Tag Archives: roger mccarthy

This Week In Photos: December 20

Somehow, we’ve only got one more week of This Week In Photos left after this one.  Though the year seems to have passed alarmingly quickly, we’ve really enjoyed sharing photos from The Whistler Question with you each week.  Be sure to take a look through past weeks – you never know if there’s something (or someone) you missed!

1978

The season’s first skiers lining up to buy tickets on Friday.

One of the first gondolas full of skiers to go up the mountain this year.

Santa is surrounded by children at the school concert.

Betty Shore shares a joke with Santa after the concert.

1979

The ruler measures 28 cm! After the storm on Thursday, December 13, before it turned to rain.

At the Ski Club Benefit Evening, a smiling group enjoys themselves…

… and auctioneer Paul Burrows looks for bids on a Salomon cap.

Roger McCarthy gets into some deep snow on the side of Dad’s Run.

Mechanical failure causes the School Bus to go off the road last week – there were no children on board.

4:30 PM at the Husky intersection on a busy, snowy evening.

1980

An unusual sight on Whistler – aerial view of skiers lining up at the mid station loading on the Green Chair – Friday, December 19.

Latest aerial view of Whistler Village – December 19, 1980.

Santa’s helpers pass out goodies at Signal Hill School in Pemberton.

After a dramatic arrival by helicopter, Santa is mobbed at the Rainbow Ski Village Saturday as he tries to distribute candy canes.

New sign at the entrance to the Village has proved very helpful to both visitors and residents. The only problem is the wrong spelling of Whistler’s first lady – it should be Philip.

Big puddle formed quickly at the northern entrance to Blackcomb Estates after rain started and warm temperatures melted the past week’s heavy snowfall.

1981

Make-up time for moms and dads and kids before curtain call for the Myrtle Philip School play.

Owner Dick Gibbons (left) and designer Gilbert Konqui lend a hand getting the Longhorn ready for action. Located in Carleton Lodge in the Village, the 250-seat restaurant is ready to serve you a drink and a quick, hot meal.

Hats off to Peter’s Underground. Peter Skoros and crew gave a tip of the old hat at the lively opening of Peter’s Underground Sunday, December 20. Cordon Rouge, prime rib and a roomful of laughter highlighted the evening. Located under Tapley’s, Peter’s Underground promises good food at very reasonable prices 21.5 hours a day (open 6 am – 3:30 am) seven days a week.

Gerry Frechette gets a hand fro Sylvan Ferguson in erecting the parking meter stand.

1982

No, this young man is not a practitioner of the latest foot fetishes. He’s fitting WMSC General Manager Peter Alder with a new pair of boots from McConkey’s Ski Shop. (By the way, Peter’s old boots were just that – old. They fastened with laces.)

Nick Gibbs, Stoney’s chef, went all out with his culinary talents and produced this appetizing creation from a 40 lb. salmon donated by the Grocery Store. It was part of a huge “indoor picnic” for participants in the All Cal Winter Carnival.

Susan Christopher helps a sheep into costume before the school play.

Publisher Paul Burrows and his wife Jane prior to a well-earned visit to the Caribbean.

1984

Michele Bertholet is the head chef at Pika’s (pronounced Peeka’s), Whistler Mountain’s new restaurant adjacent the Roundhouse. The facility, which is licensed to seat 400 persons, had its official opening Friday. The 8,300 sq. ft. restaurant, designed by architect Lee Bruch and engineer Jon Paine, cost about $600,000 to construct including more than $150,000 in kitchen equipment. Bertholet and his staff will now be able to provide freshly baked pastries, rolls and buns daily as well as hearty meals such as Baron of Beef and chilli. As well, the new restaurant features a custom sandwich bar. Whistler Mountain Ski Corporation named the restaurant Pika’s, a small rock rabbit commonly found through the high alpine regions of North America, after a contest that drew 300 entries. Whistler residents Ms. Lori Mitchell and Mr. Peter Pritt were the winners and will split the grand prize so that each will receive $100 as well as a $50 gift certificate from Dusty’s Cantina. Coincidentally, the name also fits a former mountain resident of a slightly larger form: Jessica Hare. Jessica lived in Whistler Mountain’s alpine residence for four of her five years and gained the nickname Pika.

The North Shore Community Credit Union moved across the square to its new 1,300 sq. ft. premises Sunday. The bureau, an 8,500 fund safe and other banking equipment had to be moved by truck from the old location to the new. Carpenters and electricians worked nearly around the clock Sunday and Monday to be ready for business as usual Tuesday. They made deadline.

Sunshine Jim entertained about more than 100 Whistler youngsters Saturday afternoon before the kids were visited by Santa Claus. Sunshine Jim sang a series of songs including Scooter the Car and Porky the Raccoon who, even though traditional enemies, became friends. The event was sponsored by the Alta Lake Community Club and was held in the Myrtle Philip School lunchroom.

Five-year-old Paul Vance shares Santa’s knee with his brother, six-month-old John.

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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.

The FIS Fiasco of 1979

With the world watching, the mountain began to fall apart.

It was early March 1979, and heavy rains had turned a mid-winter snowpack already beset by persistent depth hoar into a sodden mess. The avalanche hazard went through the roof. This was a mountain manager’s nightmare, but as they say, “through adversity comes greatness.”

Patrol began doing what came naturally; they bombed everything that could move. As long-time Whistler pro patroller Roger McCarthy recalls, “in a normal day, that avalanche hazard in itself would be enough to give you grey hair. But we had a world cup to run…”

Mccarthy Watt Patrol - BENJAMIN 51

Roger McCarthy at left, with Bruce Watt and Ken Moyle going over wind data,   mid-1970s. George Benjamin photo.

That’s right. Whistler was experiencing one of the most volatile avalanche cycles in memory, and we were just days away from hosting the resort’s first ever FIS World Cup downhill skiing race.

A few days before the race, some FIS officials insisted on riding the gondola up to check on conditions. While standing on the loading ramp at the bottom of red chair they witnessed Goat’s Gully shed its snow right to the ground. The avalanche even damaged one of the Orange Chair’s towers. Further downslope, a slide on Lower Insanity had left debris piles five feet high on Coach’s Corner. This was not the auspicious debut on the world stage that Whistler had planned for.

“In a normal day, that avalanche hazard in itself would be enough to give you grey hair. But we had a world cup to run…”

Still, mountain staff managed to clean up the mess and the forecast for race day was cold and clear. However, FIS officials deemed that safety requirements had not been met and the race could not run. As a new course with a relatively small budget, the safety infrastructure was not at the same level as some of the more established European courses, but some suspected politics as the true reason for the cancellation.

This was the era of the upstart Crazy Canucks trying to crack the European-dominated world of ski racing, and some feathers were being ruffled in the process. Regardless, with so much invested, it was going to be a major letdown for the organizers, the resort, the sponsors, and the tens of thousands of fans expected to be in attendance.

The night before the race, sensing it would be cancelled, Canadian ski racing legend Nancy Greene came up with an idea to salvage the event. They ran an exhibition Super G race, the first ever, instead. It wouldn’t count as a World Cup, but as local writer Janet Love Morrison described in her book The Crazy Canucks, it would entertain the crowds, satisfy the sponsors, and demonstrate the spirit and ingenuity of Whistler, and Canada as a whole.

canucks.jpg

The Crazy Canucks at the race. From left to right, Dave Irwin, Dave Murray, Unknown (can anyone help us out?), Steve Podborski, Ken Read.

And just in case anyone was wondering how the racers really felt about the cancellation over safety concerns, when it was Crazy Canuck Ken Read’s turn to race the exhibition course, he ignored the Super G gates and tucked the entire course at full speed, much to the crowd’s approval.

read.jpg

Ken Read addressing the crowd, with Steve Podborski to viewer’s left.

“Everyone—racers, fans, and media—had a good time,” Morrison recalled.

And so, in 1979, with the ski racing world focused on Whistler, nearly everything that could go wrong did. But somehow we still managed to get things right.

Pro Patrol at Whistler Film Festival 2014

Whistler Film Festival and Whistler Museum are excited to present a screening of Pro Patrol followed by a talk by Roger McCarthy about the early days of ski patrol. The event is on December 7th from 4pm to 6pm at Whistler Museum.

Pro Patrol is a 1980 film that was the first of director Curtis Petersen’s career. The film is a short documentary on Ski Patrol on Whistler Mountain, filmed in 1979. It won several international awards for the budding film maker and became an iconic film of early days on Whistler Mountain.

Petersen went on to work on numerous film projects from documentaries to music videos, and has over 150 feature films under his belt.

Roger McCarthy is one of the stars of the film and was on Whistler Mountain Ski Patrol from 1974-1990. His talk will give insights into working on ski patrol and how the world of mountain safety has evolved over the years.

The entire staff of Whistler Mountain “Pro Patrol” in 1968: L-R: George Bruce, Hugh Smythe, John Hetherington, Ian McDonald and Derek Henderson.

The entire staff of Whistler Mountain “Pro Patrol” in 1968: L-R: George Bruce, Hugh Smythe, John Hetherington, Ian McDonald and Derek Henderson.

Amazingly, in the early days of Whistler Mountain there were only a handful of paid ski patrollers. In 1968 there were just five! On the weekends, when the mountain became much busier, a dedicated team of volunteers, known as First Aid Ski Patrol (FASP), also worked as patrollers. The existence of two patrols–FASP and the Whistler Mountain employees–led to the term “Pro-Patrol” being used to describe the paid staff.  It was only in May 1979 that FASP was disbanded.

Tickets for the event are $10 and can be purchased through Whistler Film Festival.

Speaker Series: The Business of Skiing – Jan 15th

Join us for our upcoming Speaker Series “The Business of Skiing,” where leading industry experts Peter Alder, Roger McCarthy and Don Murray will be discussing the past, present and future of the business of skiing. The event will take place on Wednesday, January 15th at 7pm (doors at 6pm).

The event will start with some prearranged questions to the panel and move on to open questions from the floor. If you were ever interested in understanding more about the business behind our town – this is your chance. Between them the panel has over 9 decades of experience in the ski industry!

To purchase tickets (only 60 available), call the Whistler Museum at 604.932.2019, or visit us at 4333 Main Street (behind the library). Tickets are $7, $5 for members. Complimentary coffee and tea will be served courtesy of the Whistler Roasting Company and Namasthé Tea Co. In addition, there will be a cash bar.

About the Speakers:

Peter Alder managed Red Mountain in Rossland, Silver Star Resort in Vernon and worked for the Ministry of Transportation in the lift inspection department. He also was a key player in creating the BC Alpine Commercial Ski Area Policy, which governed the development of mountain resorts and had a huge impact on the success of the ski industry in BC.  In 1978 he managed Whistler Mountain and for the past few decades he has been working as consultant helping resorts all over the world create masterplans and fulfill their potential.

Roger McCarthy’s career has taken him from working as a lift operator, to managing lift operations, and overseeing both safety and lift operations departments at Whistler Mountain. In 1990, he joined Blackcomb Mountain as Director of Human Resources.  He was also part of a team that transformed the Tremblant resort from a bankrupt enterprise into a world class resort. Since 1991, he has held senior management positions in major ski resorts in Canada and across five states in the USA. Roger currently owns and manages a resort consulting company with clients throughout North America and sits on the board of Alpine Canada.

Don Murray has over 30 years of experience in ski resort management and operation.  As Ecosign’s Vice President, he has been directly involved in all aspects of the resort design, operations planning and consulting. He has worked on mountain and base area planning for major competitive events at Sierra Nevada (1996 World Championships), St Anton (2001 World Championships) and Snowbasin at Salt Lake City (2002 Winter Olympic Games). Additionally, he was responsible for the layout and design of all ski trails at the 1988 Winter Olympic site, Nakiska Ski Resort, and assisted in the design of terrain modifications required for the Olympic events.

Hope to see you there!

Speaker Series 2012 Wrap-up

We at the Whistler Museum would like to thank our wonderful community for making our winter 2012 Speaker Series a complete success. Every event featured compelling presentations from great speakers, all of whom spoke in front of a sold-out crowd!

Roger McCarthy

Roger McCarthy started the new year off with a bang with his fascinating talk about his experiences running the show at the new ski hill being built near Sochi, Russia for the 2014 Winter Olympics. We got everything from great insights into the local terrain to the rather frightening amount of security one must pass through to speak to a Russian oligarch – Roger’s boss on the high-pressure job. I’m sure his new gig with Whistler Municipal Council is less stressful!

The next month, fellow municipal councilor Jayson Faulkner opened our eyes to the possibilities of the Spearhead Huts Project, for which he is the committee chair.  Jayson’s extensive experience as both a mountain guide and backcountry gear retailer set him up nicely to present his answer to the rhetorical question “Backcountry Huts: Why now, more than ever?”

Ski-touring in the Spearhead Range.

In March we welcomed the always-entertaining “Garage Sale Frank” Salter in to talk about his 500-plus pairs of antique and retro skis. The amateur ski-curator brought in a sizeable chunk of his private museum to speak about some of the high and low points in the history of ski design.

Frank shows off one of his more unique artifacts, an early model swallowtail ski!

It was only fitting that we close of the winter season with last week’s presentation by a panel of WORCA board members on the past, present and future off Whistler mountain biking. The stoke was high among the crowd of fat-tire enthusiasts, and we all left with the impression that we have lots to look forward to in coming summers!

One of the more unique courses for a WORCA Toonie Ride – the Olympic Sliding Center track!

Our Speaker Series events are designed to feature knowledgeable and engaging speakers and the amazing lives they lead. We were fortunate to have such an outstanding line-up this year and we appreciate all of them taking the time to share their stories. Special thanks as well goes to Namasthe Tea and the Whistler Roasting Company, who generously supplied each event with their wonderful teas and coffee.

The Speaker Series now goes on hiatus for the summer, to resume the third Wednesday of the month for October, November, and January through April.

We are always on the look out for exciting new presenters in the fields of local history, mountain culture, the environment, travel, adventure, or anything else that might captivate a crowd of Whistlerites. If you or someone you know has an interesting story to tell, or if you have an idea for something you’d like to see at a future Speaker Series, drop us a line at programs@whistlermuseum.org. Meanwhile, although the Speaker Series takes a temporary break, we aren’t going anywhere, so stay tuned for upcoming announcements regarding our summer programming!