There have been a few Pique stories and letters recently that have mentioned Revelstoke, and pointed out some of the connections that may be of interest to Whistlerites as we head for 2010. I was saddened to learn that there may be no legacy for Nordic events after the Winter Olympic Games. B.C. has a long history of cross-country skiing and ski jumping that we should be keen to continue. Revelstoke had, at one point, the premier jumping hill in North America. The letter from Iola Knight mentions the 1920s, but Nils Nilsen started jumping on small hills he built in Revelstoke as far back as 1915, and her note brought back memories of foot-packing the Òbig hillÓ when I was a kid. She also mentions NilsÕs 1925 world record jump of 240 feet. Not much by modern standards, but it put Revelstoke, B.C., and Canada in front of the world. Although Nils was selected as a competitor for the 1928 Olympics in St. Moritz, there was no funding for travel, and it was not considered ÒbefittingÓ for athletes to Òwork their passage.Ó This must be the same Canadian ski jumping program that Andrew Mitchell mentions in his story. I guess things don't change much. Nils' brother Ivind was also a world junior ski jumping champion, and his widow Thelma (my Godmother) still lives in Revelstoke.
In the 1940s and 1950s when Whistler was not yet a gleam in Don MacLaurinÕs eye, there was some serious skiing going on in Revelstoke. Both Iola Knight and Gerrry Reynolds mention the big downhills of the time, and skiers who later contributed much to the development of skiing in Vancouver and Whistler, including Earl Pletsch who was a ski buddy of my dadÕs back in Revelstoke.
Andrew had another recent story about a Revelstoke lad winning the Randonnee Rally event in Whistler. Well I guess! A 10 km race must be easy for someone with a Revelstoke heritage, although IÕll admit I probably could not make 1 km.
I have a newspaper cutting; I believe from 1939, showing three Revelstoke skiers, Bill and Donny McCrae and Jim McDonald, who had just completed a two-day trek to Jasper as part of a 500 mile loop trip to Banff.
In wool shirts.
With really long, heavy wooden skis.
Ah, those were the days — when men were men, women wore ski parkas trimmed with bunny fur, and there was not a snowboard in sight.
Michael Barrett Whistler
The CSP (Whistler 2020) is an excellent document that will guide us into the future. Issues that will continue to face us can be addressed and community decisions can be made using the guidelines and principles of the CSP. That doesnÕt mean there wonÕt be challenges balancing the three legs of environmental, social and economic sustainability.
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