Jim Read: Honoured Alberta/Canadian Team Alumni
It’s hard not to say the name Jim Read and the words ‘Ski Racing’ in the same sentence. Our 2020 Honoured Alberta/Canadian Team Alumni has had a lifelong journey full of Ski Racing – he is recognized as one of Canada’s most successful tech skiers who then went on to compete on the North American Pro Tour as the most successful North American athlete. In the last two decades – 22 years!! – Jim has become known as one of the most passionate & dedicated alpine ski coaches in Canada.
Jim’s journey into ski racing started as a family activity. His mother had ski raced growing up therefore young Jim and his siblings had an early introduction to the sport while logging many miles skiing as a family. Jim credits his father John, “who had the patience to ski with me when I was very little.” And his mother Dee, “who taught me to put the miles on the ski hill”.
Jim grew up ski racing with the Lake Louise Ski Club before joining the Alberta Ski Team at 15 years old, then made the Canadian Ski Team at 18. Jim’s impressive career as a ski racer is reflected in his 11 Canadian Championship titles (3 junior titles & 8 senior titles), and as a two time Olympian competing in the tech events in Sarajevo 1984 where he finished 24th in GS. In the 1988 Calgary Olympic Winter Games, he placed 13th in the SuperG and also competed in Slalom and GS. His final major FIS event was the 1989 Alpine World Ski Championships in Vail.
When Jim joined the North American Pro Tour, he quickly became known as a fierce competitor yet his humble demeanour would never lead one to believe he was as skilled and successful as he truly was. A fellow competitor on the Pro Tour, Rick Lewon, shared “he’s the greatest, humblest skier you’ll ever meet. He doesn’t have to tell you how good he is, everyone knows how good he is – consider yourself lucky to be one of his close friends.”
Jim recognizes the time he spent on the Pro Tour as a period filled with many lessons which he attributes to being monumental to his coaching career. “Ski racing has been a big part of my life however I always tried to have a life outside of ski racing also to maintain some balance. I think that is why I was able to race up till I was 35 years old. From the ages of 25 till 35 I really learned the most as I had to be my own Coach and reached out to many of the European racers with questions. This period I believe helped me the most in my coaching career.”
Jim’s first coaching job started with the Sunshine Ski Club when former Canadian Alpine Ski Team teammate and first “boss”, Wendy Lumby, recruited Jim going up the chair at Canada Olympic Park, 22 years ago. “I saw the potential in him as a coach and wanted to utilize his knowledge, so I hired him! I recognized his skills and love of the sport would make him a great ski coach” recalls Wendy.
Jim’s passion for the sport of skiing, his energy for ski racing, his fun loving spirit and his patience in developing overall skiing skills have all contributed to the foundation of every skier he’s coached. Recently taking on the position as the Women’s Coach with the Alberta Ski Team, the Sunshine Ski Club has been very fortunate to have had the opportunity to experience all Jim has shared since that single chair ride at Canada Olympic Park, 22 years ago. And what advice would Jim pass on to young racers? “Keep it fun. Skiing is a feel sport. Don’t overthink it. If you have a bad race, clear your head go have a few free runs. That will really help you get back on track. Free ski lots but do it with purpose. Practice good race technique while free skiing.”
Jim’s ski journey started as a family activity, getting as much mileage as possible. Ski Racing provided Jim the platform to become a life long student of the sport, developing his craft over years of multiple experiences as a ski racer. “Ski racing is a wonderful privilege to be able to be involved in. Really try and enjoy the journey and don’t get too caught up too much in the end goal. Strive to become a successful World Cup racer if that is what you want but keep in mind that skiing is a life long healthy activity that you can enjoy for many, many years.”
Join us in honouring Jim Read, our Alberta/Canadian Ski Team Alumni in the 2020 Class of the Canadian Rockies Ski racing Hall of Fame.