Boston, MA Oct. 11, 2000--Olympian and National Ski Hall of Fame member Paula Kann Valar (Franconia, NH), wasannounced as the East Coast regional finalist for the Texaco Star Award today. The award, created in 1999, honors thecontributions of U.S. Ski and Snowboard Team alumni to their communities. Valar will be presented a $2,500 check tothe charity of her choice during the annual New England Ski & Snowboard Ball, one of the premier fundraising events forthe U.S. Ski and Snowboard Team Foundation, on October 13 at the Fairmont Copley Plaza, at 6:30 p.m.
Five regional winners will receive a $2,500 check for their favorite charity at the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Balls - from theEast (Oct. 13 at the Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel in Boston), Midwest (Oct. 20 in Chicago), West Coast (Oct. 27 in SanFrancisco), Rocky Mountains (Nov. 1 in Denver) and Intermountain (Nov. 3 in Park City, Utah). A $10,000 check will bepresented in the name of the national winner to their favorite charity at the New York Ski and Snowboard Ball, onNovember 6, 2000.
"Paula was an easy choice to receive this award based on her life experience and her commitment to bettering thecommunity around her," said Polly Rua, Sr. Manager of Sponsorships for Texaco. "This award was designed tosymbolize Texaco's commitment to our responsibility to the communities around the world and Paula exemplifies thesame commitment by her actions and dedication."
A two-time president and two-time vice president of the Franconia Chamber of Commerce, Valar founded Franconia'sannual Frostbite Follies winter carnival in 1969 and - at 78 - remains it's only chairperson. She ran the instruction programat The White Mountain School in Bethlehem, N.H., for two decades, taught German for half-dozen years, is a formerpresident of the School's Parents Association and spent 10 years as a trustee of the school. In 1997, to mark her 75thbirthday, she and her family founded the Paula K. Valar Scholarship Fund, which benefits local students who could nototherwise afford to attend the school. "The White Mountain School is my not-so-secret love," Valar said.
She also spent 12 years helping run the Copper Cannon Outdoor Recreation Center, which provides opportunities toenjoy the outdoors for underprivileged New Hampshire youth, including equipment, ski lessons and lift passes. Afounding member of the New England Ski Museum, she also helped found a "sister town" relationship betweenFranconia and Mittersill, Austria. She said the $2,500 would be split between The White Mountain School and theCopper Cannon Center.
"I haven't done these things for money. But I must tell you, the satisfaction I have received is priceless," Valar said. "I'm78 but I feel like 38; I still ski and do other things, and I still have other projects to do. I'm very grateful for this Texaco StarAward, which will help many young people, and for all the opportunities I've had in the United States."
Valar was born in Austria but evacuated to England shortly after Hitler and his Nazi troops rolled in. She came to theUSA in 1940, working briefly in Manhattan before she and her father moved to North Conway, N.H., because Austrianlegend Hannes Schneider was instructing skiing at Mount Cranmore Ski Area. As a teenager, she worked as a volunteernurse's aide in a local hospital during the war, became a U.S. citizen in 1946, and raced in the 1948 Olympics in St.Moritz, Switzerland, and in the 1950 World Alpine Ski Championships in Aspen, Colo. Valar retired after the 1950season - and married Swiss racer Paul Valar (they celebrated their 50th anniversary June 10). In 1953, she became thefirst woman examiner for the Professional Ski Instructors of America and has never retired from community service.
The first national Texaco Star Award winner was Jimmie Heuga, the 1964 Olympic medal-winner who - after finding hehad multiple sclerosis - founded the Jimmie Heuga Center in Vail, Colo., which focuses on a person's wellness anndencourages them to lead healthy, active lives.