Ellen Miller – 2002
Ellen Miller is in some ways a typical athlete, always wanting to do more, to see if she can accomplish the next challenge she takes on. She sets records all over the place; she competes in everything from running and mountain biking to snowshoeing and Nordic skiing. She travels around the world, vying for championship cups almost everywhere she goes.
She is into doing things that have never been done before. For example, you might not know that there is a world record for Highest Altitude Ski Descent, but there is and in 1998 she broke it.
Okay, maybe she’s not so typical. When she tells you she’s off to compete in a race she is not talking about a lOK—try the Leadville lOO-mile run. Or if she says she’s going to take a hike don’t hold dinner. To her, that could mean a 3-month trek along the Continental Divide.
And when our 2002 Sportswoman of the Year conquered the Divide, she also raised $20,000 for the Food Bank of the Rockies. When she climbed the world’s highest mountain, afterwards, she gave a slide show to help raise money for children with disabilities. Then she started a learning program aimed at teaching kids about reaching their highest goals. In fact, she’s a volunteer and fundraiser of the highest order-for causes that run the gamut from feeding the hungry to the protecting the environment.
Ellen climbed all of Colorado’s fourteeners in short order and after that, she moved onto climbing just about any summit she could find-from volcanoes in Mexico to granite spires in the Alps. Her list of mountains summated—in addition to Rainer, Kilimanjaro, and Denali—includes the likes of Cotopaxi and Chimborazo in Ecuador, Mt. Elbrus in Russia and Aconcagua in Argentina. And that’s just the beginning of a very long list.
In short, she’s an athlete who does the impossible. For example, when she climbed Everest from the north side, she did something no American woman had ever done before. And when she turned around and did it from the south side that made her the only woman—the one and only woman—to ever reach the summit of Mt. Everest twice in the same year.
She is an athlete like no other, and a Colorado Sportswoman in every sense of the word.