Tag Archives: Johnny “Foon” Chilton

Blending Old With New, part 2 – A Virtual Tour of the First Ascent of Mount James Turner

This week we resume our virtual recreation of Neal Carter & Charles Townsend’s 1923 exploratory mountaineering expedition. This video, the second of three, depicts the first ascent of Mount James Turner. (Check last week’s clip here).

Though lower and less well-known than its neighbour Wedge Mountain, Mount James Turner is still a formidable peak, revered for its remoteness and technical challenges by hardcore climbers and ski-mountaineers. For a more recent episode of James Turner lore, check this account of the mountain’s first ski descent by local ski builder and steep-ski pioneer Johnny “Foon” Chilton. Note that Foon and friends skied Turner’s massive north face, while Carter and Townsend approached from the south.

Our story will conclude next week as Carter and Townsend head up the Fitzsimmons Creek Valley to spend a week based out of a now-gone prospector’s cabin in Singing Pass. Watch for some striking photos from the undeveloped summit of Whistler Mountain, and their gripping attempt on the aptly named Mount Diavolo.

November Speaker Series: Johnny “Foon” Chilton and “The Energy of the Mountains”


  • When: Wednesday, November 16th, 7pm-9pm, doors at 6:15pm
  • Where: Whistler Museum, 4333 Main Street
  • Who: 19+
  • Cost: $7 regular price; $5 for Museum members; purchase a Museum membership for $25 and we will include a ticket.

While there are dozens of different reasons why people love the mountains, for the most part they boil down to one thing: energy. Whether it’s the raw, encompassing power of mountain environments, the vitality one feels when immersed in the alpine, or even the myriad spiritual associations that have been made with these sublime landscapes, the mountains’ unique  energy is undeniable.

It’s also infectious, a fact made apparent when you speak to Johnny “Foon” Chilton. This November 16th the prolific Pemberton-based ski-mountaineer will be sharing his passion for the mountains at the Whistler Museum as part of our monthly Speaker Series.

Johnny at Mount Fee, mid-nineties.

Skiing professionally for nearly two decades Chilton has racked up dozens of first descents throughout B.C.’s Coast Mountains. Two years ago Chilton embarked upon his latest mountain adventure, one that sees him on the opposite end of the ski-industry spectrum.

A cabinet-maker by trade, Chilton began handcrafting skis designed specifically for the Coast Mountains’ legendary terrain, as well as the discerning tastes of their hard-charging skiers. What’s more, all the wood in Foon’s skis comes from trees grown right here in the Coast Mountains.

The end product is an extension of Johnny’s conviction that when it comes to ski design, soul is just as crucial as sidecut, Here’s his take on the inspiration for Foon Skis’ compelling life-cycle:

The mountains are alive; alive as a greater organism.  We, like the trees and animals that live on the mountains, are a part of THEM. Not the other way around. And as such I have been inspired to make skis that are part of the mountains, made from the trees of B.C.’s Coast mountains with the hands and the energy of a man from B.C.’s Coast mountains.

Drawing from his first-hand knowledge of the history of coastal ski mountaineering, Chilton’s aim for the talk is to inspire and share what the mountains mean to him. Expect a presentation full of drama, passion, and amazing photos, and expect to leave energized for another winter of mountain adventure.

Johnny skiing Mount Howard, in the Duffey Lake region of the Coast Mountains.

Advanced ticket purchase is recommended, as capacity for this event is limited to 50. Tickets are available for purchase at the Museum, or by calling 604-932-2019.

Sign up to our Facebook event page here.

Complimentary tea & coffee courtesy of Whistler Roasting Company will be provided, and there will be a cash bar as well.                                                      

The Whistler Museum Speaker Series is an ongoing series of presentations covering a wide variety of topics related to mountain history, culture, and environment, travel, and adventure. Presentations are held in the evening at the Museum. It occurs on the third Wednesday of most months.