Weasel Workers bridge three generations 

Bunny, Rick, Jeff and Scott Hume all working on women’s Olympic downhill

Jeff Hume knows his family is not ordinary.

Not only do three generations of Humes come together at least once a week for family dinners, but this Olympics, four family members will be working with the Weasel Workers on the women's downhill racecourse.

Jeff's grandmother Bunny will be handing out and collecting race bibs, his father Rick is the chief of course, and he and his brother Scott will be on the dye crew. His mother Lynne will also be working for the Weasel Workers during the Paralympics.

"I don't know how emotional I am," said Jeff frankly about the opportunity to work with his family during the Winter Olympics. "It's funny, we probably see each other two or three time a week, although my brother has been away a while. My grandmother will come over for dinner or we will run into each other on the hill. Sometimes I forget that that isn't normal."

The Hume family first got involved with the Weasel Workers when Bunny and her husband Dick joined in the early 1980s. As Bunny tells it, they loved ski racing and they were spurred to join Whistler's group of alpine ski race volunteers when their grandsons - Jeff and Scott - joined the ski racing team in Smithers, B.C.

Over the next 30 years Bunny and Dick did everything - from working the rakes, to being gate judges, to doing course control. Bunny even earned the name "beer bitch" for her work in the Weasel Worker's tent, she recounted with a laugh.

"My husband was definitely looking forward to it," Bunny added sentimentally about the Olympics. "He passed away, it'll be four years on the 11 th of this month. We had both been really looking forward to it."

Rick Hume joined his parents on the Weasel Workers in 1993, when his family moved from Smithers to Whistler.

According to Jeff, although his dad is the chief of course today, his first job was on the dye crew when the Weasel Workers first started using it.

"It was a mess because the packs they used, they weren't meant for it," said Jeff.

"The dye would freeze up and it used to be done by a pump. Now it is battery powered. It used to leak all over the place. They used to call them Smurfs because they got more dye on themselves then on the course. The equipment is evolving. Now, the dye goes on the snow and you remain fairly dry. I am glad those guys went and had the worst of it."

While Bunny, Dick, Rick and Rick's wife, Lynne, were working as Weasel Workers, both Jeff and Scott were ski racing.

Jeff raced on the national ski team for many years, and Scott went to the University of Nevada on a ski scholarship. He currently works as a ski coach for the university race team.

When the Olympics were first announced, no one in the family planned for all three generations to work together.

"It's pretty cool," said Rick about how things worked out. "I am not only going to be proud to be hosting the world and hopefully pulling off some successful Games here, but I am also very proud to have three generations on the hill at the same time for the event."

Bunny echoed that sentiment.

"To me, it is an honour with the three generations working together, it really is," said Bunny. "I'm very proud of the boys and what they have accomplished, and I am very proud of my son. I just wish their father and grandfather was here, because he was a dedicated Weasel Worker."

Meanwhile Jeff joked that he hopes his dad doesn't boss him around too much - since he will only be a lowly dye guy.

"He is my boss," he laughed.

And there is a particular moment that sticks out in Jeff's mind to describe his family's intertwined involvement with Whistler, the Weasel Workers and the world of ski racing, Jeff added.

"As soon as you called, I thought about how we were at the Whistler Brewing Company, after they had shut down Dusty's, and all the Weasel Workers were there because they needed somewhere to hang out," he said.

"I was sitting, leaning, over the bar, trying to get a beer from the bartender, and trying to get his attention. Suddenly, I look over to my right and I see my dad and grandma there, both doing the same thing on their own, leaning over the bar and trying to get the bartenders attention.

"We were the only ones there doing that. That was one of those moments where I went, 'This is not normal.'"




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