From the Vault: Celebrating 75 Years of Blue Mountain Resort — Part 6

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.

 

Glen Harris photo

51. TRANQUILITY
On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong stepped onto the Sea of Tranquility, a site known as Tranquility Base, where human beings first landed on the Moon during Apollo 11. Armstrong named the site just 18 seconds after touching down, announcing to the world, “Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed.” Back on earth, Blue Mountain’s Tranquility, christened not long after the Moon landing, is a choice trail for powder days with some cold moondust of its own.

 

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Andrea Hamlin photo courtesy of BMR

52. CORDOROY CAPTAINS
Blue’s grooming staff work mostly in the dead of night. “I feel like a lot of people have no idea what goes on here at night,” says nightshift park groomer Tyler. “I spend all night in the park. Eight, ten, twelve hours, just grooming and building. I push a lot of snow. I don’t do much tiller work until morning.” The tiller, mounted on the rear of the cat, breaks up hard snow and ice and mixes old and new snow. Then it presses those telltale corduroy patterns.

 

Photo courtesy of BMR

53. HELENA WEIDER
Helen (Helena) Weider was born near Prague, Czechoslovakia in 1908. She assisted her husband Jozo at his lodge in the Slovak mountains and then immigrated with Jozo and infant George to Canada in 1938. She wrote three books and was almost 102 years old when she died in 2008. This undated photo may predate the couple’s arrival in Canada.

 

Canadian Press photo

54. TODD BROOKER
The World Cup champion downhiller grew up at Blue under the tutelage of Ernie McCulloch, Blue’s ski school supremo, and Austrian-born coach Rudy Hiegelsberger at the Toronto Ski Club. Here, Brooker is on the road to recovery after his near-fatal crash at Kitzbuehel, Austria in 1987.

 

Photo courtesy of BMR

55. NIGHT SHIFT
Rob Sheridan has been working at Blue since 1977, two years before the launch of night skiing at the resort, initially on O-Hill and Big Baby. “I worked night skiing in ’82 and it wasn’t anything big,” says Sheridan. “It just wasn’t attractive. It was the long, cold rides up—a 12, 15-minute ride up. Night skiing only started growing in the late 1980s and early 1990s once we started running high-speed quad lifts and could offer shorter rides. Since then we’ve been constantly expanding.” We don’t have a date on this archive photo but it looks to be in the first decade of night skiing at Blue.

 

Photo Erika Langman courtesy of BMR

56. THE POND SKIM
Skiers and boarders throw an end-of-winter hurrah by attempting to skim across a large pool or trough of water at the base of the hill. Quite often, they fail spectacularly. And that is the point. Recent events, known as the Spring Meltdown or Retro Pond Skim, have helped raise funds for the Collingwood General & Marine Hospital.

 

Photo courtesy of BMR

57. ORIGINAL SKI SHOP
In the early 1950s Jozo Weider converted a sheep barn into a ski shop. Jozo’s wife Helena ran the shop and sold her own “Weidermade” sweaters and mitts. In the fall the building served as a storehouse for the apples picked from the orchard where Apple Bowl trail is today.

 

Photo courtesy of BMR

58. MOGULS
From the Austro-Bavarian dialect word mugel, meaning “small hill”. Testing quadriceps on Mogul Alley, 1980s.

 

Photo courtesy of BMR

59. ONE-PIECE SUIT
Does this photo need more mauve, or more mousse? BMR

 

Nelson Phillips photo

60. HOG’S BACK
With its distinctly porcine curvature, this north end C-shaped trail is named after—you guessed it—the spine of a hog. Or maybe its name speaks to the squeals of glee emitted along the way.

 

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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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