Mad River Glen Ski Area in Fayston is a unique mountain, having one of the last single chair lifts in the country and its slogan, "Ski It If You Can."
But they also have one impressive woman. Marilyn Hilly has been coming to the ski area for over 50 years. Today, the 84-year-old is helping out with the beginners at the ski school. She started skiing and falling when she was their age and hasn't stopped since.
Marilyn's a native Vermonter from Northfield. It was her older brother, Ken, who put the bug in her ear about skiing. He said if you practice hard enough you could go to the Olympics. She became a very good skier.
She was in her early 20s when another man, named Jerry, came into her life.
Reporter Joe Carroll: How did you meet him?
Marilyn Hilly: I met him... um... having a beverage, having a beverage.
It was at a bar with her friends. She told her mom it was at an ice cream parlor. Jerry wanted to impress the young woman with his skiing skills, so they went to Stowe. He made it down the mountain, but couldn't stop.
"And I got into tears, 'cause he kept doing it and I said, I really like this guy!" Marilyn said.
He made it through the day without a broken bone, but a bruised ego. They fell in love, got married and moved to the suburbs of New York City. He was a lawyer, she was a teacher.
"I was a hopeful, one of the hopefuls," Marilyn said.
Marilyn excelled at surging down the slopes. She was so good, that she was on the U.S. Ski Team in the 1950s and at the age of 31 and with two kids, she tried out for the Olympics. But the flu got the best of her. She saw the tryouts for the Squaw Valley, Calif., Olympics from her hospital bed and didn't make the team.
"That was my window of opportunity," she said.
That was the end of her competitive career, but not skiing. They eventually had a third child and came up to Mad River almost every weekend.
But her need for speed hasn't diminished. She used to tear down the mountain like it was the autobahn. Now, she's more like a good driver on a two-lane road. No more black diamonds, which was fine for me. Marilyn showed me her mountain, a place I never skied.
But it's her daughter, Meg, who knows her best. She also teaches the kids. A picture of the two of them hangs in the lodge.
"It's hard to keep up with her!" Meg Hilly said.
After years away from each other, they now live together in the Mad River Valley.
"I have to tell her to slow down sometimes," Meg said.
Marilyn never made it to the Olympics and there isn't a medal for a passion in a sport, but what a prize-- a lifetime of skiing.
Hilly's husband and her brother passed away about four years ago.
Hilly is also a substitute teacher at Harwood Union High School.
PO Box 4508