North Creek Skiing a glacier in Uganda’s Rwenzori mountains evoked a childhood on North Creek’s local slope for returning African adventurer Nicole Dreon, who presented a slideshow on her travels at Tannery Pond Oct. 26.
“It was just as icy as Gore, but not as cold,” she said.
She attended Johnsburg Central and cut her skiing teeth on Gore’s trails through grade eight, when she transferred to a Vermont ski academy.
She said she has a lot of funny stories from growing up in the Crick, though “I don't know if they would be fit to print.”
Now a sports writer and photographer based in Truckee, California, Dreon does research for ESPN and the X Games. She toured Africa in 2010 seeking female athletes’ stories, wanting to know how an environment of war, disease and poverty is seen through their eyes.
She met prep school motocross racers, doctorate-educated rugby players and a mother of four who moonlights as an off-road rally racer.
The athletes that stood out to her the most were Ugandan boxers. The male boxers from the country are renowned for their skill and toughness, but at an awards show for the sport, Dreon saw no female boxers.
She found them in Katangan slums, training in open-air gyms with no gloves because they couldn’t afford them. They box for $25 to $50 a match, when one boxer she met earned $3 a day as a seamstress.
Her path to Africa began in college, where she studied abroad in Kenya. In her early 20s, she backpacked from Nairobi to Capetown.
After she left St. Lawrence University, where she was a creative writing major, she worked for a now-shuttered magazine in Truckee called Adventure West. She then briefly took over the sports page at the Tahoe World in nearby Lake Tahoe.
Her most recent research trip grew from her long-time passion for sports, a passion that took root at North Creek’s ski complex.