Doug Savage: Honoured Lifetime Builder
Dedicated to ensuring the ski racing field of play is safe, secure and ready for speed!
His life in ski racing has been a living example of ‘pay it forward’. From coaching young skiers with two-time World Champion Lucile Wheeler in the Eastern Townships of Quebec in the 1960’s to managing the extensive hardware needed to stage World Cup races nearly 60 years later, Doug Savage has devoted his life to building ski racing for the young ladies and men that aim to represent Canada.
Doug’s early years in the sport centred around coaching and subsequently providing service to National Team athletes with Atomic and Nordica. In the 1980’s, alongside Gord Reece, Doug helped found the Kananaskis Alpine Racing Team when Nakiska was established.
Like so many in our sport, the 1988 Olympic Winter Games were a memorable highlight. “It was a very special experience working as Assistant Chief of Course for the ladies alpine events in 1988,” said Doug. “It inspired me to continue to support athletes and their ski racing dreams.”
The 1988 Games and securing annual World Cup events at Lake Louise meant Alberta had an enormous inventory of equipment to be used for all levels of events across western Canada. Doug’s post-Olympic involvement in our sport took a unique turn after the Games, managing the growing inventory of equipment necessary to stage safe events in alpine ski racing: “A’ nets, “B” nests, Willy-bags, air fences, crowd control fencing …. with material that runs into thousands of metres and which must be maintained continuously and managed to ensure it is delivered, set up properly, taken down and returned for storage and maintenance. Managing race equipment inventory is not exciting, but it is absolutely essential for our sport.
Doug took on the role of Equipment Manager initially with Alberta Alpine and subsequently with Alpine Canada when the scope of this role grew. Managing safety is much more than ensuring the gear is maintained and kept current. “We worked continuously towards making improvements to equipment to ensure the safety of the athletes,” said Doug. “This involved hundreds of minor innovations and most important, working with individuals and companies to support safe and successful racing”.
“I believe that it is all about the kids and their passion for skiing, continues Doug. “Our job is to support these kids in their development both on and off the ski hill, but most importantly, support their love for the sport.”
Doug would describe his sport pathway as different, perhaps a bit unconventional, but he has no regrets. “Ski racing has been a part of my whole life,” he says. “Ski racing and the amazing people I’ve met through this sport have shaped the person I am today and made me a better person. Ski racing has inspired me. I’m so grateful for this journey.”
There are many who inspired our Honoured Builder in his life-long commitment to our sport. From his father, Alfred Savage, “he always told me if you work hard, do a good job and show respect to everyone, you will be a successful person”, to Ron Allision (father of Canadian Team alumni Bobby Allison) “once you start a job, you finish it. Make a plan and stick with it.” To 2016 Honoured Builder, the late Fred Bosinger “he shared long talks about ski racing, the ski community and life, and I will always be grateful for his support and encouragement”
He is quiet, reliable, focused and enormously committed to athletes, volunteers, officials and coaches who work so hard in our sport. And for Doug Savage, this has been his focus, his passion and his legacy: safe ski racing.
The Canadian Rockies Ski Racing Hall of Fame and Alberta Alpine are pleased to recognize Doug Savage, our 2018 Honoured Builder, who has devoted his life to athletes in ski racing to ensure the competitive area of the sport is safe, secure and built so they can focus on skiing fast.
The 2018 Class will be inducted at the Highest Peak Gala, hosted at the Hotel Arts in Calgary on Tuesday, October 30th. This event was first held in 1968, to support ski racing excellence in Alberta and western Canada. The Canadian Rockies Ski Racing Hall of Fame event is a legacy event with the goal to support future champions in the province, with all proceeds invested into Alberta Ski Racing programs.