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Alta States

Ryan Oughtred - Doctor 'O' is in the house



"The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will educate his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease."

- American inventor Thomas Edison


His upbringing was nothing short of idyllic. "My parents were both ski bums essentially," says Canadian Ski Team alumnus, Ryan Oughtred. "As ski instructors, they would follow the snow. Winter in the Okanagan and summer in New Zealand." He stops speaking. Let's out a rolling laugh - easy and unforced and totally natural. "So I just followed," he continues. "I didn't know any better. Just thought it was a natural thing to ski all year round..."

Still, there were challenges for the young skier. "I remember starting kindergarten," he says. "I was choked. My parents were still going up the hill to ski - and I was stuck in school!"

It was an unconventional lifestyle - by any measure. But the young mountain kid thrived in that environment. "My dad's ski philosophy," explains Oughtred, "was that kids didn't need to be 'taught' to ski, they just needed good role models." Another pause. Another happy burst of laughter. "So I spent most of my kid years surrounded by great skiers. And you know what - it worked."

Oughtred wasn't the biggest guy around. Nor was he the strongest. But he had a touch on his skis that was the envy of many most of his peers. And his progress through the B.C. ski racing ranks was nothing short of impressive. "My dad coached for the Penticton club and the Vernon club so I skied with them in my early years," he tells me. "But it was when I joined the Kelowna club that things really started to click for me."

It was in Kelowna, under coach Derek Trussler (another ACA alumnus), that the Okanagan youngster really began to show his mettle. "Derek taught me what it meant to be a serious ski racer," says Oughtred. "He was amazing!"

By 1995, Oughtred was a member of the Canadian Ski Team. "You spend your life dreaming about racing against the best in the world," he says. "And then you're there - living your dream." A smile slowly spreads across his face. "It was fantastic, you know. Sure there were down moments. And yes, it was hard work." A short pause. "But when I hear other athletes complaining about their time on the national team, I can only shake my head - c'mon man!"

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