Caitlin Cochran-Siegle

Like mother, like son, like cousins, like ...

Forty years after his mom won Olympic gold in the slalom in Japan, Ryan Cochran-Siegle won the alpine Junior World downhill championship in Italy. And Barbara Ann Cochran was there to see it.

Pretty neat stuff for the Cochrans, widely regarded as the first family of American alpine racing.

But there's a twist.

Barbara Ann didn't get filthy rich off that Olympic medal. Hardly.

This wasn't cause for celebrating with magnums of Champagne. Or, it being Italy, Asti.

More like buckets of Vermont maple syrup.

A little background:

Ryan's grandfather, Mickey, was once the U.S. alpine coach. "There's a piece of Ryan that reminds me of my dad," who was not just not just a multi-sport athlete and pretty darned good at a lot of them, Barbara Ann said. "I just feel like [Ryan] has a pretty good head on his shoulders."

Over the years, the skiing Cochrans' contributions to the U.S. Olympic Team have been formidable indeed.

Three women: Marilyn (1972 Sapporo), Barbara (1972 Sapporo), Lindy (1976 Innsbruck).

Two men: Bob (1972 Sapporo) and son Jimmy (2006 Torino, 2010 Vancouver).

Cousins Jessica (a former Junior Worlds medalist) and Tim Kelley have been on the U.S. Ski Team, and Robby Kelley is currently on the Team.

And now Ryan is the Junior Worlds downhill champion.

He won, racing in Roccaraso, Italy, a few days ago, wearing a sticker on his helmet that proclaims, "Slopeside Syup" -- a family business started by four of his cousins. Kind of a sponsor, he said.

Ryan had, arguably, the day's worst start position: No. 1.

Usually, that's when the snow and the conditions can be the worst.

Except on this day -- it was the best, because the course was hard and cold.

And as the day warmed up, the others had to race on snow that increasingly turned slushy.

Ryan, who is 19 years old, finished in 1:11.99. "When I got to the finish, I knew I definitely had a good run and I was hoping I could stay on top," he said later.

Ralph Weber of Switzerland, bib No. 6, managed to get within nine-hundredths of a second.

Nils Mani, also Swiss, running third, was 49-hundredths back.

No one else was within half a second.

It's not as if this win came out of the blue. Ryan scored some World Cup points a couple weeks back, in super-G.

The amazing thing, to be blunt, is what his upside could be.

Skiing, as is obvious, can be a very expensive proposition.

Ryan has an older sister, Caitlin. Barbara Ann has been single-parenting for most of their lives. She has, she said, been a part-time teacher. She has worked at the family ski area in Richmond, Vt. She has done this and done that.

"It was a struggle," she said, "for me to pay my bills and come up with enough money to pay for entry fees and licenses and season passes at other areas. It really -- it was a struggle for me," she said. "I got so much help from so many other people."

She laughed when it was pointed out that some believe that an Olympic gold medal is  the ticket to the high life.

"You have no idea," she said. "It has been so difficult. That whole saying -- that it takes a village to raise a child -- has been so true for our kids. I have gotten so much help from so many people. People I don't know."

And people she does.

The trip to get her to Italy to see Ryan ski -- her brother, Bob, and brother-in-law, Steve Kelley, paid for that. "I can't tell you how much that means to me that they gave this trip and also the trip to World Juniors last year," she said.

Last season, someone else stepped forward to help underwrite Ryan's skiing.

 All of this has been impressed on her son. He has been on skis since he was 2.

"I think ski racing is -- it takes a lot of preparation, for sure," he said. "A lot of people -- if they don't reach a certain level, they fade away. If you prepare and you're willing to try to go for it all, it's possible. You should go for it.

"I'm trying."