Phyllis Kennedy – Honoured Official – Canadian Rockies Ski Racing Hall of Fame
Like so many parents who encouraged their children to take up ski racing, Phyllis Kennedy had no idea what she was in for. But once the hook was landed, “I have met some of the nicest and greatest people, both as volunteers and athletes in the world”, said our Honoured Lifetime Official for the Class of 2015.
Starting out at Canada Olympic Park where she had registered her son, Adam, in lessons to learn to ski, watching the Paskapoo Open Slalom race “I thought it would be something he would like to try’ continued Phyllis. “So we registered him in the K2 program with the Paskapoo Ski Club and that was the start of my volunteer career”.
It was the very next year when the club came calling, recruiting her for the Race Office. “I asked two very stupid questions: 1. Was it hard? (not difficult to guess the answer – it was ‘No, not at all’) and 2. Was it fun? (the answer – Oh yes, lots.).
In short, because of that conversation, I started my journey as a volunteer in the Race Office.”
Since that inauspicious launch, Phyllis has become a welcome foundation to many events across western Canada, working with Race Organizers at every level, from U14 right to the World Cup. “During that time I have had many adventures,” said Phyllis. “Most good and some down right terrifying and I wouldn’t have traded them for anything.”
Her highlight throughout it all is thanks to one of the legendary athletes of our sport. “During all that time and ‘adventuring’, the highlight was when I volunteered as the Race Administrator for the Masters National Canadian Championships in Sun Peaks. It was there that I met and worked with Nancy Greene who I absolutely worshiped when I was a teenager.”
“I have done this long enough that I’ve seen athletes from the K2 level skiing on the National Team which is starting to make me feel very old. What keeps me coming back? Aside from the nice people thing, it is the challenge of starting from scratch with a race being calendared, organizing and running the race office and ending with a set of race results which counts for points.”
We can never thank our volunteers and officials enough for the long hours they invest in our sport. The role of Race Administrator is a particularly thankless one, too often working long hours in the office, rather than out on the hill. “During races, I often have athletes come in to the race office and thank us for the work that we do,’ said Phyllis. “My reply is: ‘if it weren’t for them, there would not be a race’. As volunteers, we should never lose sight that we are here to support our athletes at all levels and ensure they have the best experience possible.”
Fast skis and a faster course!!!
Alberta Alpine and the Friends of Alberta Ski Team congratulate Phyllis Kennedy for her induction into the Canadian Rockies Ski Racing Hall of Fame as our Honoured Official.
Join us to recognize her contribution to alpine ski racing at the 47th Return of the Champions at the Calgary Petroleum Club on Tuesday, November 10th. The “Return of the Champions” is an Alberta Alpine event. All funds raised are to support athlete development and Alberta Alpine programs.