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Robert F. Kennedy

Fall Line
posted: 10/16/2001
by Kendall Hamilton

Growing up with nine siblings, ROBERT F. KENNEDY JR. is "amazed" that his parents, Robert F. and Ethel Kennedy, had the energy to regularly haul the entire clan on ski trips. Kennedy, now 47, is the influential, outspoken chief prosecuting attorney for Riverkeeper, which works to protect the New York City water supply. He approaches the task with the courage of his father. Kennedy just served a 30-day sentence for his daring protest of the U.S. bombing range on Vieques in Puerto Rico ("It was a vacation," he deadpans) and is now concentrating on the cleanup of the PCB-infested Hudson River. Kennedy is a fearless, expert skier who-despite the skiing death of his brother Michael-remains committed to taking his family on frequent weekend ski retreats in the Catskills.

Born Jan. 17, 1954

Profiles In Carving Kennedy has lived a lifetime of ski adventures. He was mentored by Willy Schaeffler, learned to do flips as a kid with Stein Eriksen and dodged bullets while fleeing troops on skis in the high Andes during the 1973 Allende coup in Chile. "I also remember skiing at Lake Placid in the Sixties and having my eyeballs freeze. It was 75 degrees below zero."

Then & Now "As a parent of five skiers and a sixth skier-to-be, I have increasing admiration for my parents. They taught us the sport when we had wooden skis and double-lace boots that had to be untied at the top of every lift because our feet were so cold. We enjoy every sport, but I don't think there is a better family sport than skiing."

Skiing & The Environment "The issues are real, and you see a range in the levels of responsibility taken by ski areas. The ski hill itself does not have that much impact. There's some, but it's not egregious. The biggest issue is the sprawl in our mountain and river valleys. The worst outcome is that we would accept a policy to 'look but not touch.' It's important to get people into the wilderness. Skiing is good for your spirit, your well-being."

A White (House) Future? Kennedy's immediate calendar includes skiing in Vail at Thanksgiving, Banff in early January and Aspen in the spring, all juggled around the dogged pursuit of the Hudson River cleanup. Could there be politics in Bobby Kennedy's future? "Who knows? We'll see what happens...."

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