(Photo Credit: Getty Images)
(Photo Credit: Getty Images)
Betsy Snite Riley

Norwich (Vt.)

Alpine skiing

Inducted 2017

A teenage national champion, Betsy Snite Riley became the second-ever American woman to win an Olympic medal in alpine skiing following fellow Vermonter Andrea Mead Lawrence (VSHOF ’12). She won the silver medal in the slalom at the 1960 Winter Olympics in Squaw Valley, Calif. 

A native of Norwich, Vt., she learned to ski at the Ford Sayre program in the Upper Valley of Vermont and New Hampshire. At age 16, in the 1955 U.S. slalom championship, she defeated Olympic gold medalist Lawrence to win the national title. She also won the downhill and combined at the U.S. Eastern Championships that year.

Snite Riley was named to the 1956 U.S. Olympic team but did not compete due to injury. In the 1960 Winter Games at Squaw Valley, Calif., she won the silver medal in slalom and placed fourth in the giant slalom. She was a member of two FIS teams and won the famed Arberg Kandahar World Cup slalom in 1958 and 1959. 

After her racing career, she was a skiwear consultant, assisting in developing fabrics and fashions as well as making personal appearances. She later owned and operated the Betsy Snite Sports Shop in Stowe from 1977 until she passed away from cancer in 1984 at the age of 45. 

In 1978, the Ford Sayre program started the Betsy Snite Riley Memorial Plaque to be given to a girl age 14 and under who exhibits “good sportsmanship and the greatest improvement in racing technique.” 

Snite Riley was inducted into the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame in 1976, the Vermont Alpine Racing Association Hall of Fame in 2001, and the Vermont Skiing Hall of Fame in 2006.

Vermont Life Magazine

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