Ron Southern's generosity lives on in Olympian Beckie Scott's charitable ski program

    January 22, 2016

    by Valerie Fortney, Calgary Herald

    Olympic gold medalist Beckie Scott plays a game of tag on skis with Tsuu T’ina junior and senior high school students as they learn to cross-country ski as part of the ATCO sponsored Ski Fit North program.

    It’s Thursday afternoon and a group of school kids is strapping on cross-country skis and giggling as they struggle to stay upright and make their way to a nearby snow-covered field.

    “I think it’s really cool,” says 12-year-old Kathleen Big Plume as she tentatively puts on cross-country ski boots for only the second time in her life. “But I don’t like hills because then I go too fast.”

    To call this day special is an understatement. The scenery alone is staggeringly beautiful: a blanket of white rolling hills framed by the jagged Rockies, the midday sun beaming down from an azure sky.

    Then, there is the group of coaches getting the kids acquainted with the sport, led by none other than Beckie Scott, Olympic gold medallist and a woman whose name is synonymous with the sport of cross-country skiing.
    It’s a happy day, with the sounds of excited chatter and laughter emanating from the children of Tsuu T’ina junior and senior high school, along with their gregarious principal Jeff Horvath, who is clearly thrilled to have a bona fide Olympic champion spending time with his young charges.

    Yet it all has been made possible thanks to a local champion of kids, community and sport.