Dave Murray ski camps turn 25 

April camp to commemorate life and vision of Crazy Canuck`

p class=Style1>Back in 1982, the year after he stepped back from the World Cup circuit, Whistler’s Dave Murray established a series of winter ski camps to share the joy of ski racing with the public. The camps evolved, focusing less on racing and more on fun and fundamentals, until Murray succumbed to cancer in 1990.

The camp’s instructors, all friends of Dave Murray, have kept the program alive for the 18 years since Murray’s death as a tribute to the legendary downhiller, and because of the atmosphere that surrounds the camps.

“It was always about fun,” said Tom Prochazka, who used to race with Murray and has been coaching the camps for the past 20 years. “When (Murray) finished ski racing he wanted to bring the thrill of racing to the masses, and he was a hero in the valley. When the World Cup races were on, every TV at Dusty’s was showing it, and everybody was there watching him. He wanted to bring that feeling back from the World Cup to everybody, and started a race camp.

“It progressed to an all-mountain camp when the racing scene wasn’t as popular. Murray’s motto was that anyone can take up skiing at any time, and that everybody can progress their skiing, and keep skiing their whole lives.”

The Dave Murray Ski Camps are the longest running camps in North America, and run in three-day slots from Monday to Wednesday, from December to April every season.

Mostly through word of mouth, the camps have attracted a strong local following as well as a solid international reputation. The same people come back year after year, and in some cases week after week.

“What’s been really interesting is our international clientele,” said Prochazka. “We get people from England who come and spend the entire winter, and do all of the camps, and people that come here from around the world specifically to do the camps.”

Part of the reason is that the camps work, whether clients are intermediates or experts. Everybody learns on a wide range of terrain, and everybody improves.

However, Prochazka thinks the main reason for the camps’ popularity is the fun factor.

“Most of the core coaches with the program have been doing this for more than 10 years, and we have instructors that have been doing it for 20 years. People come back because they know what they’re going to get, how they’re going to be treated, and because they know they’ll have fun.”

The anniversary camp runs April 7-9. There will be on-hill refreshments and a party on the Tuesday catered by Riverside Junction Café, and an après party and dinner on Wednesday at Dusty’s with music by the Hairfarmers. All campers are invited to the party, and guests can come to the dinner for $25.

All members of the public and former campers are welcome to come to Dusty’s as well to celebrate the 25 th anniversary of the Dave Murray camps.


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