Ski clubs: a tradition for close to 100 years – Part 2

1975 Québec-Kandahar timing crew. ©Courtoisie

When Joe Ryan died in 1950, his wife Mary Ryan registered her own ski club. Because the competitions were being held on Mont Tremblant and the resort had access to a marketing organization, it was easy to contact the national and international ski clubs. Mrs. Ryan could thus take over the responsibility and backing for the competitions held on her property.

As every competition was sanctioned by the national alpine skiing organization, it was crucial to recruit high-level raccers. The publicity resulting from the participation of famous skiers confirmed the excellence of the facilities, attested to the level of difficulty of the runs, and ensured the resort’s international reputation.

In 1950, after the world championships in Aspen, Colorado, Mont-Tremblant Resort and the Mont-Tremblant Ski Club invited the French team to participate in the Québec Kandahar race. Mrs. Ryan sponsored the event and put the team up in the Devil’s River Lodge. I was six years old at the time and I witnessed the arrival of James Couttet, Henri Oreiller and their teammates. I met them at meals in the dining room and, like a little bird on a branch, listened to their conversations. I was a happy boy!

After the world championships at Badgastein in 1958, Chiharu Igaya, silver medallist at the 1956 Olympics and bronze medallist in slalom at Badgastein; and Guy Périllat, bronze medallist in downhill at Squaw Valley; came to take part in the Québec Kandahar race.

Other great names later participated in it: Nancy Green (gold medallist in giant slalom and silver in slalom at Grenoble in 1968), Betsy Clifford (gold medallist in giant slalom at Val Gardena in 1970 and bronze medallist in downhill in the world championships at Saint-Moritz in 1974) and Kathy Kreiner (gold medallist in giant slalom at the Innsbruck Games in 1976).

Robert & Jako Graton, 1958. ©Courtoisie

Over the years, Mont-Tremblant Resort underwent huge changes. The evolutions brought with them a boost of energy thanks to new competitors who restructured the Club de ski Mont-Tremblant.

On June 6, 1987, the club was registered in the form in which we know it today. Eddy Butler, Claude Girard and Neil Vinet (director of the Mont-Tremblant Ski Club) were the instigators.

From then on, the parents became members of the club and participated in the organization of races and social events. This created a sense of belonging. What’s more, the number of competitors doubled.

The club then regained its place of honour in the Laurentian Division. And when Daniele Balit was club president, it finally got a place of its own on the mountain.

In my opinion, the primary mission of a ski club is to develop a pool of young skiers and provide an opportunity for them to develop within a framework of recreational training.

The club must ensure that it’s a healthy environment sustained by respect, integrity and diversity. The relationship between the club and the resort must be cordial as regards the training sites, race organization and events.

Since the club’s rebirth, several new programs have been instigated to respond to structural changes in the Laurentian Division. It’s quite usual to see the Tremblant skiers among the medallists on a regular basis at all levels. From the Club de ski Saint-Jovite in 1930 to the current generation by way of the Mont-Tremblant version under the Ryans, the ski club has always demonstrated competence and professionalism.

As the author of this text and a former member of the Club de ski Mont-Tremblant, I am impressed by the devotion of the club organizers.I admire their tenacity and their application in promoting alpine skiing, which is an extremely formative family sport. Whether as salaried employees or as volunteers, so many people have contributed to the club’s excellence over the years that I cannot, unfortunately, name them all, for which I apologize.

I would like to thank them all most warmly, however, for having given so freely of themselves.

 

By the same author: Ski clubs: a tradition for close to 100 years (Click the image below)

 

 

Peter Duncan54 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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