The Mountain Times

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Local writer, Karen D. Lorentz, receives literary awards

Vermont author and journalist Karen D. Lorentz, from Shrewsbury, recently received writing awards from two prestigious national snowsport organizations. Her entries were both features written for The Mountain Times.

In June, she won the Snowsports Industries America (SIA) equipment writing contest for her entry "In Snow Wear and Gear, Choices, High Tech Abounds," which appeared in the April 4 edition of  The Mountain Times.

Lorentz said she learned of the contest when attending an SIA Media Breakfast/Presentation in Boston last fall. She was impressed with the new technology in equipment and fashions but found herself busy producing a book for the Eastern Ski Writers Association so it was March before she found time to finish research for her article.

"I learned a lot and had fun writing it," she said, noting she worked hard to meet the contest criteria.

"The ski shop people were terrific, and I am really grateful to the editor and layout staff at the paper for including the photos that I took to go with the story. They were all colorful, and I think the photo I took of BJ at Killington Sports is one of my all-time favorites because she arranges displays so beautifully and even modeled clothes for me - can't believe she is a  grandmother!"
Lorentz was "delighted" to learn that she won a pair of skis of her choice.

"I plan to demo at Killington in late fall - and get another article out of it - before deciding which skis to get," she said.

SIA Communications and Public Relations Manager Elizabeth O. Hurst commented, "Many impressive articles were submitted this year, and it was challenging for SIA to select just one for the prize. SIA congratulates Karen for her in-depth look at the technologies and designs that power a wide range of snowsports equipment."

Articles were judged by a panel of SIA staff and board members, using criteria that included: overall article quality, coherence and structure; creativity; relevance (snowsports products/new technology); and persuasiveness - will the article convince people to buy new product? does it explain how new technology can improve performance?

SIA is a non-profit member-owned trade association with a 60-year history of working to support the snowsports industry and works year-round with North American snow sports suppliers, retailers, reports, reps and service providers to develop products and programs for their individual and collective business needs.

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This past April Lorentz received a Certificate of Honorable Mention and Obermeyer clothing for taking runner-up in the 2012 NASJA Harold Hirsch feature writing competition.

She submitted an article entitled "Facing obstacles: History lessons after an important apology bring hope for progress" which appeared in the May 23, 2012 Mountain Times.

"I used Bill Mares public apology on VPR regarding the 1987 bumper sticker "Killington, where the affluent meet the effluent" as a springboard to review the bogus tactics that have held up the Killington Village, which has been on the drawing boards since 1967. The judges were impressed by my knowledge of the history of the area and the issues. I think it helped them to understand why the East's number one area still doesn't have a village. I'm grateful that Polly ran such a long article," Lorentz said referring to the editor of The Mountian Times, adding it was a "very complex story."

She also submitted "When Spirits Soar, Independence Through Sports" about the Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sports program at Pico which first appeared in the Winter 2012 issue of Rutland Magazine. Her entry entitled "Passion, Purple Pox, and a Profession: A Three-Generation Ski Tale" - about a mom/grandmother, son, and daughters/granddaughters who instruct at Okemo - ran in the 2012 Winter Okemo Magazine. (Updated versions of those two stories also ran in The Mountain Times this past winter.)

Martin Griff, NASJA President and former chair of the Hirsch Awards Committee, told Lorentz she was "up against the big national writers in the hotly contested features category." The annual Hirsch journalism contests are judged by a group of renowned journalists, media professionals, and professors. "He was very pleased when he told me," Lorentz said with a laugh, noting the first prize was a pair of skis!

This was Lorentz' second Hirsch award. She previously received an Honorable Mention for her book The Great Vermont Ski Chase, a guide to Vermont ski areas.

She also was the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Skiing History Association in 2006 for her ski books and articles. (Lorentz was the third-Vermont writer and first and only woman to receive this award.)

"This is all owing to beginning my writing career at The Mountain Times in 1979. I was an English teacher in New Jersey, but we moved to Vermont and I wanted to work part-time so I learned a new skill. I left in 1982 to have our third son and began to write the history of the Killington Ski Resort and did other freelance work along the way. Now I am back [at The Mountain Times] and having fun meeting people and working hard to figure out what the next story is going to be."