Tag Archives: Lorne Borgal

This Week In Photos: November 15

This week of 1984 includes some photos from Beer League Slo-pitch Banquet.  For more photos of the trophies mentioned, take a look here – some of them are quite interestingly crafted.

1979

The copper pillars of the pub in Package 6 reflect the afternoon sun at Whistler Village.

Three views of the Ski Swap… The crowds of cars outside..

… the crowds of people looking for bargains inside…

… and the RCMP engraving skis as part of their “Ski Watch” program.

Garibaldi Building Supplies’ Franke Desroches proudly displays the winning ticket.

The new town access road that runs past the school property. The new road is about 1.5 metres above the level of the school grounds.

Campbell McGougan and Bob Bates stands beside Alpine Security’s Bronco patrol vehicle.

View of the Rotary Auction as seen from the front of the room. Nandor Pal has just made a bid!

1980

First snow of the season: Sunday Evening, November 9, 1980.

New Guides Carrie Ainsworth, Marisa Gianne, Jodi Rustad and Rya Kirkwood proudly display their badges.

Stuart Remple and Steve Kellough of Salomon and Blackcomb Staffers Elizabeth Bennett and Martin Kimble mount bindings on the new Blackcomb rental skis.

Manager Dennis Lamarche stands in the centre of the new unfinished Whistler Liquor Store.

Gourmet’s Ted Nebbeling heads out with a tray of goodies for the Blackcomb Sports store opening.

A happy Blackcombe Sports staff cuts through the ribbon with a pair of skis as scissors at the store opening ceremonies.

Worker puts finishing touches to new dog pound adjacent to Whistler public works building.

1981

Oh happy days – frosted slopes and free season’s passes from each mountain. Roland Kentel (left), president of Whistler Athletic Society, was pleased to present Rod MacLeod with a pass to Whistler and Cheryl Devine with one to Blackcomb for their top efforts in raising money for the Terry Fox Marathon of Hope; Rod raised $1,260 and Cheryl raised $1,134.

Oops – didn’t think that telephone pole looked like that last night. This one took a nose-dive in the early morning hours of Saturday, November 14, knocking out power in the southern part of the municipality for several hours. BC Hydro said that the rain-soaked earth was at the root of the problem.

Al Raine displays his broadjumping skills for sons Charlie and Willie, an unidentified family friend and the family dog.

Department of Highways worker stands on one of the 44,000 lb. concrete beams that will make up the base of the Bridge at River of Golden Dreams.

Treasurer Gary Raymond plays at the keyboard of the municipality’s new $60,000 Basic MAI system 210 computer. The system is capable of printing 150 lines per minute and storing up to 14 million characters. Tax accountant Kathy Hicks and MAI system analyst Gene Wong look on.

1982

New positions and new faces on Blackcomb Mountain this season include (l – r) Lorne Borgal, Administrative Manager; Rick Morten, Operations Manager; Grant Smith, Vehicle Maintenance Supervisor; Ross Nichol, Comptroller.

A quiet moment in memory of the war dead is observed Thursday, November 11 by members of Whistler RCMP and Whistler Ambulance. (L – R) Denver Snider, Gord Simms, Andrea Lloyd and Jim Scribner observe two minutes of silence after laying a wreath. Any war vets who would be interested in holding an Armistice Day service next year are asked to contact Jim Scribner.

Margate Kogler ‘hams it up’ with a submarine sandwich in the kitchen at the Community Club Fall Fair November 13.

Eugene Rickli displays a selection of his hand-carved cedar faces at the Community Club Fall Fair.

First snowman of the season was being created on November 15 with only the help of a small shovel and a metal spoon. Sculptors are (clockwise from the bottom left): Sam Davies, Pam Pocius, Tim Sereda, Anthony Garm and Nina Lewis.

Ian Boyd, an employee of Whistler Mountain Ski Corp., demonstrates the ins and outs of this SMI snow-making machine Thursday. The machine, which may be put to use on Whistler Mountain this winter, is able to produce enough snow to cover one acre one-half inch deep in one hour.

1984

Smith Brothers Wilson employees poured part of the concrete slab for the Conference Centre’s second floor Friday. Construction crews are racing against the clock to get the second floor and roof completed before the end of the month. The 2,100 person capacity Conference Centre is scheduled to open June 1.

About 75 people attended a brief Remembrance Day ceremony in front of the Tri-Services Building Sunday morning. At precisely 11 am a minute of silence was observed to commemorate those Canadian men and women who died in battle and to give thanks for the peace they fought and died for.

About 1,300 people passed through Myrtle Philip School gym and lunchroom Saturday for the 8th annual Fall Fair organized by Heather Gamache and Catherine Wiens from the Alta Lake Community Club. Although final figures haven’t yet been tabulated, Gamache estimates the club raised close to $1,800 from the fair that featured clothing, jewellery, photography and art and other hand-made crafts.

Sonya McCarthy with a selection of South American clothing she was selling at Saturday’s Fall Fair.

150 people showed up for the last week’s beer league’s slo-pitch banquet, despite weather conditions that were definitely not for baseball. Each team in the league made a trophy for presentation to one of the other teams. Trophies included a No Name brand trophy, a softball/sailboat, and a Muppet-like doll with one rather unMuppet-like feature.

Stoney’s accepts its team trophy. The team won the league championship this year.

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This Week In Photos: August 23

1978

Someone forgot to get a building permit and arrived to find this notice on their site.

A young boy takes a leap during cross country training at the Myrtle Philip School gym.

This car may be in need of more than just a tow.

Offering Brunch & Lunch from 11 am – but when does it end?

1979

The Whistler Tennis Club Tournament on Saturday at the Taylor courts in Creekside.

Bob Priest stands proudly in front of his new drugstore in Pemberton.

What is it? Not a squatter’s cabin but merely a plastic structure for the fire department to practice its smoke rescue maneuvers.

Impromptu sidewalk sale – Leigh Finck sells off his goods after finding himself out on the street (literally) on Saturday.

Signs appearing on the tree by the Town Centre – note the Danger Construction Zone!

The first meeting of the Whistler Council in the new council chamber trailer. Acting Mayor Horsey presides.

1980

Grant Cooper cuts through bush on shores of Lost Lake. Miles of X-country trails are being cut as well as a dock and beach for the south end of Lost Lake.

In Pemberton there’s parking for all types of vehicles.

Town Centre’s Resort Centre rises faster as summer begins to wind down.

Congregating at the Molson Whistler Fun Fitness Swim after party to check the scores.

1981

These pyjama people must have gotten their beauty sleep the night before to enjoy Club 10’s pyjama party.

Brenda Thompson talks to customers at the Whistler PNE booth in the BC Building.

Benny Hu and Peggy Lee of Vancouver and Peter Chan of Calgary eat up the flavour of soft ice cream at Hilda’s Delicatessen.

It was a busy first day for Carlbergs! Lisa Knight and her brother Greg Carlberg were pleasantly surprised by the large number of customers who visited them on their opening day August 22.

A quick coat of paint – and a quick smile – help freshen up the outside of the old Vallee Blanche. Simone Aaron and Pascal Tipine get ready to open their new restaurant – Madame’s.

A member of a party of British kayakers paddles through white water on the Cheakamus River.

1982

Craig McKenzie of the Whistler Health Planning Society inspects the trailer brought into position adjacent to the Sports & Convention Centre for Whistler’s new medical clinic.

A victorious flight from the north face of Big Old Softie brought a rush of excitement to (L to R) Dave O’Keefe, Colin Dennis, Sandy Boyd, Terry Dyke, Howie Byard and Doug Banner.

A welder fixes a part to one of the towers that will be used on Lift No. 6 at Blackcomb.

Pockets the Clown teaches a group of children about product safety through puppets and poems during the Blinkley & Doinkle Puppet Show held in Village Square Tuesday.

1983

Bikers show their Harleys in front of the Carleton Lodge…

while Village Square hosts a show of Jaguars.

In between watching the Binkley and Doinkle Puppet Show in Whistler Village Thursday afternoon, these kids are participating in a jam session led by Karen Overgaard.

Arnold Palmer shows his fine follow through after sending a shot nearly 200 yards with a 9 iron. Palmer stresses proper rhythm rather than pure power to achieve those awesome shots. What a way to open a golf course!

Delta Mountain Inn’s new Director of Sales is 32-year-old Charles Ku. Hired for the position August 15, Ku was previously with the Century Plaza Hotel in Vancouver. He has been in the hotel business for 12 years and started at the venerable Empress Hotel in Victoria as a dishwasher. Ku, who has been skiing at Whistler for six years, says he almost feels like one of the locals. He replaces Robin Thompson as Director of Sales.

The Twigs patio at the Delta Mountain Inn looks busy on a sunny summer afternoon.

1984

This Baxter condotel unit may seem out of place on West Georgia Street in Vancouver, but marketing consultant Mel Grebinsky says it’s one of the “highest profile” corners in the city. The Baxter Group is marketing 165 of the $50,000 units inside the buildings, which will be built near the Whistler gondola and, according to Grebinsky, everyone from office clerks to lawyers is interested. Admission to the downtown show unit is by donation to the Variety Club.

Now that’s breaking ground! Whistler Mountain’s new addition to its Squarehouse got underway last Wednesday with (L to R) Roger McCarthy, project manager; Lorne Borgal, WMSC president; and Dave Murray, director of skiing. The initial phase of the project, slated for a December completion, includes a 350-seat dining area and 186 sq. m kitchen designed to produce baked goods, soups and a variety of other items. Additional improvements scheduled for the 1985/86 ski season include a 250-seat mezzanine and the balance of a full production kitchen.

Municipal Clerk Kris Shoup Robinson packs it in Friday for the big move to bigger and better facilities at the new municipal hall in Whistler Village. Staff have been waiting in anticipation for the move.

Furniture and files are moved into the new municipal hall (and old Keg building) on Blackcomb Way, next to the Public Services Building.

Seven athletes competed over the weekend for the Mr. Mountain title, which was eventually won by defending champ Ken Hardy. Events included golfing, kayaking, cycling, weightlifting and a series of times calisthenics.

About 120 travel agents flocked to Whistler Saturday for a fun-day event appropriately titled Battle of the Travel Stars. These office athletes completed obstacle courses by foot and by canoe, set new records in a swimming dress-up event at Delta Mountain Inn’s pool and ended the day with a rousing banquet at the hotel. The tug-of-war had the added excitement of a pool of Mazola between the two teams.

A healthy group of 30 young skiers is taking part in a month-long Whistler Mountain Ski Club ski camp. Skiing sessions are held on the Whistler Mountain glaciers using the club’s rope tow, but the skiers also spent a week doing dryland training before starting the technically-oriented camp directed by coach Jacques Morel.

Celebrating Peak Chair’s 30th Birthday

To most non-advanced skiers Whistler’s Peak was completely inaccessible before 1986.

No panoramic view, no glimpse of the vast expanse of Garibaldi Park and no feeling of being on top of the entire mountain.  This past month marked the 30th anniversary of the Peak Chair opening on Whistler Mountain.  In 1986, the 1,000-metre lift was imported from Grand Junction, Colorado, at a cost of $900,000, costing $1.48 million overall.

Since 1980, Whistler Mountain had been struggling to make ends meet and part of the strategy behind adding the new lift was to broaden the appeal of Whistler to Lower Mainland skiers.  Additionally, Whistler Mountain intended to keep pace with Blackcomb Mountain, which had opened their new T-Bar System and 7th Heaven in the high alpine in 1985.  Just a year later, Whistler Mountain countered this opening of new high alpine terrain with their opening of the Peak Chair on December 22, 1986.

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The first poster advertising the new Peak Chair.

The official opening of the Peak Chair was attended by a few big names: Premier Bill Vander Zalm, Mayor Drew Meredith, Female Athlete of the 20th Century Nancy Greene-Raine, Mount Everest climber Sharon Wood, Whistler Mountain president Lorne Borgal and the event’s master of ceremonies Jim McConkey.

“For years, people have been climbing and skiing off the peak and hiking to the peak in summer,” said Nancy Greene-Raine in the original December 24, 1986 Whistler Question article.  “It’s wonderful that now they’ll be able to ride p and ski it, with a little caution.”

The mayor cracked a joke at the idea of quick access to all those steep new runs: “I think this is something Lorne dreamed up while riding the Scream Machine at Expo (’86) last summer.”

As we know well today, there are some intense line choices available from Whistler’s Peak, some having gained legendary status in this town, like the cliff drop visible from Peak Chair known as “Air Jordan” and the Peak to Creek run, the longest groomer in North America at 5.5 km.

The chair was first opened only to advanced skiers due to the steepness of the terrain and the early season rock hazards.  More than 70 skiers eagerly awaited the opening of the chair that day.  Unfortunately, intermediate and beginner skiers still missed out on most of the runs coming down from the Peak; the only run accessible for non-advanced skiers was aptly named “Last Chance”.

Today we take for granted the opportunity to zip up to Whistler’s peak as easily as taking a seat on a chair.  Give a brief pause to take in the stunning panoramic vistas when you’re up on Whistler’s peak this winter, and perhaps remember the work that went into making those views possible for every skier and snowboarder to experience without a treacherous hike up.

The Lone Bagel

The Eighties are often remembered, fairly or unfairly, for questionable fashion and pop culture aesthetics, but here in Whistler it was a transformative era that saw the resort reach brand new heights. One of the key figures in Whistler’s rise during this period is Lorne Borgal, and we were lucky enough to have him participate in our recent Speaker Series soiree, plus he recorded an oral history interview with us, which help us outline some of his many contributions to Whistler.

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Lorne arrived in Whistler in June 1980 with a fresh MBA from Stanford University, driving up from California within days of graduating. He had been hired by Hugh Smythe to help manage a nascent Blackcomb Mountain. As he recalls, “from accounting, marketing, sales, to any of the operating entities, ski patrol, lift operations or anything to be ready for opening day, on the operating side fell to me.” Needless to say, the days were long and the learning curve was steep.

All the business school in the world couldn’t have prepared him for having to wire the telephone lines himself when BC-Tel was on strike, or having to play traffic cop to help skiers get home to Vancouver after a busy day on the slopes. As is the case with so many of our resort’s leaders over the years, Lorne had an ingrained determination to get the job done by whatever means necessary.

As the following audio clip demonstrates, recorded during our December 2015 Speaker Series event, there was no shortage of challenges during Blackcomb Mountain’s early days:

After three seasons Lorne was ready to move on, but fate had other plans. While on vacation in Europe (his first vacation in three years), he received a phone call from Whistler Mountain marketing executive Mike Hurst (who, coincidentally, sat beside Lorne at the Speaker Series), informing Lorne that Franz Wilhelmsen was retiring and Lorne was being considered as his replacement as Whistler Mountain President. Lorne happily accepted the new job, but not before completing his Mediterranean tour.

Here he is at the the December 10,1983 ceremony dedicating the newly named Franz’s Run in honour of outgoing President Franz Wilhelmsen.

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For the next six years Lorne oversaw the mountain during a period of intense competition with the upstart Blackcomb. He was at the helm of major projects such as the construction of Pika’s Restaurant – Whistler’s first proper on-mountain eatery, the visionary installatios of the original Peak Chair and the Village Gondola, leading international trade missions to expand the resort’s global reach, and updating Whistler Mountain’s management and customer service to keep up with a rapidly changing world.

Since leaving Whistler Mountain Lorne has served as an executive for a global software company, President of two other resorts, and continues to consult globally for upstart ski resorts around the world. His contributions to Whistler are most notably recognized up in the Whistler alpine, where Bagel Bowl refers to a playful nickname of his, “the Lone Bagel.”

Speaker Series – Whistler’s Amazing Eighties!

Every decade of Whistler’s history has a unique story to tell. The 1960s saw the optimistic launch of a brand new ski resort, the 70s were the free-spirited days of squatters and ski bums, and the 80s were when Whistler really got down to business.

The construction of Whistler Village and the opening of Blackcomb Mountain in 1980 were instrumental to Whistler’s ascendance on the world stage. Intrawest’s mid-decade arrival and Rob Boyd’s heroic hometown victory in 1989, not to mention the arrival of alpine chairlifts, an influx of Japanese powderhounds, and a new era in resort-oriented marketing count among other major milestones.

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Of the 1980s numerous noteworthy developments, many would argue that ski fashion was not one of them

Despite the grand vision of Whistler’s earliest boosters, it was during the 1980s that Whistler developed from a regional ski hill to a global destination resort.

The Whistler Museum is excited to announce the launch of our 2015/16 Speaker Series on Sunday December 13th with an evening discussion featuring key figures who oversaw Whistler’s transformation during this pivotal decade.

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The evening’s presenters are as follows:

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Lorne Borgal, 1980s.

Lorne Borgal -Lorne’s Whistler career began in the 1970’s on the Volunteer Ski Patrol, and accelerated in June 1980 when, with a fresh Stanford MBA, he was hired to manage the business side of a nascent Blackcomb Mountain. Three years later he succeeded Franz Wilhelmsen as the second ever CEO of Whistler Mountain, and soon after that he took over as Chair of the Whistler Resort Association (predecessor to Tourism Whistler).

Mike Hurst – Mike’s first taste of Whistler came in 1971 while working as a marketing executive for Labatt’s Brewing. He quickly established a strong business relationship with the resort, but clearly it wasn’t enough. In the early 1980s he made the move to Whistler full-time, accepting a position in Whistler Mountain’s marketing department. He stayed with the resort through the decade, spearheading many groundbreaking promotional campaigns, and even running the Whistler Resort Association at one point, before returning to the iconic Canadian brewery in 1989.

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Mike Hurst, 2nd from right, presenting the grand prize for an unknown promotion, early 1980s.

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A young Bob Dufour poses for his official Ski School portrait, 1970s.

Bob Dufour – As a ski instructor from Quebec’s Laurentian Mountains, Bob Dufour came west to work for the legendary Jim McConkey in 1972. Nearly 44 years later, Bob continues with Whistler-Blackcomb having worked under every president from Franz Wilhelmsen to Dave Brownlie and witnessing firsthand an incredible amount of change. He currently holds the position of Vice President – Mountain Operations.

With the panel’s wealth of knowledge and experience, this evening promises to be a compelling and enlightening look at an often overlooked period in Whistler’s history.

When: Sunday December 13th; Doors at 6pm, show 7pm-9pm
Where: Whistler Museum (4333 Main Street, beside the Library)
Who: Everyone!
Cost: $10 regular price, $5 for museum members

We expect this event to sell out, so make sure to get your tickets early. To purchase tickets stop by the museum or call us at 604.932.2019.

 

About Whistler Museum’s Speaker Series:

More than mere repositories of old stuff, museums are institutions of ideas, venues where communities share, debate, and explore their thoughts on the world at large. To that end the Whistler Museum hosts regular Speaker Series events featuring presentations on a diversity of subjects: from the usual suspects of mountain culture and adventure travel, to the environment, design, current events, and beyond.

The 2015/16 season will run monthly, December-May. In celebration of Whistler-Blackcomb’s 50th anniversary, all of this year’s events will focus on ski and snowboard history.

These events offer the perfect opportunity for locals and visitors alike to encounter compelling stories in a relaxed and sociable atmosphere. All Speaker Series events have a cash bar and non-alcoholic refreshments. Coffee provided courtesy of the Whistler Roasting Company. 

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