Kimberley hall of fame skier Gerry Rinaldi

Anthony Dransfeld looks back at notable Kimberley skiers

Kimberley skier Gerry Rinaldi.

ANTHONY DRANSFELD

For the Bulletin

Gerry Rinaldi was the second Alpine Skier from Kimberley B.C. to make it on the Canadian National Ski Team — just two seasons after Kimberley teammate  and later to be Coach Gary Baddistella. Rinaldi learned his Downhill Racing on the “Dreadnaught”, a run which sadly no longer exists in its entirety up at Kimberley Resort.

The “Dreadnaught (and there were many reasons to dread it , believe you me, 1 minute and 40 seconds of surprises)   run  itself  began at a notch in the trees to the right of the Rosa, when you got off the Tee Bar ( which was reputed to be the longest  Tee in North America 24 minutes to the top).

Gerry Rinaldi was on the Canadian National Ski Team when Nancy Greene was attaining World status, The Canuck Men were quite  formidable themselves, Peter Duncan, Bobby Swan, Wayne and Scott Henderson, Rod Hebron ( we both dated the same girl back in the day,Ski Instuctor  Allison Goodfellow from Montreal). Gerry, or “Rinaldo” as he was known on the Canadian team, made the skiing world sit up and take notice when he  scored an incredible 10th-  place finish on the famed Hahnenkamm Downhill  Course in Kitzbuhel Austria,, only half a second behind Karl Schranz, Jean Claude Killy, and Guy Perrilat.

The Hahnenkamm  is the toughest downhill in the World, speeds of 70 MPH  and up and 100,000 fans screaming in your ear, no Canadian  had ever placed as high  as Kimberley’s Gerry Rinaldi.  The date was January 18th, 1969, and Gerry was all of 23 years old.

In  summers Gerry came back to town  to work for his dad Bruno Rinaldi, who  owned a plumbing and heating business here in Kimberley. “ Rinaldo “ played baseball for the B.P.O.E. Angels,, under Coach Mauk.

Gerry Rinaldi  competed in the 1968 Winter Olympics in Grenoble France, where Jean Claude Killy won three Gold Medals in skiing. At the ripe old age of 22,  Gerry finished a decent 31st  in the Downhill, where Gary Battistella was his  Canadian Olympic Coach ( also from Kimberley B.C.).

As it turned out, Rinaldi was not quite done with the Hahnenkamm   Downhill in Kitzbuhel. Austria.   At the 65th running of it,  the Austrian Ski Federation  invited Gerry  Rinaldi to be their  Technical Delegate ( Director) of the Hahnenkamm. In Austria this race is as sacred  as our Stanley Cup Hockey  Finals.. This was a huge honour for Mr. Rinaldi, and Canada as a skiing nation.

The last time I saw Gerry Rinaldi, he was up at Trickle Creek playing golf (would you believe a 68). Rinaldo was not a flashy skier, but he was a darn good racer who certainly did his part to put Kimberley B.C. on the ski map. “Rinaldo” is now a member of Canada Skiing Hall of Fame.

 

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