Tahoe City’s Bahrke to be inducted into ski hall of fame
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah. — Shannon Bahrke still remembers riding a double chair to the top of KT-22 as a kid.
That day, her coach Ray DeVre had taken the young skiers on the Squaw Valley Freestyle Team to one of the Tahoe area’s most iconic runs and had them positioned above a large cornice.
“I’m like, ‘Why would one do that? We could just ski around it,'” said Bahrke. “And he’s like, ‘Nope, full send.’
“Then he made us give him all our ski poles so we couldn’t wedge or turn going into it, but that’s how we got brave and I love that so much because it made us tough. Now we know we can do that and we’re confident we can do anything.”
Bahrke, 42, used those early experiences as a youngster in Lake Tahoe to fuel a career in freestyle skiing. She’d go on to become one of nation’s most decorated athletes in the sport, claiming a silver medal at the 2002 Winter Olympics, and then taking bronze at the 2010 games to become the first US women’s freestyle skier to win multiple Olympic medals.
In March, Bahrke will add U.S. National Ski & Snowboard Hall of Fame inductee to her list of accolades as a member of the class of 2023.
“I cannot believe it,” she said. “I’m just kind of a ski bum that’s been able to make it pretty far. It feels almost too big for me, but I’m so grateful.”
Bahrke grew up in Tahoe City, and like many youngsters, spent her childhood swimming in the lake, climbing the area’s mountains, playing team sports, and in the winter, skiing.
“The freedom, the mountains, the people, just everything about Tahoe gave me everything I needed to succeed,” said Bahrke.
Bahrke learned to ski at Homewood Mountain Resort and at age 12 she joined the Squaw Valley Freestyle Team. Through the guidance of coaches like DeVre, Greg Harrington, Duke Peterson, Clay Beck and others, she’d go on to become one of the top skiers the Lake Tahoe area has produced.
“Those were my coaches,” said Bahrke. “Those were the guys that helped all of us young kids do the things that we can do now. They gave us all the confidence and all of the ability, and you just had so much fun.”
After graduating from North Tahoe High School in 1998, Bahrke moved to Salt Lake and began attending the University of Utah. That same year she made the U.S. Ski Team.
In 12 years of competition on the national team, she claimed 27 World Cup podium finishes, seven first places, and six U.S. title during a 12-year career. In 2003, she won a World Cup title. She was also on three Olympic teams and six World Cup Championship teams.
She’d later get married and open several coffee shops in the Salt Lake City area. After having her first child in 2013, Bahrke sold the company and a few years later launched a new company, Team Power Hour, with the aim of hiring Olympians and Olympic hopefuls to guide corporate leaders and teams through leadership development, team building, and fitness workouts.
Aside from her company, Bahrke said she spends time volunteering, coaching, and working at Deer Valley Resort, providing her and her two children ample time on the slopes.
Before this March’s induction ceremony in Park City, Utah, Bahrke said she plans on returning to North Tahoe, where her parents still reside, to bring her two children to ski the local mountains for their first time.
“I just want people in Tahoe to know that I am so grateful for the community there,” said Bahrke. “Growing up, everybody was so supportive. I feel like everybody was a part of my journey whether it was just from cheering me on or getting me to the ski resort or just helping me out. I’m so thankful for everybody there. My heart and soul is in Tahoe.”
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