Sports » Features

Whistler legend makes skiing honour roll

by

comment

McConkey among six skiers and one snowboarder to receive awards

Five skiers will be added to the Honour Roll of Canadian Skiing, and one skier and one snowboarder will be presented awards by the Canadian Ski Museum at their annual awards banquet on Nov. 17 at Camp Fortune, Quebec.

There are currently 128 names on the Roll, including Nancy Greene, Ken Read, Steve Podborski, and Lucile Wheeler.

Among those inductees is Jim McConkey, a Whistler legend who is known as the father of extreme skiing. Born and raised in Barrie, Ontario, McConkey got his first taste of big mountain skiing when he moved to Utah in the mid 1950s. Since he was only one of a handful of skiers who had mastered the art of powder skiing, he was instantly famous. He joined the ski school and spent the next 10 years of his life teaching people how to ski powder and big mountain terrain.

McConkey moved to Whistler in 1966, the year the mountain opened, after he was hired as the ski school director. For the next two decades he built an extraordinary reputation for technical skiing, and for the spirit and excitement he brought to the sport. He has since retired to the Gulf Islands, but still manages to hit the slopes once in a while.

Other prestigious additions to the Honour Roll include Myriam Bedard, Bill Keenan, Kate Pace-Lindsay, and Dorothy (Dee) Read.

From Quebec City, Bedard won two gold medals in the biathlon during the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway, was the overall World Champion in 1993, and was a two-time Canadian champion.

Keenan, a skier from Calgary, Alberta, was the 1983 World Moguls Champion, and retired with nine World Cup gold medals to his credit.

Pace-Lindsay of North Bay, Ontario, is one of Canada’s top female downhillers, and won the Downhill World Championship in 1993, just weeks after breaking her arm in a crash. She is a four-time Canadian champion, and won two World Cup gold medals.

Read, who hails from Calgary, was the 1948 Canadian Downhill and Combined Champion, a FIS Technical Delegate and a Canadian Ski Association representative.

In addition, snowboarder Jasey-Jay Anderson of Mont Tremblant, Quebec, will receive the 2001 John Semmelink Award for Canadian Skier of the Year. Anderson competes in all snowboard disciplines, but has made a name for himself internationally in alpine and snowboard cross events. Last year was a banner year for the 26 year old; he was the 2001 giant slalom world champion, the 2001 overall World Cup champion, and the 2001 snowboard cross champion.

John Paone, the president of the Canadian Freestyle Skiing Association, will receive the Patricia Ramage Volunteer of the Year award.

The Canadian Ski Museum, based in Ottawa, was established in 1971 and has amassed the largest Canadian public collection of skiing related artifacts and memorabilia, including more than 700 pairs of skis, 3,000 photographs, trophies and other artifacts.

Add a comment