January 21, 1930 ~ February 28, 2022
Late in the evening of February 28, 2022, our beautiful snow queen, Suzanne “Suzy” Harris Rytting, left us to ski forever in the exquisite powder of paradise. Suzy was diagnosed with frontal temporal lobe dementia and has spent the past five years in a memory care facility. His official cause of death was congestive heart failure. Suzy was born in Cleveland OH on January 21, 1930 to William I Harris and Carolyn Pricer Harris, both deceased. The family moved to Salt Lake City in January 1942 and while they were initially terrified of the Rocky Mountains, their fear turned into interest when they saw ski slopes in the snow. In Ohio, Suzy had learned to ice skate and her dream was to become a figure skater. In 1943, Suzy and her family began learning to ski on Rasmussen Hill, then progressed steadily until they skied Alta UT, which became their favorite mountain. In 1944, her mother’s ski patrol friends encouraged her to enter Suzy in a ski race. According to Suzy, her mother always involved her in activities and she never said “no”. The ski patrol showed him how to descend a race course using a table set with small glass coke bottles. Her father entered her into the race and when asked which class she should be entered in, A, B or C, he said, “Why start her at the bottom, put her in class A.” She came in last, but it sparked an interest in Suzy to keep running. She was 14 that winter and started running all over Intermountain West. At that time, there was no junior ski racing program, so Suzy raced against the top adult racers in the country. And she was winning. Her skiing triumphs in the late 1940s established her as one of the nation’s top female skiers. Some of his accomplishments include: 1947 Snow Cup, Knudsen Cup and Glacier races; 1948, the Harriman Cup and National Championships combined; 1949, the Rustler Cup, the Snow Cup, the Western Interstate Championships, the Millicent Cup, the Intermountain Ski Association Championships and the Timpanogos Glacier Race. In 1947, she won the Mary Cornelia National Collegiate Trophy. From 1947 to 1952, she was national champion in slalom, downhill and giant slalom, and was an eight-time national medalist. In 1948, she was named an alternate for the 1948 Olympic Ski Team. Although her record was better than others, her youth and short time as a racer were against her and she was not chosen for the Olympic team. It was a heartbreaking event for Suzy, but she continued to race and win, becoming a member of the 1950 FIS women’s team, recognized as the first American team and later, in 1952, as a member of the team women’s olympic. While training in Oslo, Norway for the 1952 Olympics, Suzy fell ill and discovered that she and her husband, Bill, were to become parents for the first time. Although she received doctors’ approval that she was healthy and able to run, Avery Brundage and the Olympic Committee were outraged. Suzy soon found herself removed from the team and sent home before she could compete. These disappointments did not prevent Suzy from being an integral part of the development of skiing and racing in Intermountain West. One of his greatest accomplishments was starting a junior ski racing program, United Alta Skiers, which trained many young people to become successful racers and skiers. In honor of her contributions to skiing and the community, Suzy was elected to the United States Ski Hall of Fame, the Utah Sports Hall of Fame and the USA Hall of Fame. University of Utah in 1988. In December 1999, she was named one of the 50 Greatest Athletes of the Century by the Salt Lake Tribune and the Utah Sports Hall of Fame. She received the TEXACO STAR AWARD for her dedication to the community and as one of the top ski and snowboard athletes in the world. In 2004, she was inducted into the Intermountain Ski Hall of Fame and received the prestigious SJ Quinney Award for her contribution to skiing. In 2016, Suzy received the Sue Raemer Memorial Award, which is presented annually to an individual who has made a significant and voluntary contribution of time, talent, and resources to the J. Willard Marriott Library’s ski and snowboard archives. of Utah.
Suzy was not only involved in skiing, but in service to her community. She was a founding member of the Salt Lake Chapter of the National Charity League, a mother-daughter organization that promotes volunteer opportunities in the community. One of them was The Children’s Center, where Suzy served as board chair and helped develop new fundraising events. She was active at St James’s Episcopal Church, serving in the sacristy, the altar guild and the building committee. Suzy also enjoyed playing tennis and golf, which she did at Cottonwood Country Club. She also held many positions in the Women’s Association there, organizing memorable parties and golf tournaments. She also became an accomplished equestrian, enjoying riding with her daughter and granddaughter. And who can forget his roller skates in his Holladay neighborhood! Suzy graduated from East High School where she was part of the school ski team. She attended the University of Utah and was a member of Pi Beta Phi sorority. Suzy married a handsome Navy pilot, William “Bill” Rytting on December 27, 1949. They soon left for Sun Valley ID for Suzy’s racing training. Bill was a loving and supportive husband, always there at races and helping her train. In the fall of 1952, Suzy and Bill welcomed Jessica “Jinx” into their family and their daughter Robyn in the spring of 1955. Above all, Suzy was a truly wonderful and fun mother. Robyn remembers how Mom taught us about the wonders of nature by “frozing” along the Northwest beaches, digging for clams, searching for starfish in tidal pools. We learned the names of the wildflowers as we hiked her beloved Alta trails, singing along. She was a reader of all kinds of books, sharing her love of reading to us at night the wonderful stories from The Hobbit books. There were tea parties in the garden, Easter egg hunts, eye-blinking and head-to-toe contests, and picnics in the snow when we were skiing. Suzy was an excellent seamstress, sewing clothes for Jinx and Robyn, then making matching outfits for their dolls. It continued with her granddaughters and beautiful knitted sweaters for her grandson. Suzy was known as a beautiful dresser, always wearing stylish, tailored clothes. She owned Tweed ‘n Twill, a clothing store in Salt Lake City UT where you could always find your favorite shirt, sweater, pants, and classic dresses. She also had a successful real estate career with one of Utah’s first all-female companies, Creative Realty.
Suzy was predeceased by her husband, Bill (October 2013) and a grandson, Nathaniel (September 1978). She is survived by her sister, Francine Valline (Robin) and her sons Nathaniel (Amber) and Tom (Autumn). His daughters, Jessica “Jinx” Strout (Bob, deceased) and Robyn Rytting Shields (Paul). His grandchildren Carolyn “Carrie” Peterson (Cash), Bryan Strout, JD Auerbach and Elizabeth “Liz” Hadland (Jarrid). His great-grandchildren, Alexis Auerbach, Jessie Bliss Peterson, Emma Saylor Peterson, Stuart Hadland, Vivian Rose Hadland.
Suzy was cremated and will be buried at St. Mark’s Cathedral at a private family celebration in early summer. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation in his memory to the Alf Engen Ski Museum engenmuseum.org; The Children’s Center childrenscenterutah.org or a charity of your choice. The family would like to thank Hayley of Inspiration Hospice and Alexess of Wentworth of Coventry for their loving and loving care of Suzy. And please toast Suzy with a Dry Martini looking out to the Wasatch Mountains and remember her as we do, as a loving, competitive, fun and beautiful woman who helped make skiing what it is today. Condolences can be shared with the family at www.legacy.com
Published by The Salt Lake Tribune from March 9 to March 13, 2022.