Penny Pitou of Gilford, N.H., won two silver medals at the 1960 Squaw Valley Olympic Games.
Fifty years later she is being honored by the New England Ski Museum with the Spirit of Skiing Award.
The "Spirit of Skiing Award" was created by the Ski Museum to honor an individual or group who embodied the words of German immigrant Otto Schniebs that "skiing is not just a sport, it is a way of life." Schniebs came to America in 1927 and taught skiing to Dartmouth Outing Club members, the AMC, the Lake Placid Club, and elsewhere.
Pitou, who won silver medals in downhill and giant slalom at the Squaw Valley Games, was chosen as this year's Spirit of Skiing Award recipient, the fifth overall.
The Manchester Union Leader ran a story on Pitou in 2001. It read, in part: "As a freshman at Laconia High in 1953, she ignored the no-girls-rule and tried out for the boys' ski team. 'I hid my hair under my hat and asked my friends to call me Tommy," she said. "I made the team and everything went great until I competed in a downhill race at New Hampton School. I crashed in front of a gate-keeper, my hat flew off and my hair came down. It's one of the few times in my life that I was at a loss for words.'
"The gate-keeper wasn't. He called Laconia.
"And her school principal wasn't.
"He called Pitou to his office and told her she had to leave the team."
The New England Ski Museum's annual dinner and awards ceremony will begin at 5 p.m. Nov. 13 at Gunstock Mountain.
The Gunstock location is a fitting place for honoring Penny Pitou, as the ski area is her home mountain, but in addition, the 1937 base lodge is historic in its own right. It was built during the Depression as part of the Belknap Mountain Recreation Area, and is certainly the oldest existing ski area base lodge in the state, and one of the oldest in the country.
The event is open to the public. The price per person is $65.
More information. For reservations call 800-639-4181.