By the 1950s, Red Mountain Racers (RMR) were making a name for themselves on the International Ski Federation (FIS) ski circuit. Between 1952 and 1989, the Red Mountain Racers produced 10 Olympians, 27 Canadian National Alpine Ski Team members, 4 Canadian National Alpine Ski Team coaches, and 3 Canadian National Para-Alpine coaches.
This impressive line-up of skiers started in 1951 when Red Mountain skiers were considered for the Canadian Winter Olympic Team for the first time. June McKenzie, Nona Beth Angus, Gene Dyson, and George Merry went to Banff, Alberta, for the Canadian Alpine Olympic trials. At the trials, 41 competitors competed for 12 team spots (7 male and 5 female). At the end of the competition, Merry and Dyson initially made the Canadian team by placing fifth and sixth, respectively. However, Dyson was dropped from the team a couple of months later for an unknown reason. McKenzie and Angus narrowly missed out on making the team as they placed 7th and 8th, respectively. Bud Scorgie also attended the Canadian Jumping Olympic team trials in Revelstoke, BC, the same year. Here, he placed 8th and did not qualify for the team. Thus, George Merry was the only RMR who competed in the Olympic Games in Olso, Norway. However, the skier’s trial results were seen as a huge success for the club.
The four Red Mountain racers skied like the champions they are during the Canadian Olympic Trials… Considering the fact that the best skiers in Canada were racing over the famed Mount Norquay courses, the achievement of these four young racers from this district, marks a high point in district athletic ventures.
– Rossland Miner, April 5, 1951
After the 1952 Olympics, RMR produced many Olympic hopefuls, World Championship racers, and National Team members and coaches.
While much of this success was owed to the RMR coaches and skiers’ hard work, financial support from the ski club and community was imperative. Skiing was expensive, and external support from the Canadian Amateur Ski Association (CASA) was minimal, particularly in the 1950-60s. As such, racers had to pay their expenses while racing on the FIS ski circuit. Therefore, many top-notch skiers did not get an opportunity to compete because they simply could not afford it. However, financially supporting skiers was a priority from the formation of Rossland and Trail ski clubs. In January 1934, Rossland Ski Clubs supported Trygve Nora and William Forrest to attend a tournament in Spokane, USA. When George Merry went to the Olympics, the Red Mountain Ski Club (RMSC) helped cover his travel costs. Community financial support was also foundational to Nancy Greene’s success. RMSC and community members raised funds to send her and her coach, Verne Anderson, to Europe in 1961. This direct support ensured the top RMR represented Canada. When national ski organizations started offering more sponsorships in the 1970s, RMSC shifted its focus to supporting racers competing at the Pontiac Cup (amateur/development) level.
Click on the photos below to learn more about the Red Mountain Racers that represented Canada on the Canadian National Ski Team (now known as Alpine Canada) and Canadian National Disabled Ski Team (now known as Para Alpine Ski Team) between 1952 and 1989.
Coaches for Canadian National Ski Team and Canadian National Disabled Ski Team
Canadian National Ski Team Members