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Whistler Weasel worker dies at base of mountain

Patriarch kept Hume family together through love of skiing



Whistler Weasel Worker Dick Hume was testing out his brand new Atomic Metron B5’s Saturday on the mountain he had skied on for 40 years.

It was a beautiful bluebird day – the kind of day that makes you feel blessed to be living in Whistler.

A usual warm-up lap of the green chair was followed by a run from Peak to Creek. After heading back up to the top, Hume, his youngest son Glen and his daughter-in-law Karen skied back to the bottom on the fresh corduroy.

Just after he took off his new skis at the base of Whistler Mountain, Hume collapsed and died there of a massive heart attack. He was just 72 years old and ready to ski those Atomics for years to come.

As difficult as it is to lose his father, his oldest son and fellow Weasel Worker Rick Hume said it was fitting he died the way he did on a mountain that captured his imagination from the moment he laid eyes on it in 1965.

"It makes it easier," said Rick from his home this week. "He was doing what he loved, that’s what he was doing when he went."

Richard ‘Dick’ Hume was born in Calgary in 1933. He moved to Vancouver when he was nine years old. In high school he met and fell in love with ‘Bunny’ (Lorraine). The high school sweethearts were married shortly after and remained married for more than 53 years.

Hume was a successful businessman in North Vancouver, working in real estate with his younger brother. But when he wasn’t at work he was reveling in the outdoors, be it on the boat with his family exploring every nook and cranny between Vancouver and Campbell River, learning to ski on Grouse Mountain, or windsurfing in Squamish.

In 1965 Hume made his first three-hour trip to Whistler to see for himself the mountain everyone was talking about.

From that moment on he was hooked – by 1967 the Humes were coming to Whistler on a regular basis where they reveled in their passion for skiing.

Rick Hume believes this love of skiing helped keep this tight-knit family together.

"Skiing is a total family sport," he said. "You all drive to the hill together, you put your skis on and you go up together and you come home together," he said.

"I guess that’s what made us such a close family as well."

The love of skiing was passed on from father to son and then to the grandsons. Rick’s sons, Jeff and Scott, both raced competitively. Jeff was ranked 36 th in the world in downhill last season, but announced at Christmas that he was retiring from the national team after almost nine seasons. Scott is at university in Nevada on a four-year ski scholarship.

The family is also active volunteering with the Whistler Weasel Workers – the group that helps build and manage ski racecourses.

As a Weasel Worker Hume Senior was a jack-of-all-trades.

He was a gatekeeper, did course control and he was also the kind of guy who would step up to the plate and do anything that was asked of him, said fellow Weasel Worker Owen Carney.

"He was willing to do whatever was asked of him," he said.

Weasel Workers are planning to attend Hume’s funeral Friday at the Lynn Valley United Church dressed in their weasel vests.

When asked why Carney said: "Because he was a friend of all of ours."

In addition to his Whistler family, Hume has a son who lives in Surrey with his family and a daughter who lives in Calgary with her family.

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