For over one hundred years, skiing has created memorable moments for Canadian athletes and fans. From Olaus Jeldness’ organized events at the dawn of the century to the soaring success of female Canadian greats. The iconic heroes that were the Crazy Canucks, Speed Queens, and Canadian Cowboys and the inclusion and success of para-alpine and ski cross racing all solidified a rich and brimming history of Canadian skiing.
On December 20, 1920, the Canadian Amateur Ski Association (CASA) was incorporated under the dominion charter and began governing skiing in Canada. In celebration of this anniversary, Alpine Canada called on Canadians from coast-to-coast to have their say and vote for their favourite moment in our country’s ski racing history. Over the last three months, the Top 100 Peak Moments program reached 14.4 million Canadians and touched the hearts and minds of almost 600,000 fans who engaged with the program on social media, allowing fans to explore the journey of the Canadian Ski Team athletes over the past 100 years.
Kerrin Lee-Gartner’s odds-defying 1992 win at the Albertville Olympics was thrust to the top moment by Canadian fans from across the country in recent weeks and announced on the CBC Final Five Live, hosted by Scott Russell on the 27th anniversary of her retirement. By winning the gold 29 years ago, Lee-Gartner became the only winner of the women’s Olympic downhill to ever come from a non-German speaking country and the only Canadian to ever win the event.
“I can’t say I ever dreamt further than the finish line, so I know there are people who say they prepare and plan their celebration and I really didn’t do that. I grew up dreaming of the Olympics and wearing Nancy Greene’s medals and dreaming of the Olympics,” Lee-Gartner reflected on her historic win.
Over the past three months, as we celebrated the peak moments in Canadian ski racing, Canadians selected their top-five moments through voting their favorites to the top. These moments included para-alpine skier Chris Williamson crystalizing his icon-status with an unprecedented 100th win, the Crazy Canucks putting Canada on the map in Kitzbühel, Paralympian Viviane Forest’s dominant debut, Canadian Ski Cross takes winning to new heights with double Olympic gold and a silver for Serwa, Leman, and Phelan and Lee-Gartner’s odd’s defying victory in 1992.
“We are proud to celebrate Canada’s rich history and tradition of ski racing excellence with all Canadians over the past year as we carve a path towards the next century,” said Therese Brisson, Alpine Canada’s President & CEO. “We enjoyed the discussion, debate, and having fans vote for their favourite. Our heartfelt thanks go out to our partners and the committee of technical experts and historians who made possible this amazing digital legacy of 100 years of ski racing in Canada.”
Canada is a winter sport nation and thriving in winter is part of our national identity. With over 20,000 named mountains and over 291 ski resorts, Canada is at the pinnacle of the skiing world, sought after as a destination for both recreational and competitive skiing. Alpine Canada’s purpose is to power a nation to peak performance. As we look to the next 100 years of ski racing, Alpine Canada will continue the quest to be a world-class ski racing nation inspired by the passion and performance of Canada’s Ski teams and in doing so produce hundreds of more moments to inspire Canadians.