Tag Archives: Nancy Greene-Raine

This Week In Photos: March 8

One of the best part of the Whistler Question Collection is that it shows different sides of Whistler as a developing resort, including skiing, contests, parties, school events, construction and scenes of everyday life.


Toni Sailer runs the Molson World Cup Downhill course on Tuesday.

Toni Sailer and Nancy Greene-Raine on the World Cup Downhill course.

A Beetle is carted out of Creekside.

One of the Tantalus Creations seamstresses at work on a vest, part of a line of custom ski wear.


Construction continues in Whistler Village despite the snow on the ground.

The new Public Service building has its finishing touches added and new cells installed, currently unoccupied.

Myrtle Philip pays a visit to a class at Myrtle Philip School, sharing photos and tales of her early days in the valley.

‘Downhill’ Bill Gregory leads a group of cross country skiers down the water town hill in the Fischer Cup.

Myrtle Philip teachers & parents prepare the climbing apparatus for the PE workshop on March 8.


The lineup at the bottom of Whistler Mountain looks like it could use a little more snow, or any snow at all.

It’s not the usual slalom course you see in Whistler, but that didn’t stop this group of kayakers.

The crowd gets out onto the dance floor at Club 10.

Mayor Pat Carleton (centre) congratulates Michel Segur (left) and Jean-Jacques Aaron on the opening of their new club.

How many people can you fit in one hot tub? Looks like we’re going to find out.


Guide Mike Jackobson heads the pack as the powder skiers make tracks on an open slope near Bralorne.

All that remained of the lower portion of the Blackcomb skiers bridge that collapsed Saturday, March 6 injuring two.

Action! Fitness instructor Sue Worden pedals her heart out for Action BC testing Saturday, March 6 while Kevin Ponnock, fitness consultant, records pulse rate. The government-sponsored program includes flexibility training and a diet analysis so that participants can asses their fitness level.

Don Armour (seated) and Peter Zandon give the new WRA computer system a workout. The computer is a major step towards co-ordinating reservations throughout Whistler.


A new sound wafted through the air of Whistler Village Saturday, March 5 thanks to Otto Baumann and his Alp horn. The horns were originally designed to call cattle home or signal nearby neighbours. Baumann, 25, a native of Lucern Switzerland, made this horn himself. It measures 12 feet in length.

At it again! Blackcomb and Whistler Mountain staff squared off for the second round (actually there’s been far more than two rounds guzzled in this competition) of their boat races.

Doc Fingers and the Gortex Blues Band kept the crowd on their feet at the Canadian Telemark Team Benefit, Sunday March 6 at Bullets Cabaret. (L-R) Robin Ferrier, Doc Fingers and Jack Levin belt it out for the full house. Not shown is Ferrier’s crutch – supporting his ankle, broken March 4 scant days before the telemark racing season really gets underway.

Foot in the Door titillates the telemarkers at the Canadian Telemark Team Benefit held at Bullets Cabaret Sunday. (L-R) Mark Schnaidt, Craig Barker, Charlie Doyle and Rocco Bonito helped the team net $500 toward sending the team to races in Colorado.

M. Robert Gourdin, North American sales rep for Moet et Chandon and Hennessy Cognac, topped off this $24,000 tower of Baccaret crystal glasses with a few bottles of bubbly during a special presentation at Delta Mountain Inn March 3. And how to open a bottle of champagne on such a special occasion? Why, with a Napoleonic sabre, of course.


A typewriter graveyard? No, these are just a small part of the many tons of equipment, from pencils to lasers, being used for Molson World Downhill coordination.

It was a tough choice for judges at Saturday’s air band contest. The contest, held at Stumps in conjunction with the Volvo Ski Show, featured four bands. The Energy Pals, a duo, eventually won and took home two pairs of Blizzard skis. In second place were The Superbs followed by the five-member Culture Club.


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.


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 Nancy Greene-Raine Connection

We recently announced our upcoming Speaker Series on May 6th, celebrating 50 years of summer camps. The inclusion of Nancy Greene-Raine on the speaking panel quickly made it apparent that, although we have decent coverage of her husband Al Raine’s contributions to Whistler on this blog (plus here), up until now, Nancy’s presence is notably lacking. This blog post will start to fix that problem.


Though Nancy was born in Ottawa, grew up in the Kootenay ski haven of Rossland, BC with its historic Red Mountain Resort, and has lived in Sun Peaks for roughly two decades, her connection and contributions to Whistler remain strong.

Nancy, of course, is one of the most recognized and celebrated Canadian athletes of all-time, regardless of discipline, even earning the title of Canadian Female Athlete of the Century!  She was the most dominant female ski racer of the 1960s, earning 13 World Cup victories, 2 overall world titles, and her gold medal (and silver, all while battling a severe ankle injury) performance at the 1968 Grenoble Olympics, alongside French legend Jean-Claude Killy, is the stuff of legend.

Here’s a complete run-down of her ski-racing accomplishments. 



1969 Toni Sailer Summer Camp staff. Nancy is front row, 2nd from left, Toni Sailer is back row, 2nd from right, both wearing cowboy hats.

Nancy retired at the top of her field and a global celebrity after her dominant 1968 season. Retirement from ski racing was no permanent vacation, as the pervious winter she had already launched her Nancy Greene Ski League, Canada’s national, grassroots-level ski racing program. In the nearly 50 years of operation, virtually every single Canadian ski racer of note, from Steve Podborski to Ashleigh McIvoor, and countless thousands of others, started competitive skiing in Nancy’s program.

In 1969, she began coaching at Toni Sailer Summer Ski Camps on Whistler Mountain, a position she maintained for several years and which she will be recollecting at this Friday’s Speaker Series.

Al and Nancy first built a cabin in Whistler in 1970, which was their summer home while Nancy coached on the glacier. Once Al retired as a ski coach in 1975, they moved to Whistler full-time and set out to help Whistler become a leading international ski destination.


Nancy skiing on Blackcomb, circa 1980s

Nancy and her husband Al Raine also played a huge role in the early success of Whistler and their legacy carries on to this day. Nancy became an spokeswoman and ambassador for the resort, using her celebrity to promote the upstart ski area. As such, she was one of Whistler’s original “Celebrity-Athletes” that played such a pivotal role in Whistler becoming, well, Whistler.

Al sat on the first municipal council and was a leading figure in the planning, design, and construction of Whistler Village and Blackcomb Mountain.


Nancy and husband Al, representing Blackcomb Mountain (note the matching Blackcomb Mountain outfits, and Nancy’s Blackcomb logo name tag). circa 1980s.

In 1985 they built Nancy Green’s Olympic Lodge in the heart of the Village, and despite having long since sold it, the building bear’s Nancy’s name to this day. In the 1990s, Al and Nancy moved on to Sun Peaks in the B.C. interior, but they still maintain close ties to Whistler.

We are truly honoured to have Nancy join this Friday’s  panel, and we hope you can join us. Get your tickets in advance, it will sell out!



Speaker Series – Celebrating 50 years of Summer Skiing

It’s been a long, nostalgic winter of celebrating Whistler’s Golden Anniversary. But just as Whistler is known for deep snowpacks that sustain the snow-sliding revelry well past winter, we have an abundance of stories this year to push our regular Speaker Series programming well into spring.

Considering the circumstances, it is only fitting that we prolong our season-long retrospective on our resort’s proud ski history with an event paying tribute to that seasonal oddity peculiar to Whistler, summer skiing. The evening of Friday May 6th we will be hosting a Speaker Series focused on fifty years of summer skiing camps on Whistler’s glaciers.


Summer glacier skiing in Whistler is as old as the resort itself, having begun during the inaugural season of 1966. Beginning with the original Toni Sailer camps and later Dave Murray camps on Whistler, then moving to Blackcomb’s Horstman Glacier in the 1980s, with Camp of Champions, Momentum Camps, to name just a few, summer skiing in Whistler has been a novel way to compliment and extend the regular ski season, promote the resort with a veritable who’s who of celebrity athletes and guest coaches, and create fifty years of memorable and unique experiences.

Former camper and ski history enthusiast Alex Douglas has organized a weekend long “Whistler Summer Camp Reunion” series of events, with this Speaker Series included. There will also be a reunion dinner hosted at Creekbread on the Saturday, and, of course, group ski outings during the day. One need not be a former camper to attend the Speaker Series event.


The crew from the 1969 Toni Sailer Summer Camp, including (front row at left) Alan White and Nancy Greene, and Toni Sailer himself (back row, 2nd from right).

The Speaker Series will open with a screening of footage and a short film dating back to the original Toni Sailer Summer Camps of the 1960s and 70s. After the film will be a panel discussion featuring Canadian ski racing legend and former summer camp coach Nancy Greene-Raine, Alan White, founding manager of Toni Sailer camps and one of the true ski pioneers of Whistler, and former coach from the Dave Murray Summer Camp era, Mark Taylor.

Needless to say, this is a wonderful panel of speakers and we are extremely excited to host them and hear their stories.


A group shot of all the coaches at the Dave Murray Summer Ski Camp, circa late 1980s, including Mark Taylor (back row 4th from the left). The crew was a veritable “who’s who” of Canadian ski racing. Stephanie Sloan Photo.

Doors will open at 6pm, with the presentations beginning at 7pm. Tickets are $10, $5 for museum members. To purchase tickets, stop by the Whistler Museum or call us at 604-932- 2019. To ensure a seat, make sure to purchase in advance as this event will sell out.

As always, we will be serving complimentary coffee provided by the Whistler Roasting Company, assorted tea, and a cash bar serving beer and wine.