He was inducted into the Vermont Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame in 2013 

Benzi Henrich Ross grew up at Stratton in her family’s inn, the Birkenhaus. She is the daughter of longtime Stratton Ski School Director Emo Henrich, who also brought the music of Austria to the mountains of Vermont with his Stratton Mountain Boys, and Ann who ran the Birkenhaus with gracious style. Benzi graduated from the Stratton Mountain School and the University of Vermont. She is the executive director of Project Bike Tech based in Frisco, CO, and skis and bikes every day possible.

Lee Romano chronicled the Stratton Mountain lifestyle for decades as publisher of Stratton Magazine. He first joined Stratton in 1975 and worked as advertising manager and publisher of the original Stratton News. A skilled bass guitarist and singer, he and Andy Avery formed the duo Pure and Simple, performing at the Stratton Mountain Inn and around southern Vermont throughout the ‘70s and ‘80s; today he performs with the popular Don’t Leave Band. Lee received the 2016 Emo Henrich Award for his personal and professional support of numerous organizations including the Stratton Mountain School and Carlos Otis Clinic.  

To register for the webinar, visit

Posted Feb 26, 2022 by Myra Foster