Peak Performers nominee: Scott Rawles, freestyle skiing
Editor’s note: Readers nominated their all-time favorite Summit County athletes for Peak Performers: The Mount Rushmore of Summit County athletes. Voting begins Sunday, Feb. 23, at SummitDaily.com/peakperformers.
Nominee: Scott Rawles
Sport: Freestyle skiing
Long before Scott Rawles led the U.S. Mogul Ski Team to Olympic medals, the Montana native and Breckenridge legend moved to town in 1979 and bought a banana-covered denim trench coat, which would become his daily ski getup — and party attire at dusk — helping him become known around town as “Banana Man.”
On snow, Rawles, the eldest of a famous trio of ski brothers, won seven competitions on the Pro Mogul Tour before beginning coaching in 1989 for Team Breckenridge. About a decade later, Rawles began working with the U.S. national team, eventually working his way up from C team coach to head coach of the national program in 2006. Along the way, he took eventual World Champion Jeremy Bloom under his wing.
Under Rawles’ tutelage, the U.S. team bounced back from a disappointing showing at the 2006 Turin Winter Olympics to have U.S. skiers Hannah Kearney, Shannon Bahrke and Bryon Wilson win gold, bronze and bronze medals, respectively, at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics — the first time in mogul-skiing history that a nation won three medals at a single Olympics.
In the time since, Rawles has taken his passion and knowledge for mogul skiing worldwide, coaching the Chinese mogul team in advance of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics. Even when coaching the Chinese skiers, though, Rawles has a connection to Summit County, as the coach brought them to on-mountain facilities at Arapahoe Basin Ski Area as part of his coaching.
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DILLON — Ski area capacity will be further reduced as a result of Summit County’s move to level red on the state’s COVID-19 dial.