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Whistler's Roger McCarthy inducted into Laurentian Ski Museum Hall of Fame

Turning around Mont Tremblant in a few years stands out as defining moment


Roger McCarthy joins a long list of athletes, builders, organizations and journalists who've gained prominence in skiing after being inducted into the Laurentian Ski Museum's Hall of Fame.

McCarthy joins the likes of Nancy Greene-Raine, Jean-Luc Brassard and Alexandre Bilodeau — among others — and was recognized for a career that spans decades and marks numerous accomplishments.

"I'm thrilled," said McCarthy, who returned Tuesday, Oct. 25 after a weekend ceremony in St. Sauveur, Quebec.

McCarthy said he was humbled by the gesture but preferred to share his recognition among his colleagues at Mont Tremblant, where he worked from 1991 to 1998. "You might conduct the orchestra, but you don't make the music," he said.

McCarthy was instrumental in his role at Tremblant, which was nearly in bankruptcy protection when Intrawest bought it and pegged him to take on the challenge of turning around the resort in 1991.

"It had the reputation as the worst ski resort in North America," said McCarthy.

One of Whistler's founding fathers and the former senior vice president of Intrawest Mountain Resorts, Hugh Smythe — who goes way back with McCarthy — said his long-time friend built a great team at Tremblant, which went on to win industry awards in as few as four years later.

"That gives you a little bit of an idea of the turnaround," said Smythe. "He did a phenomenal job."

McCarthy, who runs a consulting business, agreed he is semi-retired, but still works on projects from time to time. He skis more than 60 days a year at Whistler, and in the U.S. and France, which is ahead of North America in automation.

Four or five years ago, McCarthy said he was in a resort near Grenoble, France, having a look at the snowmaking operation. In North America, McCarthy said the snowmaking building likely has several snowmobiles parked outside, and inside there's a lunch room, and probably a drying room for the crew's gear.

"I'm with these three French guys and they're all on skis. We go to the snowmaking building — there wasn't even a chair inside it. Never mind a lunch room. It's just compressors and pumps. One guy reaches into his backpack, pulls out a laptop and he hands it to the other guy — and that guy leaves and makes snow from home," McCarthy said.

"That's the kind of stuff we've got to look at," he said. "They're a lot more automated."