From the Vault: Celebrating 75 Years of Blue Mountain Resort – Part 7

After 14 years of publishing Mountain Life in Ontario, we finally gained access to The Vault—Blue Mountain Resort’s historical archive stretching back to 1941, the year Jozo Weider founded the resort. For this 75th anniversary issue tribute we’ve searched through many boxes of unseen material and conducted interviews with BMR insiders.

We’ve selected these 75 images and anecdotes—in no particular order—that commemorate life at Blue since that long-ago first winter season of ‘41/’42. We hope you find them every bit as enlightening as we did.

 

Courtesy of BMR

 

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61. RACER ON POMA
Just thinking about riding that cold Poma in those racing tights makes us wish we’d left this shot in the Vault.

 

Courtesy of BMR

62. ONTARIO’S FIRST CHAIRLIFT
South Chair opened in 1960. The expanse of fields stretching out from the parking lot is a reminder of the scale of the development in the decades since this photo.

 

Courtesy of BMR

63. GORD’S GROOVE
Gord Canning served as BMR President and Chairman for many years. From the ’70s to the 2000s, he grew the Resort immeasurably; TD Bank Vice Chairman Urban Joseph called Canning “a builder of people and ideas.” Gord’s Groove trail in The Orchard is named for him.

 

 

 

64. BIG AIR, NO HELMET
Safety equipment has made big strides since the 1970s, alongside the evolution of terrain and features.

 

Courtesy of BMR

 

65. RINUS RUN
Rinus van der Vecht was a lift operator who, at 23, tragically perished in a farmhouse fire in 1973. The trail, between L-Hill and Memory Lane, was dedicated to his memory.

 

Photo: Glen Harris

66. BEST-DRESSED POLKA APRÈS
Polka Time breaks bad. Walter Ostanek would not approve of those leather shorts.

 

Courtesy of BMR

67. COLLINGWOOD SKI CLUB
Another of the original two clubs that predated BMR, CSC was incorporated in 1940. The club has always been family-focused and includes residents of the Town of the Blue Mountains, Collingwood, Clearview, and Wasaga Beach. Its classic A-frame lodge is entirely volunteer-operated, a crown jewel of camaraderie where members shovel the walkways and run the cafeteria.

 

Courtesy of CSC

68. EVAN MCEACHRAN
Oakville-born McEachran is a young Freestyle skier and Blue Mountain Pro Team member with competition chops to spare. While still in high school the phenom took first at Whistler’s AFP Championships Slopestyle and Blue’s SnowCrown Slopestyle, both in 2014, and first at the Canadian Open Freestyle event the year before. Currently he is the 2nd youngest grom on the X-Games roster.

 

Photo: Colin Field

69. SKI SCHOOL TRICKSTER
Back in the day, it was no big deal to pull a move like this. Especially for a Blue Ski School instructor. Though we’re not sure what his move is…

 

Courtesy of BMR

70. JESSE FULTON
A legend in Canadian snowboarding, Jesse Fulton grew up shredding Blue and began his pro career at 13, achieving 35 podiums by the age of 26. He later founded mentoring program Shreducation, and in 2010 coached the Canadian Olympic snowboarding team. He operates 365 Sports, a marketing and event management company.

 

Courtesy of Sony Snow Crown

71. ROBERT KEMP
In the late ’50s, commercial illustrator Kemp built a studio for his paintings and drawings, part of a loose artistic collective of rough chalets known as Shacktown, at Blue’s north end. In the 1960s, Kemp designed a fold-out map of the Mountain. Kemp’s paintings of the region are today highly prized.

 

Courtesy of Barb Kemp

72. BULL WHEEL
The first conveyance at Blue was a sleigh tow called Red Devil. Rope tows served throughout the 1940s and ‘50s, while the North Pomalift appeared in 1955. T-Bars pulled two at a time from the ’50s to the ‘90s. The first chairlift, South Chair, appeared in 1960. Pictured, the bull wheel for the O-Hill chair, circa 1969. The Inn Triple Chair launched in ’75. The first high-speed quad chair replaced the old Tranquillity double for the ’89-’90 season. The first high-speed 6-person chair, the Weider Express, launched in January 1997.

 

Courtesy of BMR

73. JOZO’S DAUGHTERS
Pictured here during the opening of South Chair in 1960, Katherine (left) and Anna Weider were Jozoand Helena Weider’s twin daughters born while the family was living in a cabin next to the original Blue Mountain Lodge at the resort’s north end. Anna won the Canadian Junior Downhill in 1960. Katherine won several racing titles in Quebec and France while at McGill and Grenoble universities. Their older sister Helen also won several Canadian Alpine Junior Championships.

 

Courtesy of BMR

74. KELLIE CASEY
Casey grew up skiing at Blue and the Toronto Ski Club. In 1985, she made the Canadian National Ski Team and began competing World Cup circuit and was ranked 4th nationally in downhill. In 1986 she won the Nor-Am International. In ’87, she captured 1st seed in the World Cup downhill but sustained a serious knee injury in the ’88 Calgary Olympics. She continued to race in the World Cup for several years before retiring from competition to study veterinary medicine.

 

Courtesy of TSC

75. SKI TRAIN
The train from Toronto to Craigleith evolved in lockstep with Blue’s evolution; the first “Ski Train” ran during the ’41/’42 season, the Resort’s first year of operation. Return train fair was $1.95. The Ski Train ran intermittantly through the 1940s, though interrupted when the Second World War meant priority for war-related supply transport. A horsedrawn sleigh, and after the war an army surplus truck, met disembarking skiers to transport them (cost: 25 cents) to the original lodge at the resort’s north end. Regular train service from Toronto to Craigleith continued until 1960.

 

Courtesy of BMR

 

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After 14 years of publishing Mountain Life in Ontario, we finally gained access to The Vault—Blue Mountain Resort’s historical archive stretching back to 1941, the year Jozo Weider founded the resort. For this 75th anniversary issue tribute we’ve searched through many boxes of unseen material and conducted interviews with BMR insiders. We’ve selected these 75 images and anecdotes—in no particular order—that commemorate life at Blue since that long-ago first winter season of ‘41/’42… Read more

 

 

FROM THE VAULT: CELEBRATING 75 YEARS OF BLUE MOUNTAIN RESORT—PART 5
After 14 years of publishing Mountain Life in Ontario, we finally gained access to The Vault—Blue Mountain Resort’s historical archive stretching back to 1941, the year Jozo Weider founded the resort. For this 75th anniversary issue tribute we’ve searched through many boxes of unseen material and conducted interviews with BMR insiders. We’ve selected these 75 images and anecdotes—in no particular order—that commemorate life at Blue since that long-ago first winter season of ‘41/’42… Read more

 

 

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