In early 2003, I received an e-mail from the “Skiing White House Reporter.”
The note started simply:
“Hi Scott … Your site is terrific! May I contribute?”
And thus began a 15-year partnership with Connie Lawn. By day, she served as a White House correspondent — the longest-credentialed one, in fact, covering administration from administration over the span of 50 years. But one of her true passions was skiing, and she blended her journalism skills with her love of skiing, contributing 178 stories to DCSki from January 22, 2003 through this past Fall.
On April 2, 2018, Connie passed away after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease. Although I knew she had been ill, I’m still in shock; her energy and enthusiasm seemed to know no bounds.
Connie was a reporter’s reporter. She always had a notepad within reach, which she would instinctively pull out for an impromptu interview. She was quite busy, attending White House briefings and filing radio reports for stations around the country and world. But she always made time to go skiing; one of her favorite local hills was Liberty Mountain Resort, and you could frequently catch her there on a crisp winter day or during Liberty’s annual Fall Festival.
Over the years, Connie provided a tremendous amount of exposure and support for adaptive skiing. She covered adaptive events locally and afar, showing how organizations, resorts, and volunteers have made the sport of skiing accessible to those with disabilities. I appreciated every story Connie contributed to DCSki, and was especially proud of the stories that covered skiing with disabilities.
No doubt influenced by her work as a radio reporter — where words take the place of visuals — her stories frequently painted a scene, drawing the reader in.
“The sky was blue and sunny, the weather warm with patches of crispness; the leaves were golden and red, and the rich carpets of grass on the slopes, and on the nearby golf course, were verdant and green,” she began one story, describing the Fall Foliage Festival at Liberty Mountain Resort.
While Connie deftly handled the words in each story, her surviving husband, Charles Sneiderman, manned the camera and provided shots to go with each story. Whenever I would see an e-mail from Charles arrive in my inbox with photos, I knew a story from Connie was about to follow.
Although I exchanged hundreds of e-mails with Connie over the years, I didn’t meet her in person until a few years ago, when we crossed paths at Whitetail Resort. By then, her Parkinson’s Disease was already starting to sap her energy, and she walked slowly and deliberately. But when she popped her skis on, it was hard to keep up with her.
Connie’s radio reports were broadcast around the world, and one of her favorite places in the world to broadcast to (and to visit) was New Zealand. In 2006, Connie received the National Press Club of New Zealand’s Lifetime Achievement Award, which was presented to Connie by New Zealand’s Minister of Broadcasting. In 2012, Connie was appointed as an Honorary Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit, in recognition for her services to New Zealand - United States relations. She was so proud of this recognition.
The DCSki community has lost a valued member today. Connie was a true ambassador for skiing. Her enthusiasm for the sport and desire to share it with others was palpable. Connie was a remarkable woman, and accumulated a remarkable set of adventures and experiences throughout her life. She documented many of those experiences in her book, You Wake Me Each Morning.
We’ll miss you, Connie.
To view videos from Connie Lawn’s memorial service, click here.
M. Scott Smith is the founder and Editor of DCSki. Scott loves outdoor activities such as camping, hiking, kayaking, skiing, and mountain biking. He is an avid photographer and writer.
Very nice Scott!
Connie was a champion of adaptive skiing who became an adaptive skier herself; an ironic fate, but one that lent even more poignancy and depth to her heartwarming reporting. The Force was strong in Connie.
I'd like to extend my sincere condolences to Charles and her family.
God bless, Jim K.
Let me add my voice to those remembering and honoring Connie Lawn. Over the years I have thoroughly enjoyed her reports about visits to numerous ski areas; she made the reader feel as if he/she was skiing with her, verrtical foot by vertical foot. Her words were yesterday’s “virtual reality”! I had the privilege of meeting her at a couple of local DCSki get togethers. She talked like she wrote, colorful as she shared her love of skiing! Although we had just met I felt like I had known her forever.
I pass on my condolences to her partner in life and on two planks, Charles.
God Bless Connie, DCSki will miss you!
aka The Colonel
I have very fond memories of a summer afternoon spent with Connie and Charles at her home on Lake Barcroft. Her enthusiasm for snow sports was boundless, and I admire her support for adaptive skiing and the Wounded Warrior project. She will be missed. She never let illness stop her from making turns until the very end. She was a wonderful role model.
I'm sorry to hear of her passing, I always enjoyed her articles and I wish I could have met her in person.
Sad to hear of her passing. She was great for Mid Atlantic skiing and a great champion for the adaptive programs. She will be missed.
Scott, that was a fabulous tribute, thank you so much for posting it. I truly always looked forward to another Connie Lawn story and cannot believe there are 178 of them. That's the kind of thing that makes this web site unique. Deep condolonces to all her family and friends. -David