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Author Topic: Dorothea Driggers R.I.P.  (Read 3489 times)

Posts: 1382

Dorothea Driggers R.I.P.
« on: 12/27/16, 06:09 PM »

From her daughter Jo Cress

"Our mother Dorothea Driggers has passed away on Christmas Eve at the age of 86. she was a shining example of wife & mother and my brother & I are who we are today because of her.
Her entire family will miss her dearly.
If you would like to honor our mother; go for a walk; a hike; or ski & think of her. This was her passion."

From Robie
Austrian born Dorothea learned to climb and ski with her father before WWII. After the War she married a GI, Vernon Driggers, emigrated to the US and raised a family as a military wife. Then, in her 50s she turned to her passion, the outdoors. She was a long time Tacoma Mountaineer where she completed many classes and made life long friends. Small in size but huge in heart and skill, many peaks and steep slopes were trod beneath her feet. Still skiing up into her 80s she was an inspiration and mentor to many. Our booming sport of ski mountaineering and backcountry skiing owes a lot to skiers like Dorothea who never left the skin track.  Very few people were faster than Dorothea in transition from skinning up to skiing down. She never thought of herself as an expert but she was in so many ways. Lest I forget, Dorothea relished an alpine start!

The Song of the Ski

Norse am I when the first snow falls;
Norse am I till the ice departs.
The fare for which my spirit calls
Is blood from a hundred viking-hearts.
The curved wind wraps me like a cloak;
The pines blow out their ghostly smoke.
I'm high on the hill and ready to go--
A wingless bird in a world of snow:
Yet I'll ride the air
With a dauntless dare
That only a child of the north can know.
The bravest ski has a cautious heart
And moves like a tortoise at the start,
But when it tastes the tang of the air
It leaps away like a frightened hare.
The day is gloomy, the curtains half-drawn,
And light is stunted as at the dawn:
But my foot is sure and my arm is brawn.
I poise on the hill and I wave adieu:
(My curving skis are firm and true)
The slim wood quickens, the air takes fire
And sings to me like a gypsy's lyre.
Swifter and swifter grows my flight:
The dark pines ease the unending white.
The lean, cold birches, as I go by,
Are like blurred etchings against the sky.
One am I for a moment's joy
With the falling star and the plunging bird.
The world is swift as an Arab boy;
The world is sweet as a woman's word.
Never came such a pure delight.
To a bacchanal or a sybarite:
Swifter and swifter grows my flight,
And glad am I, as I near the leap,
That the snow is fresh and the banks are deep.
Swifter and swifter on I fare,
And soon I'll float with the birds on air.
The speed is blinding; I'm over the ridge,
Spanning space on a phantom bridge.
The drifts await me; I float, I fall:
The world leaps up like a lunging carp.
I land erect and the tired winds drawl
A lazy rune on a broken harp.
Child of the roofless world am I;
Not of those hibernating drones
Who fear the gray of a wintry sky
And the shrieking wind's ironic tones,
Who shuffle cards in a cloud of smoke
Or crawl like frozen flies at chess,
Or gossip all day with meddling folk
In collar of starch and a choking dress.
Come, ye maids of the vanity-box,
Come, ye men of the stifling air:
The white wind waits at your door and knocks;
The white snow calls you everywhere.
Come, ye lads of the lounge and chair,
And gird your feet with the valiant skis
And mount the steed of the winter air
And hold the reins of the winter breeze.
Lord of the mountains dark with pine!
Lord of the fields of smoking snow!
Grant to this vagrant heart of mine
A patch of wood where my feet may go,
And a roofless world to my journey's end,
And a cask of wind for my cup of wine,
And yellow gold of the sun to spend,
And at night the stars in endless line,
And, after it all, the hand of a friend--
The hand of a trusted friend in mine.

Wilson Pugsley MacDonald

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« Last Edit: 12/27/16, 06:18 PM by Robie » Logged

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Posts: 21

Re: Dorothea Driggers R.I.P.
« Reply #1 on: 12/27/16, 07:23 PM »


Thanks for sharing and sorry to hear of this great loss.  Dorothea was certainly an inspiration to Megan and myself,  and we can only hope to be skiing as long, and as well,  as Dorothea did.  She'll certainly be in our thoughts as we continue.

Posts: 94

Re: Dorothea Driggers R.I.P.
« Reply #2 on: 12/27/16, 07:28 PM »

Thanks Robie for the beautiful thoughts about Dorothea. I know the memories of the joy and inspiration she brought to us will last me the rest of my life.

Posts: 105

Re: Dorothea Driggers R.I.P.
« Reply #3 on: 12/27/16, 08:03 PM »

   Tomorrow on a Viking I shall go
  With Ullr and Odin by my side
  Two ravens above report
  Socrates breath divided
  Snow white wings for me
  I will be with all , who will
  Forever ski

 My thoughts are with you , remembering , and honoring the passing of a generation of skiing heritage .  Peter.    


Skiing Batman,1000 missions club,proudly censoredĀ  poster and observer.Zambonista International Night Ice Meister. Scouts lead g. . . . follow. A.D.A. approvedĀ  trail setter. Black market guide.Seldom Scene.Non person.Imaginary friend.Amateur psychologist. Psychic. Aura checker.Asylum resident #33

Posts: 31

Re: Dorothea Driggers R.I.P.
« Reply #4 on: 12/27/16, 09:57 PM »

Though I only skied with her once, she was an inspiration.  My wife tells people who wonder how it's possible for people to keep being active and capable into their later years, "just don't stop".  Dorothy embodied that spirit.

She will be missed.


Posts: 729

Re: Dorothea Driggers R.I.P.
« Reply #5 on: 12/28/16, 07:03 AM »

Thanks for posting this, Robie!

I read the autobiography Dorothea wrote about a decade ago.  Her story deserves to be published.  I introduced her to Conrad Kain by giving her my copy of Where The Clouds Can Go. She was thrilled to learn he had done the same hikes, climbs and ski tours her father took her on as a child, growing up in small towns in Austria.  I believe she won a local ski competition as a girl before her dad disappeared on the eastern front, along with many of the remaining old men and boys, in the final months of WWII.  Her story of walking west across Germany for weeks on roads crowded with refugees was gripping and heartbreaking.  She had raised a family on sergeant's pay and endured Vernon's three tours in Vietnam before resuming skiing & climbing in her later life.

Dorothea was a small sweet soul, but deceptively strong.  We traversed from Pinnacle Peak to Longmire on a day trip when she was in her seventies.  I have now reached that age and doubt I could do that.  I feel so fortunate to have known her.  Rest in peace, DD!

I feel like I'm diagonally parked in a parallel universe.

Posts: 3377

Re: Dorothea Driggers R.I.P.
« Reply #6 on: 12/28/16, 09:16 AM »

What an amazing woman.

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Posts: 2061

Re: Dorothea Driggers R.I.P.
« Reply #7 on: 12/28/16, 09:39 AM »

I only met Dorothea once, at the 2009 celebration of a century of skiing on Mt Rainier.

Here is a link to a trip report from that day, and Dorothea is in several of the photos:

She is wearing a big fuzzy yellow hat and a green scarf. She's third from the right in the lower photo below:

Sending thoughts of warmth and respect to her family and friends...


Posts: 138

Re: Dorothea Driggers R.I.P.
« Reply #8 on: 12/28/16, 11:42 AM »

I'm sorry to hear this!

I met Dorothea as well on the re-enactment day at Mt Rainier in 2009. She was fun to be with.

Condolences to family and friends.

Words don't seem like much compared to a great life lived.

Posts: 272

Re: Dorothea Driggers R.I.P.
« Reply #9 on: 12/28/16, 09:49 PM »

Inspiring.  RIP.
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