Salt Lake City, UT Sept. 30--Former Olympian and two-time national ski champion Suzy Harris Rytting of Salt Lake City is the first regional finalist, representing the Intermountain Region, to be announced for the Texaco Star Award. She has brought the same energy to community service that she applied to her racing career and will be honored Saturday night, Oct. 1, at the black-tie Utah Ski & Snowboard Ball.
The first annual Texaco Star Award will honor the contributions of U.S. Ski and Snowboard Team alumni to their communities. Five regional finalists - from the Midwest, Rocky Mountains, East and Far West - will be selected. A $1,000 check will be presented to the charity of their choice. The winner of the Texaco Star Award will be chosen from the regional finalists. A $10,000 check will be presented in his or her name to a favorite charity during the New York Ski & Snowboard Ball on Nov. 8.
"Texaco is proud of our partnership with the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association and the creation of the Texaco Star Award; an Award that reflects Texaco's own commitment to support the communities in which we operate and where our employees work and live," said Polly Rua, Manager of Sponsorships. "We applaud the hard work and dedication of Suzy Harris Rytting for her lifetime commitment to community activities which have made such a vast difference in the lives of so many people."
"I'm overwhelmed by this. It's wonderful," said Rytting, who has designated The Children's Center to be the recipient of the $1,000 given in honor of the regional finalist for the Texaco Star Award. "My involvements are my heritage from my mother. She always believed you should give back to your community, and she was right. You can do so much good and you can have such a good feeling."
Rytting, a native of Cleveland, Ohio, moved to Utah in 1942 with her family where her father was employed as a mining exploration executive. The following year, she learned to ski at Rasmussen Hill, a slope near what is now the Utah Winter Sports Park on the outskirts of Park City. Rytting became one of the nation's best young racers and was named as an alternate for the 1948 Olympic Team; she also won the combined gold medal (for downhill and slalom) at the U.S. championships that season. Rytting went on to win the 1951 national giant slalom championship and was named to the 1952 Olympic Team; however, while training in Switzerland a few weeks before the Olympics in Oslo, Norway, Rytting learned she was pregnant and returned home. She retired from the team that same year. Rytting, her husband and two daughters made Salt Lake City their home.
Since retiring from the team, she has been actively involved in numerous activities and community projects, from forming a ski club and junior racing team to serving as a Girl Scout leader. Rytting's contributions span over forty years. Her major activities include more than two decades as volunteer, director and two-term chairperson for The Children's Center in Salt Lake City; former president and director of the National Charity League, which assists at-risk children; a decade as board member for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Salt Lake City; and chair of a fundraising program which raised more than $100,000 for the U.S. Olympic Team.
The annual Utah Ski & Snowboard Ball, one of the premier fundraising events for the U.S. and Snowboard Team Foundation, will be held Oct. 2 at the historic Union Pacific Depot in downtown Salt Lake City. For more details, contact the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Team Foundation at 435.647-2023 or 1.800.809.SNOW.