Bob Gilmour, « fou du ski »

Steve, Rodney & Bob Gilmour ©Courtoisie

Bob Gilmour, crazy about skiing

Bob Gilmour was born on January 1, 1935, in Rosemere, Québec. His parents, Kenneth and Elsie, owned a dairy farm where they produced buttermilk. Their property was located at the ninth hole of the Rosemere golf course by Hwy 117. The family had no tradition of sports: the children went to school and helped their parents.

Kenneth discovered skiing and decided that the whole family would practise this sport. He installed a rope tow on a small hill on the family land and that’s where Bob first skied at the age of three.

While the “train du nord” was already taking skiers to the Laurentians, it was rare to see whole families head for the slopes by car. And yet that’s what Kenneth did with his children on winter weekends. They went to the Lower Lawrentians, skiing in the Saint-Sauveur valley where Mont-Habitant and Avila later appeared.

Accompanied by his youngest brother Gerry, Bob sought out steeper and steeper slopes to make his turns on. In 1946, 11-year-old Bob registered for a first race on Mont Royal. It was an open class race for juniors 17 and under and for seniors 18 and over.

The founder and owner of the famous Beauty’s restaurant in Montreal, Hymie Sckolnick, told me that the several times this race was run in the early ‘40s, skiers would lean their skis aginst the restaurant’s outside walls at the corner of Saint-Urbain and Mont-Royal. At the time, they could slide all the way there without worrying about traffic.

Bob Gilmour, Québec Kandahar 1956. ©Courtoisie

The career of Bob Gilmour the competitor lasted about 10 years. His first victory was in the Québec provincial championship in winter ’52-’53. That same season, he won a gold medal in the combined at the Canadian Junior Championship. In 1955 he came third in the combined of the Québec Kandahar race.

In 1956 he climbed to the top step of the podium for the Québec Kandahar and in 1959, he won the slalom and downhill at the Canadian championships. In fall 1959, he was invited to Western Canada for the selection of team members to represent Canada at the Squaw Valley Olympic Games of 1960. Unfortunately, he had to be content with a substitute role with the Olympic team.

In 1960-61, he competed on the European circuit as a member of the national ski team. In addition to being a competitor, he was also manager in charge of the national ski team’s operations. Bob was a hard worker and never counted his hours.

That was the winter I joined the team. My mother, who knew Bob, made him responsible for watching out for me as I was only 16 years old. At the time, our nine-year age difference made him an adult that she trusted.

After all, Bob and his wife Gloria already had a son. I remember Bob carrying little Steve on his back in a bag – the kind you use for camping – when Bob was checking the course for the Québec Kandahar downhill in 1960. He won that race, beating the great Austrian champion Christian Pravda.

Following his career as an active competitor, Bob worked in the ski industry. He was a representative and general manager for Harvey Dodds from 1962 till 1981. From 1981 to 1993, he was the founder-owner of Gilmour Sports, where he imported and distributed ski equipment. He also kept track of the management of the Association de l’industrie du ski.

For Bob, known to be a hard worker, managing a company was no reason to hang up his skis. He was a coach for the Mont Tremblant Ski Club and then an instructor at the Mont Tremblant Ski School where, in winter 1994-1995, he was chosen instructor of the year. In fact, even after retirement, he carried on with his career as an instructor for many years. He was a patient, gentle man, and his clients appreciated his teaching technique.

Love of skiing is in the Gilmour genes. Bob’s children Steve, Rodney and Brenda all made careers as skiers. There was even a time when Bob and his three children were all involved in Mont Tremblant Ski Resort.

Bob lives very close to the trails. The fact that he can’t hurtle down the slopes any more doesn’t stop him from appreciating the special, enthralling surroundings of our beautiful Mont Tremblant.

 

More from this author by clicking on his photo below.

Peter Duncan

 

Peter Duncan80 Posts

Membre de l’équipe canadienne de ski alpin de 1960 à 1971, skieur professionnel de 1971 à 1979 et champion américain en 1965, Peter Duncan a participé aux Jeux olympiques de 1964 à Innsbruck ainsi qu’à ceux de 1968 à Grenoble. Intronisé au Temple de la renommée du ski au Canada, au Panthéon des sports du Québec et récipiendaire de la médaille du gouverneur général, Peter a longtemps été commentateur de ski à la télévision./ Peter Duncan is a Canadian former alpine skier who competed in the 1964 and the 1968 Winter Olympics. He was named to the Canadian National Alpine Team in 1960 at the age of 16 and competed at the national level for the next 10-years until 1970 before retiring.

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