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Longtime Tussey Mountain ski patroller remembered at youth skiing event

Robin Lallement watches racers cross the finish line during the 4th annual Pierre Lallement Memorial Slalom at Tussey Mountain on Saturday, February 14, 2015.
Robin Lallement watches racers cross the finish line during the 4th annual Pierre Lallement Memorial Slalom at Tussey Mountain on Saturday, February 14, 2015. CDT photo

Luc Lallement skied down Tussey Mountain, his arms and hands tucked at his sides.

He loves the steepest hills, because it pushes him to a point that he readily admits isn’t totally safe.

His father, Pierre Lallement, was the same way.

Luc and his mother, Robin Lallement, volunteered Saturday at the 4th annual Pierre Lallement Memorial Slalom, a Pennsylvania Alpine Racing Association event for children ages 8-16 divided into four age groups. The event was named after Lallement, a Tussey Mountain Alpine Racing Team parent and Tussey Mountain ski patroller, after he died Oct. 31, 2011.

Team members’ parents suggested the race be named for him at his funeral.

Luc Lallement was a forerunner for the event to check the course’s conditions before children raced. Robin Lallement was the finish referee. Pierre Lallement would have been ski patroller number 54, a first responder to anyone hurt during the race.

He patrolled Tussey Mountain’s slopes for 11 years.

“It’s ironic that he loved to go fast, because he helped people that got hurt, but to my memory he never hurt himself skiing, so I guess he knew his way around it,” Luc Lallement said. “He loved to help people, and I think he passed that on to us, and that’s why we’re out here honoring him.”

“He liked being an active part of the community here, and he said he did it to ‘keep the slopes safe for the skiing public,’ ” Robin Lallement added. “That was his excuse to get out of the house every Thursday night and every other weekend to go on ski patrol.”

Pierre Lallement kept the slopes safe for children like 8-year old Van Glantz, of Bellefonte, one of the youngest skiers in the event.

Van, who ran a time of 1:07:59 in his first run down the mountain’s mammoth course, said he gets scared sometimes.

“But it’s fun to go down the mountain,” Van said. “I’ll ski forever.”

Van’s parents taught him how to ski when he was 2 years old.

Pierre Lallement taught his sons, Luc and Paul, how to ski when they were toddlers, too.

“There are lots of memories I have of him skiing with us,” Paul Lallement said. “He taught us when we were 3 years old, so there really are a lot of memories. It’s hard to pick one out specifically. I guess his general attitude about life and the joy he got out of skiing with us sticks with me the most.”

The brothers didn’t, however, pick up on their dad’s skiing style.

“He always skied with his hands and arms out, and I made it a point not to do that, because I thought it looked silly,” Luc Lallement said. “My brother and I always used to make fun of him for it. I think he just did it for balance, and that’s the one thing I remember most about him skiing. We were always like ‘Are you gonna take off like a plane?’ ”

But his lessons are not forgotten.

“Recently at practice I was having a little trouble with my balance,” Luc Lallement said. “I tried widening my stance and my arms a little bit like he did. It helped a lot.”

Pierre Lallement’s co-workers recalled him, too.

“He was very dedicated to his family and to being a patroller,” Tussey Mountain Director of Operations Bennett Hoffman said. “He had a total passion for his family, a total passion for the sport and a total passion for ski patrolling. He’s dearly missed.”

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