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Paul Smith’s College names trail in honor of Caroline Draper Lussi

Caroline Draper Lussi (Photo provided)

PAUL SMITHS — Ardent skiing supporter Caroline Draper Lussi, matriarch of the Lussi family of Lake Placid and 1960 graduate of Paul Smith’s College, will have the Red Loop Trail named after her at the college’s Visitor Interpretive Center. It will be known as the Draper Lussi Trail.

The 2.5-kilometer course is part of the new 5-kilometer network recently opened by PSC as part of its Nordic skiing and biathlon complex.

“Paul Smith’s College is delighted to recognize Caroline’s lifetime of service and financial support to her alma mater with the naming of this new competitive cross country ski trail in her honor,” Jon C. Strauss, interim president of the college, said in a news release.

Draper Lussi’s family has a long and deep history in the sport of skiing. Born in Glens Falls, she grew up a ski racer and later instructed at Whiteface Mountain, a ski center that developed in its early days by her father Arthur Draper. As a member of the Professional Ski Instructors of America, she enjoyed introducing newcomers to skiing as well as helping others improve their techniques.

“During my time at Paul Smith’s College, the Nordic team was the best and competed in NCAA Division 1 carnivals,” she said. “It was special to see Bob MacDermot run his heart out in cross-country while being a former speedskater. Earle Morse, a four-event competitor, won the ski jumping meet at the St. Lawrence University Winter Carnival. Paul Smith’s competitors were full of pride and supportive of each other. They taught everyone some great life lessons.”

Arthur Draper instilled a love of the Adirondacks and skiing in his daughter at an early age. A journalist with the New York Times, he wrote from the heart when he penned, “Under a blue sky and a warm sun, the hikers sat on the summit eating sandwiches, chewing raisins and sucking lemons. Surrounding them as far as the eye could see was a wilderness of mountains, a wilderness little changed in the last 100 years.”

Subsequently, he worked for the state Department of Environmental Conservation and was a major force in the development of the Whiteface, Belleayre and Gore mountain ski centers. A race trail at Whiteface bears the name of Draper’s Drop.

In the year Caroline Draper graduated from Paul Smith’s College, she married Serge Lussi. Together they raised three children, each passionate about skiing and racing. She also served multiple terms as a college trustee and was awarded an honorary doctorate in 2002. The Lussis owned and operated the Holiday Inn in Lake Placid, whose name was changed to the Crowne Plaza.

The trail at Paul Smith’s was named after Caroline Draper Lussi to recognize not only her commitment to this healthy sport and Paul Smith’s College; it is also emblematic of the family’s passion and connection with skiing which now spans four generations.

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