Ruff Patterson

Induction Year: 
Competitive Skier

Ruff Patterson (1953 -    )

Ruff Patterson was destined to excel in skiing. He was raised in the shadows of Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountain Range where he grew up competing with two siblings who became Olympic Winter Games competitors.

While sister Susie (1976) and brother Pete (1976/ 1980) became alpine specialists on the U.S. Olympic Teams, Ruff excelled in cross-country skiing where he became a fierce competitor and a fervent champion of the athletes he coached. 

He was a Nordic specialist on the University of Colorado ski team which won the NCAA championships every year of his undergraduate career (1973-1976). Upon graduation from college, he returned to the Sawtooths to coach the Sun Valley Nordic Team, a move that launched his remarkable 45-year coaching career.

His coaching style was uncomplicated, fair, low-key yet highly effective. It inspired junior racers, collegians, U.S. Olympic team members (1978 - 1989), and U.S. Ski Team members competing on the World Cup and World Championships circuits.   

From 1990 to 2016 he was the director of skiing and men’s head Nordic coach for Dartmouth College. There he was named Eastern Intercollegiate Men’s Nordic Coach of the Year four times and coached 14 skiers who earned All-American honors a total of 31 times.

He also guided Dartmouth to 13 top-five finishes in the NCAA championships, including the NCAA title in 2007.

After 27 years of coaching on the NCAA level, Ruff moved to Park City in 2017 and retired from coaching in 2019.