Louis Joncas inducted to Ski Instructors Hall 

At 51, Local the youngest to be enshrined

click to enlarge PHOTO SUBMITTED - Kid in the hall Louis Joncas is the youngest to be inducted into the Ski Instructors Hall of Fame.
  • Photo submitted
  • Kid in the hall Louis Joncas is the youngest to be inducted into the Ski Instructors Hall of Fame.

Louis Joncas hit many milestones early in his career.

He became a Canadian Ski Instructors Association (CSIA) board member at 26, treasurer at 27 and president at 31.

And Joncas was recently inducted into the CSIA Hall of Fame for his dedication to the group.

"It's a huge deal. There are less than 40 of us in the country, so it's a big recognition. I'm flattered, blown away, happy," he said. "It's been fun to walk around town and run into people that have heard (the news)."

Joncas received word of his induction back in September, but officially was enshrined at the CSIA members' convention at Mont Tremblant, Que. earlier this month. He was also recognized at the course conductor's seminar here in Whistler.

"Those were the two groups I was involved with over the years," he said. "In some cases, I ran into people I hadn't seen in 10 or 15 years.

"It was a lot of fun."

Though he was initially elected as a Quebec representative, Joncas ensured he brought a national approach to the CSIA by instructing at a number of resorts in his career.

"There's always been a bit of competition or a difference of approach in the east, which was more dogmatic, (with) exercises at the side of the hill, approach (and) more of a discover the feeling — guided discovery was... in the west," he said. "It was a mellower approach, a little more laid-back, a little less dogmatic.

"The two sides always thought they were better than the other and they got into minor conflicts because of that. I was able to bridge those conflicts over the years because every second year, I'd come and teach in the west and the other year was in Tremblant."

The message Joncas sought to preach was based more on people's commonalities and not their differences.

"We're all the same. We're all people that love mountains and love skiing, teaching and bringing the sport to others," he said. "When you look at it that way, the conflicts are pretty minor and the passion for the sport is what brings us all together."

Joncas was somewhat of a protégé in the ski instructor world, as he earned the chance to run Mont Tremblant's weekend ski school, overseeing 120 employees at just 19, while he also helped negotiate a profit-sharing agreement for ski-school employees that is still in place today.

"I was managing a lot of people at a very young age and it was a real eye-opener that took me through everything I did in life, basically," he said.

Another accomplishment he fondly remembers was bringing the instructors and ski-area industry closer together so that they understood one another's needs.

"We now certify instructors that are much more valuable to the needs of the ski industry," he said.

Now settled in Whistler with his wife Laura and their children, Joncas is working with both Club Linc and the Senior Ski Team to keep active in the sport.

"The mountains, the weather and the town are all fantastic. We've been trying to move here for 20 years. It took 20 years to be able to afford it and we finally made it happen three years ago," he said. "(I just want to) enjoy and share the pleasure of the mountains. It's a great resort and to bring people to enjoy all that this mountain has to offer, it's as much as I can hope for," he said.

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