Kelly Brush, a Vermont native and former athlete who trained at Green Mountain Valley School was skiing at Collegiate Ski Carnival at Jiminy Peak, Mass., in 2006 when she took a debilitating spill.
She caught a ski edge in the snow, propelling her into a backwards spin that caused her to smash into a lift tower, breaking her back and her ribs, and suffering a spinal cord injury that confined her to a wheelchair for life.
The accident was restricting, but it didn’t dampen her energy and her desire to help those who were similarly afflicted in accidents of their own. Kelly Brush started the Kelly Brush Foundation, and dedicated her life to raising awareness for the injured and raising money to address skier safety.
Brush met Lake Placid’s Andrew Weibrecht, a product of the New York Ski Educational Foundation, on the Eastern ski racing circuit. At this year’s Kelly Brush Ride to raise funding for her causes, Weibrecht (an Olympic silver and bronze medalist in alpine skiing’s super G) clicked into his bike and pedaled 92 miles around the Olympic region, climbing 12,000 feet for the fundraising effort in temps that started below freezing. The money raised by Weibrecht will go to NYSEF sports programs along with the Kelly Brush Foundation.
“It was really quite physically challenging. It was one of the hardest things I’ve done,” remarked the former ski racer whose medals occurred in Vancouver (bronze) and Sochi (silver).
The 2020 Kelly Brush ride began September 12, and ran through the end of the month. So far it has raised $600,000, exceeding their initial goal of $500,000. The Weibrecht ride helped generate over $3,400, The long term goal of the KBF is to inspire those living with paralysis to find their own independence and personal freedom. Brush herself is a pediatric nurse practitioner, a mother, skier, golfer and biker.