Opinion » Alta States

Alta States

Stand up and be counted - a tribute to Greg Lee



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But seriously - "the camaraderie, laughs, practical jokes, endless ribbing, and mock-talent shows made the 18-hours of work each day seem like a pleasure," adds Taylor. "And a lot of that energy came from Sumo."

That passion for ski racing and coaching never left him. And stories abound about his personal touch and quirky coaching methods. Here's one by Masters racer, Rob Strahan: "One day he wanted me to get forward on my skis and I guess I was being a little thick and wasn't getting it," he recounts. "Well, it didn't take long for Sumo to call me out of the course. So I skied over and he picked up the front of both of my skis and raised them to his waist with me still strapped in. 'Now,' he said. 'Get forward! Feel the front of your boots.' It was all I could do to not fall backwards but I did manage to eventually get forward. And he said: 'Now feel that when you are skiing.' The penny dropped..."

As for his youthful tendency for big ski crashes, that hadn't changed much over the decades. "A couple of years ago," writes Canadian ski team alum Mike Robbins, "I was training with a group of local kids on the steep side of Rogers Run at Georgian Peaks Ski Club. The conditions were particularly icy and it was a real challenge to make it down the GS course, let alone ski anything like a proper line - very steep and like a skating rink."

He continues: "In those days Greg was coaching at the Peaks. As I was going back up the lift to Rogers, I suddenly caught sight of 'Sumo' charging over the rise on the GS course aggressively tackling the ice. He made it over the ridgeline and then plunged down the steeps. Something happened (I don't quite know what) but all of a sudden Greg was hurtling down through the course on his butt - a partial yard sale behind him. He put his skis back on, brushed himself off, smiled and then skied off down the hill like nothing had happened. The incredible part of the story was this occurred within a year or so of his double knee replacement..."