North Shore Skiing Heritage

On Tuesday night, I attended the monthly meeting of the Vancouver Section of the Alpine Club of Canada. The guest speaker was a fellow named Don Grant of the Hollyburn Heritage Society, whose members have been working tirelessly to document the history of skiing on Vancouver’s North Shore. And… what a history it was. Though Grant’s narrated history could have used the ‘voices’ of some old timers spliced in for added interest, it is really something to think that ski jumping attracted crowds of over 4,000 people on Hollyburn Mountain – in the days before the Lion’s Gate bridge, when you had to take a ferry, streetcar, and then walk for hours just to get to the BASE of the hill. (And… of course there were no lifts. A fellow I went with observed that “the trees sure look a lot shorter back then…’ testament to the amount of precip Hollyburn/Cypress annually receives. I hope to explore this topic more in the future – like, this history goes back to the 1920s! – there were actually some outstanding action shots that would make great prints.

Apparently, the 2010 Winter Games was the impetus for putting this presentation together, commemorating the early ‘heroes’ of skiing on the North Shore. Alas, VANOC wasn’t really interested in it… though hopefully Don and his presentation will receive a wider audience in the years to come. It would really help to have some audio interviews with even sons of some of these pioneers, most of whom have passed away.

It was interesting to note the presence of Jordan Manley, easily the most creative photographer working in snowsports right now. His family has deep roots skiing at Mount Seymour; indeed, some of his earliest published photos were from there.

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