Beth Cox chats with a young racer, one of thousands who’ve come through her starting gate over the last 24 years.  PHOTO BY DAVID MADISON

THE GATEKEEPER: Beth Cox specializes in great beginnings

Beth Cox stands like a sentry, guarding the timing gate and little bar ski racers push through to begin each timed run. It’s the start of the Lone Peak Speed Series super-G and she works with others on the volunteer race crew to sync the timing system so everything proceeds with the precision Cox expects. 

Cox raced in high school back in Boyne City, Mich., then got involved with ski racing in Big Sky more than 30 years ago. For the last 24 years, she’s kept watch over the starting line during local races. 

“And it’s fun for me because I’ve seen little kids who are now parents and coaches,” laughed Cox, as a bitter wind whipped around the starting gate atop Hangman’s. Like the athletes and race crews in PyeongChang, where wind gusts and frigid temperatures caused recent delays in the winter games, Cox worked through the difficult conditions with a smile. “I love it,” she said. “Even though it’s so cold, just like the Olympics.”

Describing her duties, Cox said, “I mostly watch the racers come in, making sure everything is alright with them, making sure they have the right bibs on, make sure they’re in order and all their equipment is OK.”

“They’re inspecting right now,” said Cox, staring down at other volunteers as they double-check the super-G course, ensuring it’s ready for training runs to begin. She points out her fellow volunteers by the starting gate and reflects on all the commitment Big Sky locals put into the local race team, saying, “A lot of us have been here forever.”

—DM

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