to the Party Queen
Vicky Valar, 1958-2011 BY BILL MCCOLLOM
Vicky Valar and Chuck Tower at Aspen in 2008.
Vicky Valar, a bigger-than-life personality on the Rocky Mountain Masters ski racing
tour, took her own life on August 18, falling victim to the ravages of mental illness. The
news came as a shock to those who knew the effervescent 53-year-old. As the longtime
Social Chairperson of the Rocky Mountain Masters, Valar was the picture of positive
energy. A mental breakdown and resulting personality transformation, however, sent her
into a spiral from which an athlete even as deft as Valar could not recover.
Jim Roberts, a former chairman of the Rocky Mountain Masters, stumbled when trying
to recount her many contributions to masters racing. “She was our party queen,” he said.
“At the time when our series was growing, Vicky was at the center of it all. She set up
all our post-race parties, collected awards and raffle items and ran our race sponsorship
Valar was, in fact, one of the first to sponsor a race, which was named after her legendary skiing parents, Paul and Paula Valar. Her legacy, said Roberts, also included the famous pre-Christmas secret Santa party, and the Hawaii-themed spring race, where grass
skirts supplanted speed suits and coconut bras became the body protection of choice.
“She also made a point of bringing all her ski racing girlfriends together in the summer for social
gatherings,” said Roberts. “She
named them ‘The Divas’ and even
got them all special black and pink
Valar grew up in Franconia, N.H.,
and spent summers on the family
dairy farm in East Wallingford, Vt.
Skiing was in the genes. Both parents were inductees of the U.S. Ski
Hall of Fame. Paul was a former
member and coach of the Swiss
National Ski Team. After immigrating to the U.S., he owned and operated the ski schools at Cannon Mountain, Sunapee, and Mittersill. He later founded the
Professional Ski Instructors of America. Paula also compiled an impressive résumé, winning the U.S. downhill championships, competing on the U.S. Ski Team, and racing in the
1948 Olympic Winter Games. Paula then became an instructor, examiner and German
teacher at the nearby White Mountain School, where Vicky spent her high school years.
Those at the White Mountain School remember Valar as a bundle of energy, who never
seemed to have a bad day. Sports came so easily — ski racing, soccer, mountaineering
Vicky Valar revs up to race at the 2007
Keystone downhill in Colorado.
SkiRacing.com OC TOBER 31, 2011 | 66