Just about any Canadian, young or old, can sing along to a Blue Rodeo song. They're one of those iconic groups, ranking alongside hockey, maple syrup and Tim Horton's as things that are stereotypically Canadian.
Well, you can now raise their Canuck status another notch - one of their founding members, Greg Keelor, is a self-described former ski bum who lived in Lake Louise for two years and even visited Whistler back in its hippy heyday.
"I've been to Whistler many, many times," Keelor recalled during a recent interview. "My first time in Whistler was in like '75.
"When I first got to Whistler there was a Keg and Cleaver (the original Keg)... and I was there for about a couple of weeks skiing and you had to climb to do the back bowl - there were no lifts or anything, you had to actually climb up."
It appears that before founding Blue Rodeo back in 1984, Keelor was shreddin' the gnar, old-school style.
"I loved (skiing) then; its weird, now, for me," he said. "I was at Lake Louise in '74 and '75 and Lake Louise was such a little village - there was one little hotel and a gas station and that was it! And I worked at the Chateau Lake Louise and we lived in the hotel and there would be house counts of like 17, 35, and Christmas break there was like 110 people in the hotel. The world was our own."
During that time, he had a chance to spend some time right here in Whistler, long before the days of Intrawest and the Peak 2 Peak gondola.
"There was a bar that everyone hung out at and the Keg & Cleaver, and that was it, and it was fantastic! And now, it's like Yorkville in the mountains and I don't get it, myself. It's not my world - I don't need a Prada suit to go skiing. I come from the generation where you did a lot of mescaline and you went skiing. That was our world: getting high, hanging out, and skiing."
Keelor is preparing to return to Whistler, gracing the stage as final act of the Olympics on Feb. 28 at Village Square stage. They'll also be playing in Vancouver and Surrey during the Olympics. But this isn't their first experience with the Games - Blue Rodeo played the 1988 Calgary Olympics when the band was just four years old, performing as part of a gala show for the prime minister and dignitaries from around the world. The band also traveled to Sydney, Australia during the 2000 Olympics to perform in Canada House.
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