Dec 1, 2014 | Marmot, Winter 2014

In Profile: John Trimmer

This winter marks John Trimmer's 30th year as a Ski Coach, most of them spent at Mount Washington Alpine Resort, where he is Head Coach of the Alpine Ski Club.

“It’s kind of crazy,” said Trimmer of the milestone. “Mount Washington was my first job coaching. I did leave for a couple of years but I came back.”

Trimmer grew up in the Comox Valley His father was in the Canadian Forces. The family moved from Cold Lake, Alberta to the Comox Valley when John was approximately 10 years old.

John played rep hockey. He was a forward after moving to Comox. He didn’t start skiing until he was 13. He remembers strapping on some plastic skis for his first run, the rope tow at Forbidden Plateau (Mount Washington wasn’t open when he started skiing).

“I fell in love with skiing. That was all I wanted to do after that.”

After high school he went to coaching school at Malaspina University-College (now Vancouver Island University). He also took some ski instruction courses, and followed his brother Graham into ski instruction.

When John started at the Ski School, another coach, Stan Hanson needed someone to help him, so he grabbed John. John worked with Stan and another coach for a couple of seasons but slowly began to take on more coaching responsibilities.

Mount Washington was his first job coaching. At first, his job would start in December and end in April. He spent a few years cooking in restaurants, including the Old House.

“I never stopped skiing,” he said. But he did take some coaching courses on his own, and is now a full-time Level 3 Coach and Level 3 Instructor.

He left the Resort for a couple of years to coach the B.C. Women’s Ski Team for two seasons then came back and has stayed ever since.

Ten years ago, John started taking groups of Ski Club members (aged 13 to 17 years old) to Austria and Germany for training in the Alps in the summer. The largest group he took was 17 athletes. “I usually do one or two camps in the summer as well,” he said.

Ski students have more advantages to compete now than when he first began skiing. “I never really raced in the sense the kids I coach race. Back in the day there were always races around, whether it was the old Tequila Cup or Tom Harris GMGS.”

John says he has stayed in the Comox Valley, working with Mount Washington Alpine Resort for the same reason a lot of people stay in the Valley.

“It’s a great place to live and it’s a great Club to work with. There’s a lot of great people, it’s a great organization. It’s really family oriented and a lot of fun.”

John says he lost count of how many kids he has coached a long time ago, but that a lot of kids have become a second family.

“There have been so many kids. One cool thing about being in this place for so long, I’ll have people ski by that I coached 15 or 20 years ago, or parents I’ve known for so long.”

John finds working with the athletes who join the Mount Washington Ski Club rewarding, not just because of the work they put into their sport, but because of how their experiences with the Ski Club have shaped their lives.

When he is not coaching, mentoring, booking ski club events, liaising with Mount Washington, volunteering as a director with Vancouver Island Mountain Sport Society, or taking care of Club sponsorships, John can be found on his mountain bike or his road bike, increasingly (in the summer anyway) on the golf course or (in winter) back in the hockey rink, where he picked up his boyhood sport again and plays recreationally.

In October 2014, the Strathcona Sunrise Rotary Club honoured John with a Paul Harris Fellowship.

“I was very shocked to receive the award,” Trimmer said. “I have been lucky to work with kids all these years. They are some of my favourite people; they have a freedom and genuineness about them that seems to be missing in most adults.”

While Trimmer is humble about receiving his award, others say it is well deserved.”I have known John for most of his coaching years, in fact he coached my kids,” Ralph Sorensen said. “He has always been giving of himself. He exemplifies the Paul Harris Fellowship.”

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