www.bendbulletin.com, 21 Feb 2005 [cached]
Eleanor Davidson's children always said they felt deprived while growing up because they couldn't watch Saturday morning cartoons.That's because the Davidson family was always at the mountain, skiing.Davidson
, a 75-year-old Bend resident and retired pharmacist, could spend the mornings of her
golden years sleeping in.Instead, she
is at Mount Bachelor several days a week skiing with her
friends and training for Alpine races.She
competed in both a city league race and NASTAR competition on Jan. 13 at Bachelor.She
earned a bronze medal in NASTAR and posted an impressive time, considering she
missed a gate and had to climb back up the slope to round it.
The two races meant four runs in one day, which was a lot for a woman who cracked a tibia last year when she
leg into a giant slalom gate.
After 31 years of Alpine racing, it was her
first trip down the mountain on a sled.She
underwent surgery to ensure that the bone healed properly, and she
had to take most of last season off.This year, she
has been taking it easy and not training as hard.
But "taking it easy" is a relative term for Davidson
learned to ski in the 1950s while at the University of Washington
, studying for a degree in pharmaceuticals.While living in Seattle, she was a member of the Seattle Mountaineers club and reached the summit of the six highest peaks in Washington.
"I started with mountain climbing," she
recalls."Meanwhile, skiing was coming into popularity.It just seemed more glamorous than climbing mountains."Davidson
moved to Bend in 1973.That same year she
also began competing in National Standard Race (NASTAR) events at what was then still known as Bachelor Butte.Back then, Bachelor would host several NASTAR races a week during the ski season.She
notes that NASTAR and city league races were , and still are , welcoming to skiers of all abilities.
"NASTAR made it (skiing) more fun," she
says."It was an atmosphere where you didn't have to be quite so good."She
entered the local races and, she
skiing improved rapidly.She then went along with some friends to Pacific Northwest Ski Association (PNSA) races and, rather than just be a spectator, she thought she'd give those races a try too.
On Davidson's race resume are four trips to the NASTAR nationals plus several invitations to the United States Ski Association
Masters national race.Her
best performance came in the early 1980s when, at 55, she
qualified for the Masters nationals by earning a top-three spot at a PNSA regional contest.At nationals, she
took third in the downhill competition in her
not satisfied just to ski down the groomed runs.She
likes to challenge herself on the giant slalom course and in competition.
"There's something about the discipline of going around the poles," she
says."You must learn to ski more efficiently."
Davidson plans to enter the PNSA championships , a race in which she
always makes it a point to compete , when the event comes to Mount Bachelor this April.
"I do have this feeling of wanting to see how well I can do," she
says."No two races are alike."She
notes that the differences in snow conditions and terrain make each race unique and challenging.
stays fit year-round; she
remembers that she
took up bicycling in her
30s, after the year she
felt "crippled" on her
first day skiing of the season.Back then, she
exercised in the offseason in order to stay in shape for skiing.
"Everything else I've done," she
says, "is so I can be better at it (skiing)."
takes a yoga/Pilates class three times a week at Juniper Swim and Fitness Center
in Bend.When ski season is over, she
enjoys hiking and biking.
Last summer, she
and a group of her
lady friends bicycled most of the more than 250-mile stretch of highway from Banff to Jasper in Canada's Rocky Mountain region.
Although still recovering from leg surgery from the previous spring, she
did manage to ride up to 20 miles a day.Davidson
is the oldest in her
group of seven friends who hail from Bend, Portland and Maine.
(Davidson) is an incredible skier.
The friends skied hard for six days at Snow Basin in Utah last month before taking in another three days on the slopes at Sun Valley, Idaho, which Davidson
says is her
favorite place to ski.Davidson
has taken three ski vacations to Europe and once even competed in a race in France.Twice she
has skied in South America.In the mid-1990s, when she
couldn't find anyone to accompany her
on a ski trip to Chile and Argentina, she
went by herself.
For many years, Davidson
, who is divorced, worked a 10-hour night shift as a pharmacist for St. Charles Medical Center-Bend
would be off work at 7 a.m. and then head to the mountain to ski until noon before going home to sleep.Davidson, who retired from St. Charles in 2001, now volunteers eight hours a week in the dispensary at the Volunteers in Medicine clinic in Bend.She also is an accomplished violinist , she plays in the Central Oregon Symphony , and is an active member of the Bend Ski Club, an organization of city league and masters racers who support training and ski racing for adults at Mount Bachelor.Davidson's
two children both were ski racers in their youth.Her
son and daughter were on the Bend High School ski team, and her
son came close to making it onto the roster of a national ski team.She
now has two grandchildren, both of whom race with the Mount Bachelor Ski Education Foundation
is up at the mountain at least two days a week, skiing with friends and training for races.She
would like to see more women get involved with the Bend Ski Club
and also would encourage other women to compete in the city league races.Davidson
doesn't expect to be slowing down anytime soon.She
cites a man she
knows who is still skiing at 85.She
plans to keep racing as long as she
can perform at the level she