In 1968 three dedicated supporters of ski racing came together to offer their support, so Canada could think about podium success in the upcoming Olympic Winter Games of Grenoble.
Fourty-seven years later, the legacy of Allister Ross, Joe Irwin and Jock Osler is alive and well, celebrating new inductees into the Canadian Rockies Ski Racing Hall of Fame alongside introductions of the newest generation of young champions from western Canada.
“Events such as the Return of the Champions are so important” said Alberta Alpine President Nigel Loring. “Giving the ski racing family a chance to celebrate the builders of our sport and recognize our athletes before we get tied up stringing b-net and running races, is so important. Our builders have laid a solid foundation, which has served our clubs for generations, and this is why we have a steady wave of athletes that make us proud are on the podium.”
The robust crowd of more than 400 who gathered at Calgary’s Petroleum Club last week for the annual event actively participated in the many items offered.
All funds raised from the Return of the Champions are contributed to Alberta Alpine’s programs of excellence and to supporting the Alberta Ski Team. As the parents of athletes run this event on the Alberta Ski Team, there are no overhead costs, so 100% of the proceeds are spent on the snow.
“We had a number of excellent nominations for the Class of 2015 to consider for the Canadian Rockies Ski Racing Hall of Fame,” said Nominating Committee Chair, Ken Read. “The reaction from around the world, yes – around the world –acknowledging the contribution of our Honoured Inductees was phenomenal. It is important that we recognize what Mike Irwin, Phyllis Kennedy, Jack Sandercock and Mike Wiegele have brought to our community and our sport. We celebrate them and we also celebrate what they have built. And in the words of Jack Sandercock, ‘our sport is giving every young ski racer the essential tools to be successful in life’. And we want our athletes to meet these people to appreciate this incredible legacy, and to build on it.”
Alberta Alpine and the Friends of Alberta Ski Team thank the sponsors, supporters and all who attended the 47th “Return of the Champions”. The continued great support of the ski racing family ensures we provide the best programs possible for our athletes at every level throughout the province and western Canada.