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On May 1 Ed Pitoniak takes up his new duties as vice president of Idea and Product Acceleration for Intrawest, but Wednesday night he spoke about the passion that is at the heart of skiing. "This (World Ski and Snowboard Festival) event is a gathering of all the people who will be leaders in the sport in the next 10 years," Pitoniak told a group of industry people at the Garibaldi Lift Company. Pitoniak is the former editor-in-chief of SKI magazine who, as Michel Beaudry said in his introduction, "turned SKI from a fat, fudsy old magazine for the corduroy and BMW set into something important." To which Pitoniak replied: "Part of my job for Intrawest is to make sure the fat, fudsy people in BMWs give us lots of business." Pitoniak’s keynote address during Industry Week at the World Ski and Snowboard Festival was about where the sports of skiing and snowboarding are going, and like any history teacher he suggested you can’t know where you’re going until you know where you’ve been. "If you want to be a revivalist you’ve got to look back to the pioneers of the sport," he said. A quick 60 year perspective of skiing in North America began with the first rope tow in Quebec in 1932, skiing’s growth within high society, the roll of the 10th Army in Colorado following World War II and then the emergence of the sport across the continent in the 1960s. "We watched Nancy Greene on Wide World of Sports — it was a whole new way of relating to the mountains," he said. The ’70s and ’80s brought "freestyle and Jet Stix, then neon and yuppies." "The ’90s can be a revival for mountain sports," he said, pointing to snowboarders, film maker Greg Stump and Festival organizer Doug Perry. "It’s incumbent upon everyone in this room to revive the classical aspect of the sport." Pitoniak drew inspiration from film maker Otto Lang, who was in town this week for the World Ski and Snowboard Festival. Lang was born in Bosnia in 1908. When he was a child he saw a Norwegian skier doing telemark turns in Bosnia. He got his first pair of skis when an Austrian warehouse flooded. Later he became a ski jumper because he didn’t know how to turn. In 1935 Lang arrived for the first time in New York City. Almost immediately he was booked into a department store to tell people about skiing. He spent his first five days in New York looking around the five boroughs for a slippery substance that would let wooden skis slide down a wooden ramp. He succeeded, and drew high praise from a New York Times reviewer. "Otto’s passion for skiing set him apart, brought a whole new meaning to the sport," Pitoniak summarized. "Al and Nancy Raine, Hugh Smythe — these people built (Whistler) not for the buck, but because of a love of the sport. I encourage all of you to do the same. You have the ability." Pitoniak donated his speaking fee for the evening to the Trevor Petersen Fund.

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