Nordic coach passes away

Skiers, coaches grieve the loss


Ayelet Prottas

Photo Illustration by Ayelet Prottas. Nordic coach John Dyste retrieved his Class B bus drivers license to drive the Nordic team to and from practice every day. Dyste got his license because there was a shortage of bus drivers.

Andrea Melear and Lily Nugteren

John Dyste, a coach of the Nordic Ski and Park community passed away due to complications after a biking accident Sept. 8. 

Dyste was Co-head coach of the Nordic Ski team and was known throughout the state’s Nordic community. According to Athletic Director Andy Ewald, Dyste’s passion for the sport was a highlight that everyone recognized when around him.  

“John was extremely passionate about Nordic Skiing, and he was just as passionate about sharing his knowledge with the students that he worked with,” Ewald said. “Whether they were a novice skier who was just on skis for the first time, or whether they were, a kid who was a state competitor at that level, he gave them all equal attention.”

Senior Victoria Schmelzle said the closeness of the team stems from the example Dyste set and the environment he created.

“I believe your whole team was super grounded in. We’re all really supportive of each other, but ultimately that stems from your leadership, which was him,” Schmelzle said. “He just had a good heart and he was willing to help you whenever you needed. He never missed anything.”

He’s certainly not a coach that people are just going to forget about. He’s affected so many generations of skiers that have gone through our school.”

— Victoria Schmelzle

Assistant coach Pat Hartman said Dyste had a good rapport with all around him.

“He had a really great connection with the kids, and he was a great teacher of the sport and teaching kids the technique,” Hartman said. “I always learned so much from him as an assistant coach.” 

According to Ewald, he said he believes whenever a guiding figure is part of an athlete’s life, it has a bigger influence outside of the activity.

“Anytime you’ve got caring adults in your life, my hope is that their impact isn’t just specifically with that sport, but the way they’re carrying themselves and modeling themselves, that they’re inspiring our students to be the best that they can be at everything they do,” Ewald said. “I believe he impacted kids to the point where he got them to want to be the best version of themselves.”

Schmelzle said her own experience showed her Dyste’s passion and attitude for the team. 

“Freshman year, there was a big problem on the team where skiers were bullying me and (Dyste)  addressed the whole entire team. I was brand new on the team, I hadn’t skied before,” Schmelzle said. “He’s not putting up with that. He wants a team that’s supportive of everybody, and he wants you all to just go out there and have fun. If you need help, then he’s there to help you.”

Senior Ada Turman said she worries about being able to ski her best this season after losing Dyste who was a role model for her. 

“What I’m most scared about is just going there and thinking about different places where he taught me how to ski and just all the emotions coming back and not being able to perform my best,” Turman said. 

Schmelzle said she is confident that Dyste’s legacy will live on through his students and what he taught them. 

“He’s certainly not a coach that people are just going to forget about. He’s affected so many generations of skiers that have gone through our school. I think he’s just shared the love of the sport with so many of us,” Schmelzle said. “He taught me to love it, and now I teach my friends to love it.”