Tag: Whistler history

Whistler’s Answers: November 22, 1984Whistler’s Answers: November 22, 1984


In the 1980s the Whistler Question began posing a question to three to six people and publishing their responses under “Whistler’s Answers” (not to be confused with the Whistler Answer).  Each week, we’ll be sharing one question and the answers given back in 1984.  Please note, all names/answers/occupations/neighbourhoods represent information given to the Question at the time of publishing and do not necessarily reflect the person today.

Some context for this week’s question: The 1984 municipal election saw many new faces elected to council, with no position being filled by an incumbent. Terry Rodgers (the only candidate who had previously served on council) was elected mayor over Whistler’s previous mayor Mark Angus and candidate Jack Bright. On council, the four new “aldermen” were Paul Burrows, Diane Eby, Doug Fox and Nancy Wilhelm-Morden, none of whom had previously been on council.

Question: What do you think of Whistler’s new council?

Rollie Horsey – Retired (former alderman) – Alta Vista

I am not unhappy with it. I didn’t expect two females, but I have no objection to it. I felt the new mayor who was elected was pretty well foregone.

Al Bosse – Contractor – Alpine Meadows

I was impressed by a couple of the people running but I don’t know enough about the rest of them. I think it’s fortunate that we have one person to carry over from the present council to the next one, but I was not surprised more didn’t carry over. I’m willing to give the new ones a chance.

Laurin Kyle – Leisure Connections – Brio

I was really pleased but not surprised. From what I understand all the people elected are competent. The choice the voters made seems to be good – it was very important to me.

Connecting PhotographsConnecting Photographs


In 2018 we began a weekly blog post featuring a selection of photographs and captions taken during that week from each year that was represented in the collection of negatives from the Whistler Question Collection. “This Week In Photos” has become a useful starting point to learn more about what was happening in Whistler at any given time (between 1978 and 1985). When looking into the stories behind the photographs, we often find connections to other images. Some of these connections are unexpected, such as crowds of cars outside the Myrtle Philip School in November and ski racer Dave Murray sawing through a ski at the opening of a sports store in Vancouver in August.

Cars crowd outside Myrtle Philip School as hundreds of attendees sell, swap and buy ski equipment and clothing inside. Whistler Question Collection, 1979

The photograph of a crowd of cars was captured at the Whistler Mountain Ski Club’s (WMSC) fourth annual Ski Swap in 1979. The first Annual Ski Swap in Whistler was held on November 13, 1976, when skiers of all levels were encouraged to bring in their extra or outgrown equipment and clothing to sell or trade. A percentage of the proceeds made from the sales went to support the WMSC junior racing program. The gear brought in by local skiers was supplemented by leftover articles from the Vancouver Ski Swap and, with prices ranging from $2 for some of the clothing to $200 for boots, the WMSC was able to raise about $500. According to WMSC spokesperson Hugh McLennan, the sale “was an overall success, with very little theft of the merchandise on display.”

The Ski Swap continued to be a successful fundraiser for the WMSC, as well as a great place to find a deal on equipment. By 1979, the event drew hundreds of people to Myrtle Philip School, their cars filling the school parking lot and spilling over onto the street. Like in previous years, the equipment and clothing brought by skiers was added to by wholesalers, such as a Vancouver company that brought boxes of incorrectly-sized wool sweaters to sell at greatly discounted prices, and by store owners such as Casey Niewerth of Skyline Sports, who brought in any stock left from the previous winter.

Canadian National Ski Team member Dave Murray saws through an old wooden ski held by Casey Niewerth at the opening of the new Skyline Sports location. Whistler Question Collection, 1979

Casy Niewerth founded Skyline Sports in North Vancouver in the 1950s as Vancouver’s second ski shop. He began by selling the sample skis that wholesalers would bring to show department stores, ordering another pair once the first one was sold, and by the 1960s had expanded to include other sports and activities in a larger space, including a workshop for setting, repairing, an putting edges on skis.

In early 1966, when Whistler Mountain officially opened for skiing, Casey and his young family began skiing in the area, buying a lot in Alta Vista in the spring and moving into their newly completed cabin less than a week before Christmas that year. Like most stores at the time, Skyline Sports was closed on Sundays and during the ski season the family would drive up late Saturday evening in order to be at the base of the mountain for ski school on Sunday morning. Casey built up a loyal clientele at Whistler Mountain, in particular by offering free binding adjustments behind the bullwheel of the Red Chair.

The Skyline Sports set up behind the bullwheel of the Red Chair. Whistler Mountain Ski Corporation Collection

Just a few months before the 1979 Ski Swap, the Niewerths expanded Skyline Sports further by opening a new store in Vancouver’s Kerrisdale neighbourhood. The opening of the 6,000 sq ft space replaced the usual ribbon cutting ceremony with Crazy Canuck Dave Murray sawing through a 25-year-old ski, an event that was captured and reproduced in the Whistler Question. After the opening event, the new Skyline Sports location opened to the public with a “Super Ski Sale” were skiers could get the latest equipment ahead of the coming season. Like the Ski Swap raised money for the WMSC racing program, the Super Ski Sale was also a fundraiser for the Canadian National Ski Team and any donations made to the team over $5 during the sale would be matched by the store.

The exterior of Skyline Sports’ Kerrisdale location. Whistler Question Collection, 1979

There are many photos of Ski Swaps in the Whistler Question Collection, and even some more of events involving Skyline Sports. Though the retail locations of Skyline Sports closed in the 1990s, Casey Niewerth remains an important part of the community and the WMSC Annual Ski Swap continues to raise money for the club and its racing programs each fall.

Whistler’s Answers: November 15, 1984Whistler’s Answers: November 15, 1984


In the 1980s the Whistler Question began posing a question to three to six people and publishing their responses under “Whistler’s Answers” (not to be confused with the Whistler Answer).  Each week, we’ll be sharing one question and the answers given back in 1984.  Please note, all names/answers/occupations/neighbourhoods represent information given to the Question at the time of publishing and do not necessarily reflect the person today.

Some context for this week’s question: Elections are rarely about just one issue (though at times it might appear that they are), and the 1984 municipal election came as the first phase of the Whistler Village was nearing completion, Whistler was growing, and the resort tried to work its way out of a major recession.

Question: What is the single most important thing in the municipal election?

Rob Innes – Concrete Truck Driver – Whistler Cay

Probably the coordination and the effectiveness of the different elements that are building Whistler. Everybody has to work together. And there’s been many conflicts of interest on council, which isn’t needed. I don’t blame them for wanting to get on council if they have a beef, as long as they are honest and want to do a good job.

Ron Mackie – Contractor – West Side

I don’t know if there’s one thing so simple as that. I’d like to see some responsible people in there, and it’s a tough decision to decide who. How much they know about the valley and how long they’ve been here are important. When I elect them I have to trust them, and that’s why it’s a hard decision.

Bill McCance – Ski Coach – Tapley’s Farm

One thing that struck me at first was the need for a medical centre, but I think that’s going to have to be sorted out elsewhere. So I think the greatest thing to look forward to is the community centre. The new council could do lots of things to speed it up, and decide what goes into it.

From Recruitment to Expertise: Neal Carter and Tom FylesFrom Recruitment to Expertise: Neal Carter and Tom Fyles


Neal Carter started climbing mountains at 15 years old, after a trip up Grouse Mountain with his uncle. Over the next few years, he continued exploring the Grouse area on his own. When he met Tom Fyles, a Vancouver postman and member of the British Columbia Mountaineering Club (BCMC), in 1920, he was introduced to a world of mountaineering possibilities. Fyles, along with fellow mountaineer Mickey Dodds, took Carter on a trip up Goat Mountain. There they showed Carter the mountains the club was exploring, as well as other areas of interest. Carter joined the BCMC that week and became one of the regulars.

By joining the club and climbing with experienced mountaineers, Carter learned quickly about solid techniques and the risks of the activity. On a trip he took with Fyles up Cathedral Mountain, he slipped as he was summiting the mountain. This near-accident taught Carter about caution, but it did not deter him from building his mountaineering careers and becoming a leader within the community.

Table Mountain, a rare climb. Cliff Fenner Collection

Fyles had a similar introduction to the BCMC as Carter. Fyles moved to Vancouver from England in 1910. He was immediately awestruck by the mountains, but did not know how to “get there.” Two year later, after a failed attempt to find a way to the trails, he met a member of the BCMC at the post office where he worked. He took Fyles up to the Grouse Mountain cabin, and that was it; Fyles joined the BCMC. Though it was an adjustment at first – he had never camped before and didn’t know what equipment to bring – he was a naturally talented climber and quickly became an experienced leader.

A few years after Fyles joined the BCMC, he served as a committee member, then became their climbing director for nine years, until he left the club in 1926. He became synonymous with the BCMC, leading several expeditions and successful ascents. Fyles also solo-ascended some difficult climbs, including The Table. Though not a recommended route today, to an early 20th century mountaineer it was a welcome challenge.

After the BCMC encountered The Table in 1914, it was closely studied and had particular interest to Fyles. A few years later, Fyles and two other members made a trip out to attempt the summit. When they reached the loose and rotten rocks, the other two men stayed behind, while Fyles continued on and successfully made it up. He led more trips to The Table in the following years, including one with Carter in 1922 that was the second known ascent of the BCMC.

Right: View from the summit of Wedge Mountain; left: Back of photograph. Carter took his photographs from the 1923 expedition and wrote backwards mountains known and explored by the BCMC. When backlit, you can see these markings through the photograph. This helped him map Garibaldi Park and was likely used for presentations to others. Neal Carter Collection

Carter is reported to have said, “That’s one mountain that I never want to climb again! The only consolation was that it was in the fog, so we couldn’t see how far the drop below us was as we three clung to the loose chunks of rock that kept threatening to pull out of the sheer wall.”

Though Fyles left the BCMC, he continued his mountaineering careers through the Alpine Club of Canada. He and Carter were on many expeditions together, including the attempt on Mt Waddington in 1934, where they lost their friend Alex Dalgleish.

Many years later, Carter successfully advocated for a mountain in Bella Coola to be named in honour of Tom Fyles.

Today is the last day to check out Mapping the Mountains, the Whistler Museum’s latest temporary exhibit that tells the story of the 1923 Carter/Townsend expedition of our local mountains, so be sure to drop by!