Class of 2022
Innovator and Leader in West Virginia Snow Sports
Special Olympics - snow sports contenders, sponsors, guides, equipment, coaches
Instruction - directors, instructors, coaches
Jennifer began figure skating at age 10. Her first competition was in Toronto, Canada. Jennifer qualified for her first singles U.S. regionals competition at age 11. That summer (1975), Jennifer started pairs figure skating with Robbie Baker. At 12, Jennifer and Robbie won the 1976 South Atlantic regionals. They went on to win the Eastern U.S. sectionals in Novice Pairs. In 1977 and 1978, they won the Upper Great Lakes (region) Junior Pairs champion. Later in 1979, the pair won the Midwestern Sectional silver, qualifying for the 1979 National competitors.
At 16, Jennifer became the youngest West Virginia skater to pass the rigorous eighth and final level of the Gold skills test in figures and freestyle, administered by the United States Figure Skating Association.
In 1982, Jennifer and Robbie passed the highest Gold test qualification for pairs skating before graduating high school. Later in 1982, while in college at West Virginia Wesleyan, Jennifer was critically injured in a car crash. She sustained multiple injuries, the most serious being a traumatic brain injury (TBI), resulting in visual impairment and leaving her legally blind.
Jennifer returned to West Virginia Wesleyan. In her junior year, she took the “Learn to Ski” J-term class and learned to ski at Snowshoe as one of the first in their BOLD (Bild Outdoor Leisure Development) - adaptive skiers program.
Jennifer came to Canaan Valley in 1986/87 and met John Lutz. She skied with John Lutz and many other BOLD Guides from ski school. While in graduate school, Jennifer began volunteer work with several disability groups and organizations before becoming Executive Director of the Brain Injury Association of West Virginia (BIA-WV). Through working with those groups, she learned about the National Blind Skiing championships, but she had never skied gates before. Jennifer began skiing with guides like “Racing” Timmy Worden and Mike “Swifty” Messenger. She also trained by competing in recreational races held at Canaan Valley Resort. Jennifer learned that the US Association for Blind Athletes’ national ski championships were being held in Vail, Colorado. Her former skate partner, Robbie Baker, was living in Aspen. Jennifer asked Robbie to act as her guide. He said yes, and the pair skied together and won National medals in GS & SuperG in 1989.
Additionally, Jennifer has coached and taught figure skating since 1987. She has worked with all ages and abilities - tots, teens, adults, blind, adaptive, etc. Jennifer has continued to alpine and cross-country ski.