Longtime Mad River Glen owner and president Betsy Pratt will be honored by the Mad River Glen Cooperative – that she was instrumental in making possible – at Green & Gold this weekend.
Pratt has been called a maverick by some and that's probably true, but she has far more depth than that. She was a lone woman-owner amid a male-dominated industry in an era that many young women today couldn't imagine. She successfully guided the mountain for over two decades and then had the vision and drive to chart a new path for Mad River Glen’s future. It was Pratt who came up with the concept of selling the mountain to Mad River Glen’s skiers.
“Nearly 25 years later we look back and see with 20/20 hindsight how much of a visionary she truly is,” said Mad River Glen’s former long-term marketing director, Eric Friedman, who is now executive director of the Mad River Valley Chamber of Commerce.
Pratt first came to Mad River Glen as a college student while attending Vassar College. On her weekend forays to the Green Mountains she met a fellow skier named Truxton Pratt and they eventually married. They were friendly with Mad River Glen founder Roland Palmedo and eventually purchased a stake in the mountain in 1972. After her husband died in1975, she became the majority stockholder of the Mad River Corporation.
Her vision of Mad River Glen was consistent with Palmedo’s. She resisted her former business partner’s plan to alter the mountain and further develop the real estate potential. Pratt considered herself a steward of the mountain and dedicated herself to maintaining Palmedo’s vision. She saw Mad River Glen as a place that offered a challenging, outdoor adventure in a pristine, natural setting and was concerned about keeping Mad River in its natural state as much as possible.
At a time when the ski industry was rapidly consolidating, Pratt bucked the trend and sold her mountain to the only people she trusted enough to maintain its spirit, Mad River Glen’s skiers.
“The entire Mad River Glen community owes a tremendous debt to Betsy for her commitment, conviction and belief in all the facets of the Mad River Glen experience that combine to create the incredible sense of place that it exudes,” general manager Matt Lillard said.
“There are lots of great stories about Betsy Pratt and some of them are even true. Surely many of them will come up over the upcoming Green & Gold Weekend. We hope that future generations of young skiers will learn about Betsy and what she has meant to our community and what she will continue to mean for years to come,” he added.
The plaque honoring Pratt will hang right across from Palmedo’s at the entrance to the Basebox.
Over Green & Gold Weekend, Mad River Glen’s traditional kickoff to the ski season, there will be a special presentation at 4:30 p.m. at the entry to the Basebox prior to the traditional Shareholder’s Town Meeting. The idea of honoring Pratt with a plaque was the concept of the Mad River Homeowners Association and was wholeheartedly supported by the Mad River Glen Cooperative’s board of trustees.