KAMLOOPS — It began as a grassroots movement to find a way up a hill to ultimately go back down. On Friday night, the newest exhibit at the Kamloops Museum and Archives opened up documenting the history of downhill skiing in the Kamloops community, and the culture that grew around that history.
“A bunch of people not interested in profit worked together, found a way to make a lift work, got themselves up the hill, skied down the hill in non-ideal conditions and made it happen,” Museum Curator Matt Macintosh explained about the origins of the ski community in the city.
The exhibit is titled Powder Keg Downhill Ski Culture in Kamloops. According to Macintosh, many of the items on display came from members of the community involved in building that downhill ski culture.
“The head serviceman for Alpine Canada’s Ski Cross team, Rod Honey came through with an amazing second generation Burfield chairlift,” Macintosh told CFJC Today. “Burfield is a unique chair; it was the longest one in North America when it first started out, and one of the coldest I gather, too. A lot of people told me about the fact the lefties used to issue blankets, as it was about a half hour ride up. It’s a really unique piece of the culture.”
Senator Nancy Greene-Raine moved to Sun Peaks in 1995, around three years after the resort was purchased by Nippon Cable of Tokyo. The 1968 Olympic gold medallist donated many items from her illustrious ski career to the exhibit, which also includes a multimedia display. She says she enjoys seeing where that ski culture began, and how that movement has grown into one of the premier regions for downhill skiing in the country.
“For me, it’s really fun to see all the roots of skiing in Kamloops,” Greene-Raine said. “So many people here [at the opening] have been around, skiing in Kamloops for over 50 years.”
Macintosh says without the help of the community, Powder Keg Kamloops Ski Culture exhibit could not have been achieved.
“This is a great ski town,” Macintosh said. “It’s a unique ski town… I think what [the exhibit] does is offer a really good taste of what makes Kamloops ski culture Kamloops ski culture.”
The exhibit is on now until May 26th, and also pays homage to the BC Winter games taking place in the city from February 22nd to 25th.
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