Picabo Street inducted into skiing hall of fame

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by Stephanie Zepelin

NWCN.com

Posted on January 30, 2013 at 11:07 PM

Updated Thursday, Jan 31 at 4:47 PM

SUN VALLEY -- Picabo Street is one of Idaho's all-time greatest sports stars. She's a two-time Olympic medalist and Idaho's original 'Golden Girl'. Wednesday, Street came back home for for a big celebration: her induction into the Sun Valley Skiing Hall of Fame.

It might be the only place in the world where five-and-a-half-years old is 'old'.

"I was actually old for a ski racer," Street told KTVB. "A lot of people made fun of me, but I was like five-and-half when I first started skiing here in Sun Valley," said Street.

The Olympic ski racer from Triumph, Idaho first hit the slopes in Sun Valley.

"Wow, I'm on the stage with Picabo? I'm in the same line up as Picabo? That is really cool," said Muffy Ritz, a Nordic skier and fellow 2013 inductee into the Sun Valley Ski Hall of Fame.

Ritz said she actually helped with Street's training early on.

"Unbelievable athlete -- how could you not be?" Ritz said. "She is one of the most tenacious women I've ever seen or met."

Street now lives in Birmingham, Alabama, and although thousands of miles away from the Gem State, she continues to inspire young Sun Valley skiers.

Seven-year-old Ripley Scales came to the hall of fame celebration to watch the events.

"The thing that I like best about skiing is that you get to go real fast," Scales said. "And it's actually pretty fun to go real fast."

Picabo Street knows a thing or two about going fast, and there's a whole team behind the skiing champ.

"There's people here that were involved in Picabo's training, there's people here who were involved in supporting that growth of a skier. So it's a whole community behind every one skier," said Taylor Paslay, from the Sun Valley Skiing Hall of Fame.

"I'm absolutely a product of Baldy, a product of this town, a product of this environment. And I know there's kids growing up the same way. And so I look for some of them to follow in my footsteps, and when they do I'm there for them," said Street.

She said being inducted into the Sun Valley Ski Hall of Fame means more to her than Olympic gold.

"It means so much it makes me want to cry... absolutely. Because I remember when I was young and I had some races I had to go to, and I didn't have enough money with my family to do it. And I remember going around from business to business in this community and those people pulling together the funds to send me to Alaska to defend my title. And I've never forgotten it as long as I live. And now I work hard to do the same thing for young kids, because this community did that for me. So to be back here with such a prestigious honor it's almost too much.

A big part of Street's mission is to pay it forward to the next generation, so during her visit, she hit the hill with a few kids in Sun Valley.

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