Teaching pizzas at Cochran’s.
THE “SKIING COCHRANS” are the undisputed first family of American
ski racing: Cochran siblings Barbara Ann, Bobby, Marilyn, and Lindy were
all Olympians in the 1960s and ‘70s; their children Roger Brown, Jimmy
Cochran, Jessica Kelley and Tim Kelley are all current or recently retired
members of the U.S. Ski Team. (With Jimmy competing in Vancouver.)
Surely their success is no secret, but what about the secret of their success?
Just ask Barbara Ann Cochran — winner of the slalom at the 1972 Olympic
Winter Games in Sapporo, Japan — who’s made it her life’s mission to help
others find joy and success through the sport of skiing. “I’ve been teaching
skiing on and off since I was a kid, and to this day I absolutely love it,” Barbara Ann says. “I also do a lot of work with athletes — particularly young
athletes — on helping them handle the pressures of competition.”
Barbara Ann teaches skiing at Cochran’s Ski Area in Richmond, Vt., a tiny
ski area started by her parents, Ginny and Mickey, on their hillside farm in
1961. Though small in stature, Cochran’s Ski Area looms large in the annals
Olympic champ Barbara Ann Cochran
lends insight and expertise to aspiring
skiers, athletes and students BY BRYCE HUBNER
of American skiing history, mostly because Barbara Ann and her siblings
put it on the map when they dominated the sport of alpine racing decades
ago. Today, the place remains a family-friendly and affordable place for New
Englanders to learn skiing.
“Our most popular program — started by my sister Lindy, and which I now
run — is called ‘Ski Tots,’ where we teach parents how to teach their kids how
to ski,” Barbara Ann says. “It’s fun, and over the years we’ve established a really successful program that taps into the imaginations of the kids we work
with. We never use technical terms, for example, and instead use things like
imaginary pizza wedges during games of ‘Red Light, Green Light.’”
Learning how to teach skiing from an Olympic gold medalist is one thing.
Learning how to become an Olympic champion from an Olympic gold medalist is quite another. For her work with aspiring athletes, Barbara Ann steps
away from life at Cochran’s Ski Area and slides into her work at Golden Opportunities in Sports, a company she started several years ago that features
programs for improving athletes’ mental fortitude.
Barbara Ann says she’s constantly reading, taking courses, and learning
about cutting-edge ways to give athletes a psychological advantage, and that
her Golden Opportunities programs are also inspired “by everything she’s