In 2002 Ryding, then 15, sat at home on the sofa watching awestruck as Scotland's Alain Baxter carved his way to third place in the slalom at the Salt Lake City Games.
It was a lightbulb moment that convinced Ryding the skills he learnt on Lancashire's nearby plastic slopes could propel him on a path would see him finish second in Kitzbuhel in Janaury - Britain's best World Cup result for 35 years.
As Ryding dreamed, Baxter's world turned upside down. He was stripped of his medal after a tiny trace of levomethamphetamine turned up in a urine sample - courtesy of an innocent over-the-counter inhaler used to combat a cold.
Baxter won an appeal against a three-month ban set by the International Ski Federation (FIS) but despite almost universal sympathy and being described as an "honest man" by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) his medal was never returned.
Britain's skiing fortunes plummeted in the years after Baxter's heartbreak - so much so that when Ryding rocketed to second place behind Marcel Hirscher in Kitzbuhel, Austria there was a collective rubbing of eyes.
But that result at one of skiing's most iconic venues was no fluke.
Four other top-10 finishes, including an eighth place at the World Cup finals in Aspen, meant Ryding finished the season eighth overall and he should head to South Korea next February as a medal contender.
If that happened, and it is a big if, Ryding said it would be a fitting tribute to trailblazer Baxter who has been a constant source of encouragement.
"I remember it big time," the 30-year-old Ryding told Reuters by telephone when recalling Baxter's feat. "I remember sitting hoping thinking 'wow!' that's incredible.
That was the ignition of the fire that I needed to believe that this was achievable for British people. It was a defining moment for me to decide what I wanted to do. If Alan hadn't have done that maybe I would never have believed I could, so hopefully when I got the podium in Kitzbuhel it will have a similar effect on kids watching.
Read the full article on eurosport.co.uk: Ryding: Baxter suffered a travesty of justice, but robbed Scot has inspired my glory bid