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Museum Musings: Skiing with Al Raine

Catch Raine in discussion with Drew Meredith on June 12

In 1971, the alpine program director of the Canadian National Ski Team penned an instructional book for skiers, from beginners to experts. The book was titled Skiing with Al Raine, and was written, as you might have guessed, by Al Raine. It was a continuation of the nationally syndicated newspaper column, “SKIING with Al Raine,” which he began writing in 1969 and, like the other instructional skiing books found in the Whistler Museum’s resource library, was a guide for those looking to improve their skiing long before the internet made such information so easily accessible.

Similar to both Ski with Toni Sailer from 1964 and Greg Athan’s Ski Free from 1978, Skiing with Al Raine offers skiers information about choosing ski equipment, how to prepare the body for skiing, and different techniques for turns and manoeuvres, while also encouraging more formal instruction with a ski instructor. In the introduction, Raine acknowledges there have already been multiple books written about ski technique, but claims most do not emphasize one of the most important parts of learning to ski: “developing your own style.” He also makes a point of knowing when to stop skiing, skipping a run when you are tired, and the importance of taking a hot chocolate or coffee break.

Written specifically for the Canadian skier, Skiing with Al Raine also includes brief descriptions of the different ski areas across the country. Of the Whistler ski area of 1971, it says “Whistler Mountain is certainly renowned for its Olympic bid, summer skiing potential, tremendous scenery and the honeymoon of Pierre Elliot Trudeau,” and that “each year skiing and skier atmosphere improves greatly.”

Raine and his wife Nancy Greene (1968 Olympic medallist and Canada’s Female Athlete of the 20th Century) moved to the Whistler area in 1973. Raine then became the Ski Area Coordinator for British Columbia, and when the Resort Municipality of Whistler was formed in 1975 was appointed to Whistler’s first council, a position he held until 1982.

The Whistler Museum will be joined by Raine and Drew Meredith (Whistler’s mayor from 1986 to 1990, realtor, and supposed lottery winner of 1982) to discuss not skiing but the origins and early years of the Whistler Resort Association (WRA) on Wednesday, June 12 for our next Speaker Series. The WRA, better known today as Tourism Whistler, began as an amendment to the Resort Municipality of Whistler Act in 1979, a time when major change was happening in the Whistler area. We’re looking forward to learning more about its history and a time when Whistler’s future was, to many, anything but clear.

And on Saturday, June 15, the Whistler Museum will talk skiing with Jim McConkey, who instructed countless people to ski through both the written word and as the director of the Whistler Mountain Ski School. This will be the second screening of 16mm films from the Whistler Museum’s archival collections, which have recently been digitized on new equipment thanks to the Whistler Blackcomb Foundation.

You can find out more about both events at