Your browser version is outdated. We recommend that you update your browser to the latest version.

The 'Golden Age' On Hollyburn Mountain
(1929/1930 & 1929/30 Ski Seasons)
Canadian Ski Year Reports, Daily Province Sports Stories, Photos from HHS Archives

Hollyburn Ski Camp 1931

Hollyburn Pacific Ski Club (1929/1930 Ski Season)
Rudolph Jules Verne

Ski-ing increased in popularity in Vancouver during the past season and many new members joined the local clubs. Many more spectators are attending our competitions and a better knowledge of the sport and its possibilities is noted. Ski-ing has only been actively enjoyed here for about four years and the increasing interest is naturally welcome to the clubs. Our better skiers are mostly men who have learned to ski in other parts of the country, but their splendid example is being followed by our local boys with very satisfactory results. It was noticeable last winter that many youngsters of from eight to ten years of age were picking up the tricks of the experts and could be seen trying out telerna rks and swings in spite of many spills. Our novice class turned out several promising all-round skiers who are expected to give anyone a run for the money in a few years. Chris Johnson, our veteran club captain, ably assisted by our senior skiers, spent a lot of time coaching and instructing the younger boys and the results of this are already apparent. Cross-country ski-ing is specially stressed and trips are organized to get as many as possible out and let the changing character of the Ridge test out and develop their ability.

Our girls showed marked improvement and managed to beat out all local competition in the cross-country events.' Our Club Champion, Miss Daisy Bourdon, placed second to a more experienced skier at Revelstoke, and with Bertha Haigh, who is always close behind her, is expected to bring additional laurels to the Club next year.

A new comer to the Club, Harold Smejda, won the Club Championship this year by a narrow margin over Axel Sneis, the previous winner. Smejda proved himself a first-class all-round skier, winning in addition the Club Combined Championship and the Pacific Coast Jumping Championship at Portland. This is the Club's second victory in this event as Fred Finckenhagen won it last year. The Club successfully defended the Tupper & Steel shield, emblematic of the Coast Team Championship, with Axel Sneis, Finn Fladmark, Harold Belsvik, Fred Finckenhagen, Harold Smejda and Chuck Lauritsen doing stellar work.

Axel Sneis again proved himself a splendid cross-country man and should make good Olympic material for the distance events. He won the British Columbia Championship in the 18 kilometres, placed third in the 50 kilometre race and second in the combined at Burns Lake, as well as winning the race at Princeton against a large field.

Our Club was represented at all the open competitions in British Columbia and south of the line on the Coast and managed to hold their own in all events. Because of the heavy expense entailed in travelling from tournament to tournament, large parties cannot be sent by the Western clubs, but as every club is usually represented competition is very keen.

Much better jumping was possible on our hill last winter because of an improved landing and a bigger tower. The length was increased by building a trestle and the tower was added to give an additional forty feet in height. These additions made the take-off high above the ground and because of this the jumps looked very spectacular. As the Ski Camp is three and a half miles from the end of the road and any lumber supply, all construction has to be done with logs which makes a large structure very difficult. The jump is a credit to Messrs. Pearson, Anderson & IsraeIs, the owners of the Ski Camp, who built it for the use of the Club and public. Jumps of 100 feet were made under average conditions while the record for the season was 118 feet made by Fred Finckenhagen on a fast day. We had hoped to have a clubhouse available for next winter, but due to reasons beyond our control we were unable to do so, but two large cabins will be used as temporary quarters until next year. Ground is being cleared about a mile from the Ski Camp for a training hill on which we expect to be able to make 60 metre jumps, which will help give our boys the necessary training for the big Revelstoke and Princeton hills. There are many sites available in this mountainous country, the only consideration being accessibilitv.

I particularly mention the Vancouver City Combined Championships which were held on Hollyburn Ridge last Easter, April 18 to 20. This competition was held later than any large one in our experience and although the weather was very mild, which made cross-country racing hot work, all events were run off successfully. The leading skiers from the Northwest took part and competition was very keen. The local skiers had an advantage in that they were in training and had been ski-ing right up to the competition, whereas the skiers from outside points had had no snow for some time so were not in shape for the cross-country race.

Snow had to be shovelled on to the take-off due to its exposed position, but as there was several feet on the ground the jump was in good shape. The cross-country race was the full 18 kilometres, which proved to be too long for the majority of the skiers who were not in training, and because of the warm weather.

The jumping was held the same afternoon, and in spite of the heavy morning grind all the jumpers turned in first-class performances. There were twenty-five A Class competitors with as many more B Class and juniors.

The public response to the competition was very gratifying, and good crowds attended Good Friday and Easter Sunday when a special open jumping event was held. Over fifteen hundred people climbed the three and half mile trail to Hollyburn on Friday which we claim is a record for enthusiasm. Early bathers were trying out English Bay the same day, and tennis and summer sports were in full swing about eight miles away and three thousand feet below.

All the visiting skiers were accommodated at the Ski Camp for the weekend, two cooks being brought up from the city, and a large tent was put up for the dining room. Some of our lady members acted as waitresses and said that everyone got something to eat. Monday night the skiers were entertained at the annual Club banquet and dance in the city when the prizes were distributed and a good time had by all. This our first open competition was verv successful and demonstrated the possibilities open to us in the future. 

1930 Sports Articles & Photos

Hollyburn Pacific Ski Club (1930/1931 Ski Season)
Gordon Billingsley (Secretary-Treasurer)

Ski-ing increased in popularity in Vancouver during the past season and many new members joined the local clubs. Many more spectators are attending our competitions and a better knowledge of the sport and its possibilities is noted. Ski-ing has only been actively enjoyed here for about four years and the increasing interest is naturally welcome to the clubs. Our better skiers are mostly men who have learned to ski in other parts of the country, but their splendid example is being followed by our local boys with very satisfactory results. It was noticeable last winter that many youngsters of from eight to ten years of age were picking up the tricks of the experts and could be seen trying out telerna rks and swings in spite of many spills. Our novice class turned out several promising all-round skiers who are expected to give anyone a run for the money in a few years. Chris Johnson, our veteran club captain, ably assisted by our senior skiers, spent a lot of time coaching and instructing the younger boys and the results of this are already apparent. Cross-country ski-ing is specially stressed and trips are organized to get as many as possible out and let the changing character of the Ridge test out and develop their ability.

Our girls showed marked improvement and managed to beat out all local competition in the cross-country events.' Our Club Champion, Miss Daisy Bourdon, placed second to a more experienced skier at Revelstoke, and with Bertha Haigh, who is always close behind her, is expected to bring additional laurels to the Club next year.

A new comer to the Club, Harold Smejda, won the Club Championship this year by a narrow margin over Axel Sneis, the previous winner. Smejda proved himself a first-class all-round skier, winning in addition the Club Combined Championship and the Pacific Coast Jumping Championship at Portland. This is the Club's second victory in this event as Fred Finckenhagen won it last year. The Club successfully defended the Tupper & Steel shield, emblematic of the Coast Team Championship, with Axel Sneis, Finn Fladmark, Harold Belsvik, Fred Finckenhagen, Harold Smejda and Chuck Lauritsen doing stellar work.

Axel Sneis again proved himself a splendid cross-country man and should make good Olympic material for the distance events. He won the British Columbia Championship in the 18 kilometres, placed third in the 50 kilometre race and second in the combined at Burns Lake, as well as winning the race at Princeton against a large field.

Our Club was represented at all the open competitions in British Columbia and south of the line on the Coast and managed to hold their own in all events. Because of the heavy expense entailed in travelling from tournament to tournament, large parties cannot be sent by the Western clubs, but as every club is usually represented competition is very keen.

Much better jumping was possible on our hill last winter because of an improved landing and a bigger tower. The length was increased by building a trestle and the tower was added to give an additional forty feet in height. These additions made the take-off high above the ground and because of this the jumps looked very spectacular. As the Ski Camp is three and a half miles from the end of the road and any lumber supply, all construction has to be done with logs which makes a large structure very difficult. The jump is a credit to Messrs. Pearson, Anderson & IsraeIs, the owners of the Ski Camp, who built it for the use of the Club and public. Jumps of 100 feet were made under average conditions while the record for the season was 118 feet made by Fred Finckenhagen on a fast day. We had hoped to have a clubhouse available for next winter, but due to reasons beyond our control we were unable to do so, but two large cabins will be used as temporary quarters until next year. Ground is being cleared about a mile from the Ski Camp for a training hill on which we expect to be able to make 60 metre jumps, which will help give our boys the necessary training for the big Revelstoke and Princeton hills. There are many sites available in this mountainous country, the only consideration being accessibilitv.

I particularly mention the Vancouver City Combined Championships which were held on Hollyburn Ridge last Easter, April 18 to 20. This competition was held later than any large one in our experience and although the weather was very mild, which made cross-country racing hot work, all events were run off successfully. The leading skiers from the Northwest took part and competition was very keen. The local skiers had an advantage in that they were in training and had been ski-ing right up to the competition, whereas the skiers from outside points had had no snow for some time so were not in shape for the cross-country race.

Snow had to be shovelled on to the take-off due to its exposed position, but as there was several feet on the ground the jump was in good shape. The cross-country race was the full 18 kilometres, which proved to be too long for the majority of the skiers who were not in training, and because of the warm weather.

The jumping was held the same afternoon, and in spite of the heavy morning grind all the jumpers turned in first-class performances. There were twenty-five A Class competitors with as many more B Class and juniors.

The public response to the competition was very gratifying, and good crowds attended Good Friday and Easter Sunday when a special open jumping event was held. Over fifteen hundred people climbed the three and half mile trail to Hollyburn on Friday which we claim is a record for enthusiasm. Early bathers were trying out English Bay the same day, and tennis and summer sports were in full swing about eight miles away and three thousand feet below.All the visiting skiers were accommodated at the Ski Camp for the weekend, two cooks being brought up from the city, and a large tent was put up for the dining room. Some of our lady members acted as waitresses and said that everyone got something to eat. Monday night the skiers were entertained at the annual Club banquet and dance in the city when the prizes were distributed and a good time had by all. This our first open competition was verv successful and demonstrated the possibilities open to us in the future. 

1931 Sports Articles & Stories

Vancouver Ski Club (1930/1931 Ski Season)

This club, the fifth in Vancouver, was formed last November by about forty enthusiastic skiers, who had made Hollyburn Ridge their winter playground for several years.

The Club is fortunate in having several skiers who are well known in the west for their all-round ability and sportsmanship as charter members.

Due to their example and coaching, the local boys and girls have made rapid progress, and the newspaper articles on the splendid showing they have made in outside competitions have aroused public interest in the sport. It may seem strange to our fellow skiers in the east that Vancouver, which is so well known for its mild climate, should have five ski clubs. The explanation is fairly simple. It is due to the formation of the Coast Range Mountains which rise three miles north of Vancouver, across the harbour. These mountains are from 4,000 to 5,500 feet in altitude. They are cut by several river courses which are at a comparatively low elevation. In fact, all the rivers are below the snow line, which is usually about 2,500 feet, so that a trip from Hollyburn Ridge to Grouse Mountain, a couple of miles east, is not possible on ski as it means descending from 3,(X)() feet to sea level. and then climbing again to 3.800 feet, a good few hours of strenuous hiking.

Since its inception the club has trebled its membership and plans for the coming winter include increasing the sleeping accommodation on the Ridge. A large log cabin at the ski camp was the official Club House last year, and another of the same size has been leased this year for our lady members. Our members also occupy some half dozen smaller cabins so a good many can stay "Up Top" over the week-end.

Because of the large number of outside competitions only three club competitions were held last year, These were all very successful. Harold Smejda won the Club championship and Dr. J. D. Fletcher cup, as well as many other outside events including the Canadian combined and cross-country championship at Revelstoke, the combined event at Seattle, and cross-country at Portland. Axel Sneis won the cross-country in connection with the club combined championship, and placed in many other events. Harold Belsvik proved to be Smejda's chief rival and gave him a close run in all competitions, especially in Seattle, where he jumped 177 feet and got third place, and was second in the cross-country and combined events. A. Hagen won the City jumping championship and several other first places at outside meets. Fred Finckenhagen took his share of jumping prizes and lead the Club team to victory in the Pacific Coast team combined event for the Tupper & Steele shield which was held by Hollyburn Ski Club the two previous years. Mickey Mitchell won the B class Club Championship, and with the runners-up in his class, Len Williams and Mac Billingsley made a very creditable showing at Seattle and Portland. Brian Muir won the Novice Championship with C. Gilrie and George Knechtle runners-up.

Our Ladies' Championship was won by Miss Doris Kane with Miss N. Haigh second, and Miss B. LeMire third.

Cross-country trips led by our experienced skiers were frequent events and were found to be of tremendous benefit in bringing our beginners along quickly. The leaders by example and by criticising found that a skier's style and ability could be rapidly improved. We would recommend this method of organized cross-country trips to you as an easy and enjoyable way of improving your members' proficiency and interest in the sport.

A new jump was started late in the fall, and was only roughly cleared. It was not graded so could not be used until late in the season when the snowfall was heavy. It was found to be very satisfactory then with a little digging and filling in of snow, as several jumps of 150 feet were made with all jumps being over 125 feet. This was with a three-foot snow take-off below where the permanent take-off is to be.

The social activities of the Club were adequately looked after by the Social Committee under Mickey Mitchell, who was assisted by Miss M. Smith. Several very successful dances were held, the final one being at the close of the season when our prizes were presented.

Our annual meeting was held recently, and the following executive elected to carry on the affairs of the Club for the winter of 1931-32: Gordon Billingsley, President; O. B. Ommundsen, Vice-President; Len Williams, Treasurer; VV. R. Baker, Secretary.

There is a fair amount of snow lying on the mountain tops at the time of writing, which is November 1st, 1931 so everyone is busy making plans for another active and successful season.

Canadian Ski Year Reports Courtesy of the Canadian Ski Hall of Fame & Museum