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Shredding Church Street with Hannah Teter


Ben & Jerry's Free Cone Day (also known as Americans Getting Fatter Day) is upon us. Generally, I try to stay as far away from the Free Cone Day as I possibly can.

For one thing, I hate waiting in line. Especially not for a $2.50 ice cream cone that's only going to make my cholesterol continue its slow creep towards the top of the charts.

Secondly, I hate being sticky. 'Nuf said.

And finally, I am a curmudgeon and don't like fun things.

However, this year's Free Cone Day in Burlington at the Church Street Scoop Shop was different. Sure, the line still stretched all the way down to Outdoor Gear Exchange. And, yes, people still acted like Ben & Jerry's was giving away a free car. But this Free Cone Day featured an appearance by Olympic snowboarder, native Vermonter and all around swell gal Hannah Teter.

As we wrote a few months back, Ben & Jerry's bestowed upon dear Teets her own signature flavor — Maple Blondie. She was the first woman, first Vermonter and first athlete to have her own ice cream flavor.  Pretty sweet (ooh, puntastical).

Of course, having your own signature flavor comes with certain responsibilities, such as pressing the flesh at public events like this. After slinging a few cones with new Ben & Jerry's CEO Jostein Solheim, who was named scooper-in-chief last week, Teets went outside to meet her fans. 

(Photo: Later, besties Teets and Jostein got mani-pedis together.)

She graciously signed autographs for kids and adults and posed for snapshots. It never ceases to amaze me how people feel like celebrities are their buddies. They have no compunction about draping their arms over the celeb for a photo. Now, I don't know about you, but just because I saw someone on the Olympics, that doesn't give me the right to to touch her. And I'm pretty sure she doesn't want me touching her because I'm creepy.

All kind of VIP-types were there: Mayor Bob Kiss, Jerry Greenfield (of Ben & Jerry fame) and the slickest weatherman this side of Al Roker, WPTZ's Tom Messner. Tom was all about getting a photo with Teets. He was one of those people getting all touchy with her.

Teter, decked out in two hoodies, a pair of cream-colored skinny jeans and some UGG-esque boots, stood around gamely as people milled about her taking pictures and working up the courage to ask for her autograph (Tom Messner). She had that groovy, just-got-out-of-bed-after-a-long-night-of-playing-the-djembe-drum-and-smoking-the-cheeba look, her blonde hair tousled just right.

Hannah Teter loves kids in identical jackets.

She's smaller than you might expect someone who hucks herself off 20-plus-foot halfpipes to be, though she immediately stood out from the crowd. How is it that celebrities are able to do that? Is it because they're way better looking and dress way cooler? Or is it because we already know them as being famous, thus they stand out? Or is it that they have an aura of awesomeness that us common folk don't have? 

Teter looked mildly uncomfortable (or maybe that was sheepishness) in the midst of all this attention, even though she is used to getting her photo taken (in her bikini, thanks to Sports Illustrated). When she was asked to pose with Jerry in front of a huge cardboard cut-out of her namesake pint, she had to dig deep for a smile. It's tiring being famous. Just ask me.

"I never thought I'd be pushing ice cream," she told me later as she took a break from signing autographs. "But it's awesome." Yeah, she better say that, since snowboarding as a career has a shelf life of about three seconds. Girl's got to be able to make a living after the halfpipe.

After we chatted, I asked Teter something I never ask of any celebrity — I swallowed my pride and asked for a photo with her. Why not? Messner did. Teets obliged and a friend took a couple of shots of us before her brother/manager/wrangler Amen pulled her away. Her face says it all:

"I'm with stupid," says Olympian Hannah Teter.