More About Memorial Races

About Jeff Pier

Longtime ski coach Jeffrey J. Pier of Waddington, New York, died on July 4, 2014, in Potsdam, New York, of kidney cancer.

Born in 1959 in New Jersey, Pier briefly attended University of Maine at Orono before embarking on his career as a professional ski-racing coach. He led programs at Hidden Valley Ski Area in New Jersey, Ford Sayer Academy in New Hampshire and St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York. He also led many coaching clinics for the United States Ski Association, was national chairman of NCAA alpine ski racing and occasionally coached with the U.S. Ski Team. His accomplishments include coaching two racers to NCAA national championships. He and his son, Lance, recently finished climbing all 46 4,000-foot peaks in New York State and were inducted into the 46er Club.

After graduating from St. Lawrence in 2005 with a business degree and Clarkson University in 2010 with an MBA, Jeff started Liberty Tax businesses in Plattsburgh and Malone, New York. He is survived by his three children (daughter Jaleigh, son Lance, and daughter Talyne), their mother (Elizabeth Pier), his companion (Donna Mae Wolf), his parents (John and Jane Pier), and his brothers and sisters-in-law.

About Karen Wiebel Memorial Race

As I look back over the last 20 races, I’m humbled by the participation of all involved in making this day so special. While the Karen Wiebel Race started as a tribute to my late wife Karen Wiebel, it has become a commemorative event that to us, as to many of you, signifies family, friendship and a sense of community - one that we all look forward to with great anticipation and excitement each year.

For Karen and I, along with our children Kelly, Paul Jr. (PJ) and Bobby, skiing and ski racing was our family’s passion, a love that occupied most of our time during the winter months while we lived mountainside in Great Gorge. Our children, born and raised on these slopes, consistently finished in as top racing seeds in sponsored events just like this one, providing Kelly and PJ with multiple opportunities to hone their skills and reach the top state championships and Junior Olympics numerous times over the years. We, the Wiebel Family, are so pleased to be the sponsors of this race, so that we can provide you and your families with an opportunity to reach your goals, just as we did.

It’s no simple task to put a ski race together. It requires months of tremendous effort from numerous dedicated volunteers to plan, organize and carry out something of this magnitude. And over the years, the Wiebel family has had the privilege of volunteering in many of them as a gatekeeper, with Karen at its forefront. Hours and hours of committee work culminated in successful events and joyous outcomes for so many, but one thing struck Karen as particularly sad and in need of change. And that was the disappointment of those racers who, despite their best efforts, hadn’t won or placed in the top seed positions. Recognizing this and understanding that skiing requires practice, passion, and dedication, Karen wished for all skiers to get recognition for their efforts.

Most unexpectedly, Karen Wiebel died on July 23, 1996 in Switzerland of un-diagnosed deep vein thrombosis. In her honor and in commemoration for her love of skiing, it was the family’s decision to sponsor a Memorial Race in her memory, one where every racer received a medal for their participation in the race. Karen truly felt that the racing experience offered the opportunity of bringing families together, as it did for our family. To her, ski racing was a winning experience for all.

Thank you for joining us in the celebration of two very special things…the love skiing and Karen’s memory.