Todd McNutt: Honoured Athlete, Official and Leader
Sharing a lifelong passion for speed and sharing experience through leadership.
Canmore, AB – My ski racing journey began in 1975 with the Skimeisters NGSL at Mount Norquay. Not only did we begin to develop our skills as young ski racers we also developed the grip strength of rodeo cowboys hanging on for dear life on the Memorial rope tow. ‘
Under the direction of Ken Marchand I learned very early that 100% effort every day, every time was the standard to live by. To this day those ethics I learned way back in the day still apply.
I remember dryland training at River Park was essentially a 10k cross country race every week. I was very fortunate to have competed in the days of the Crazy Canucks. These guys were our idols and mentors and of course DH was the name of the game.
Most of my memories are from the many DH events we competed in. Of note the Whitefish DH is a favorite. A van load of us aspiring Crazy Canucks arrived in Whitefish under the direction of Dave Greig. As per usual the Whitefish track was in great condition with some great jumps and wide open turns. The weather however was another story. Preparing for the first training run, the Start Referee stated that because of the low light conditions “Athletes please! This training run is only to be run at 60%!!” I remember looking at ‘Coach Greig’ and asking “so what does that mean?” Dave responded “what do YOU think that means?” I got the message. I proceeded to the start gate and got the start cadence from the starter and blasted out pushing and skating to the first gate. The Start Ref burst outside the tent and screamed at the line-up of athletes ready to go. “I said PLEASE ONLY 60%’” Dave told me later that my old pal Gord Taciuk looked at the starter, leaning on his poles and said “That was 60%” ……I think we had a pretty good weekend down there.
The next season, in 1983, I made the Alberta Ski Team under the coaching staff of Jacques Morel and Glenn Thomson. So many great memories but again, the DH stories are the most memorable. I wasn’t the fastest dude out there, but I could hold my own and I always worked hard, sometimes too hard. I remember vividly racing in the Rossland DH. The week of terror. Fast, rough and always foggy Rossland was our own little Kitzbuhel. The Canadian Champs were held there that year and we were all eager for great results. My day however did not go as planned as I was yellow flagged on the top pitch and had to return for a re-run. As it turned out my re-run was slotted in at the end because of the long turn around. So I finally made it back to the start, armed with my ‘never anything less than 100%’ attitude and blasted into the fog on the ridge then a hard left footer onto the steep pitch above the Women’s Start. In full view of the entire Women’s field at 70 mph I hooked an edge and exploded into the compression losing everything including 1 glove and my helmet!….day over. Unfortunately I also caused a fair bit of trepidation to the Women’s field as they watched in horror before their run.
Another highlight was forerunning the 1983 Lake Louise WC DH. Rubbing elbows with all of my ski racing heroes was incredible. Looking back at how Lake Louise has evolved from those early days is amazing. In 1983 we started from the very top of the Summit Platter lift. I remember during inspection thinking to myself “JEEZ this is gonna be fast”. Based on the forerunners the set was way too fast. They shut it down and lowered the start! I thought ,hey this is WC I thought it was supposed to be like that!!
I retired from ski racing in 1984/85 and transitioned to my new sport of Cycling through the summer program Skimeisters started called “Cyclemeisters” under the direction of Ed Novotini. I balanced my Cycling career with both University and coaching with the Mount Norquay Racing Club from 1985 to 1995 (now known as CARC).
This new passion took me all the way to the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games where I competed in the 100K Team Time Trial and. after the Games I turned professional and competed in the Professional World Championships in Benidorm Spain. Cycling had definitely taken over but I remained committed to ski racing now as a coach with MNRC. Coaching the Alberta Team at the ‘Topolino’ Children’s event in Monte Bondone, Italy in 1993 was a highlight for me in my coaching career.
Life goes on and in 1993 my wife Joanne and I started a family and our first was born in July of 1993. Gavin entered the world and shortly thereafter Kerri arrived. Another transition from career coaching to a career with Calgary Police Service (CPS) and now, volunteering as a ski racing parent.
The connection with our ski racing community and volunteer involvement has been a grounding and very rewarding part of my life while being a member of CPS. I owe a lot to those who encouraged me to continue as a ROC member, Board member (South Zone Chair 2007-2011) and as an official. Jim Brewington, Bruce Hamstead and Darrell McLaughlin are my mentors and friends that I hold dear. And of course, Bob Leitch my good buddy and sidekick though out this life long ski racing journey. It was 2006 when Bruce Hamstead floated the idea of Bob and I running the Nor Am DH at LL…….I was terrified but also excited at the prospect. 18 years later I think we can say that it was a great success and a significant legacy for our sport. Jim Brewington nominated me as a FIS TD Candidate and I earned my FIS TD Licence in 2014. As a FIS Technical Delegate, it has been incredibly rewarding to work with various Race Organizing Committees throughout the country. The highlight has been the Men’s WC DH at Beaver Creek in 2017.
I believe that none of the great people who have received this recognition before me set out for these honors. They all have contributed for the love of the sport, and to be a part of a family of great people who come together year after year to share in the best sport in the world.
The Canadian Rockies Ski Racing Hall of Fame is pleased to recognize Todd McNutt, our 2022 Honoured Alberta Ski Team Alumni, official and sport leader, for a lifetime of passion for ski racing and working to provide safe environments and opportunity for speed events as a respected international leader. Dave Greig interviewed our Honoured Inductee.
Please join us on November 8th at the Malcolm Hotel in Canmore to honour the Class of 2022.