Red Mountain Racers coach hosts book signing

Grant Rutherglen, the Red Mountain Racers coach who helped many racers to the national team, is holding a book signing on Saturday.

The man who coached a number of Red Mountain Racers to the Canadian alpine ski team, and was on the national team himself, will be signing copies of his autobiography on Saturday.

Grant Rutherglen joined the Red Mountain Racers when he was six years old, progressing to the BC Ski Team in 1965, then to the Canadian National Ski Team les Espoirs program in 1969 and was part of the the National Ski Team Training Squad from 1970 to 1974. After he stopped racing, Rutherglen became head coach of the Red Mountain Racers from 1976 to 1981.

Rutherglen shares his experience as both a racer and coach in his book, The Dart: The Life and Times of a Red Mountain Racer and Alpine Ski Coach, which came out in December. He’ll be signing copies and presenting a photo slide show at The Office (2105 Columbia Ave.) from 3 to 6 p.m. on Saturday.

As head coach of the Red Mountain Racers, Rutherglen helped nine out of 15 racers in his first cohort to eventually reach the national team.

“There was about a five or six year period that I was head coach at Red Mountain, and the first group of kids were the Brian Frys and Kelly Lee [made it to BC Ski Team], and Derek Trussler and Don Stevens and Chris McIver, and that whole group, Felix Belczyk and Dee Dee Haight,” recalls Rutherglen.

Later, he helped four more Red Mountain Racers make their way to the national team.

“When I came and finished up the end of that [five to six] year period, there was a second group coming up from my assistant coach, and that’s when Robbie and Peter Bosinger went on to the ski team, and Hans Edblad, and Kerrin Lee-Gartner of course went on and won her gold medal and stuff like that.”

Brian Fry was one of the racers from the first group.

“I started skiing at about five and started ski racing at pretty well the same time and learning how to be a ski racer, and by the time I was 13 was when Grant showed up in the scene, and I still wasn’t all that great at the sport, and he came along and helped me and a bunch of other kids go from being just regular kids to national team members in a relatively short period of time. By 19 years old I was on the national ski team.”

Fry trained with Grant until he made the BC Ski Team at 17, but although he didn’t train with Grant the whole time, he credits his former coach with building the foundation for his racing success.

“He personally helped me to come second in a race for all of Canada as a 15-year-old and he gave me the confidence to be able to race at very high levels,” says Fry. “At the time I didn’t realize it, but it was much more than just teaching me how to ski race, it was teaching me life skills.”

Asked if anything in Rutherglen’s book surprised him, Fry said, “I think what surprised me the most was the part where I read about his successes when he was a young ski racer. He was even better than I realized.”