You are probably wondering why I have decided to resurrect the Unred from it’s quiet and comfortable grave. I have occasionally been asking myself just that question as I already have a full time job… First off, if some of this narrative seems familiar, it will be. I’m taking the liberty of editing and paraphrasing excerpts of posts from other sources, such as Facebook, as I have a hard enough time writing as it is. The words are all mine however. I’m not trying to re-invent the bullwheel, just tell stories about it..
As you may or may not know a couple of weeks ago I attended Jamie Tattersfield’s retirement party, held at Sun Peaks Resort near Vernon on May 14th. Jamie ran the Vehicle Operations dept. at Whistler Mountain in the 1980s and gave me my big break on the road to becoming a Groomer. He was the first boss I ever had that really pushed me to better myself professionally and who gave me a second chance when I occasionally failed (for which I am eternally grateful).
I didn’t really know what to expect, as I pulled into Sun Peaks base area. I hadn’t seen Jamie in years but decided to go and show my thanks all the same. I shouldn’t have worried. After bumping into Dave Hennessey in the parking lot, I hooked up with the rest of the Old Salts of the ski biz – Bob Hall, Bob Bell, Danny Hendricks, Bob Sanderson, Roger McCarthy, John Tweedy and, of course, Jamie. Many stories were told over a considerable volume of Scotch. Everyone was a bit rounder and a lot greyer but still had that twinkle in their eyes. This group of men, over many years, have had a significant impact on the Ski Industry in B.C. as the prime builders and implementors of resort skiing as we know it today. They were my bosses or supervisors, co-workers and friends at the beginning of my journey through the ski industry. 30 years later I consider myself lucky just to be accepted into their company, not so much as an equal, but at the very least as a kindred spirit. Jamie was so shocked that I made the trek to the party, he gave me a shout out in his thank you speech to the assembled throng. “People have come from all over. “Dave Thomas is here. I haven’t seen the guy in 30 years and he came. Wow.” The pleasure was all mine, Jamie.
After saying our goodbyes the next day, the trip down memory lane continued. Joining Dave Hennessey and his family at his cabin on Mabel Lake for the May Long Weekend. The plan didn’t start out that way (there was a plan?) but it rolled along nicely once it got going. Besides enjoying the company of Daves family, the natural beauty of the lake and it’s surroundings, I got to meet the neighbors. A nicer, eclectically hilarious group of people you would be hard pressed to find anywhere. Once more I was treated to more stories and shenanigans over fine single malt.
The single-most common thread amongst these stories, besides my having a small part in some of them, was that they revolved around working and playing in the mountains, on snow, on an industrial scale. This set me to thinking about my journey, where I am now and how much fun it was along the way to get here. The business has changed immensely and fundamentally during my time in it, driven by a variety of challenges including economics, real estate and the advent of snowboarding. I have decided that these stories deserve to be told. I hope you find them interesting, entertaining and occasionally informative. My writing will hopefully improve as I progress but, luckily, I do have lots of photos with which to tie the narrative together. A lot of photos…
So that’s it in a nutshell. It’s good to be back.
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