Lindsay Loutet - A Worker for Skiing
Before there were any ski tracks in the North 'Shore mountains the trail of snowshoes, like the footprints of a brontosaurus, could sometimes be seen in the green timber.
Cross-examined about the earlier events of his life, Lindsay Loutet finally broke down and admitted that he was one of those snowshoers. With a few other North Shore boys he explored the white solitudes 'way back in the hills where the moon changes, where the winds moan a weird dirge in the fir boughs, and the snow is four squaws deep.’
This was before 1923. In the cold winter of 1924 Lindsay rented a pair of skis from Don Munday. These skis looked alike but they had different dispositions. One was mean and contrary, the other one was well-behaved and always wanted to do the right thing. This docile ski always turned the right way, but the wayward one always went in the opposite direction. This screwy plank naturally did not make any large contribution to the joy of life for Lindsay on that sunny winter afternoon on old Grouse when he crashed into the skiing game. But Lindsay was a lad with a large humorous view of life, and perseverance in the face of discouragement is his most salient characteristic, as his friends know. After a few spinning dives, back flipflaps, triple somersaults, tailspins and corkscrew spills, Lindsay tamed that headstrong board, though he took a lot of punishment. He went home and hung his clumsy snowshoes up on the wall as a permanent decoration. Whenever he had fourbits to rent that pair of skis, he tightened his belt a couple of holes and battled those boards uphill and down all over Grouse mountain. He didn't have anyone to give him any instruction.
In the snowy winter of 19'36, when Uno Hillstrom built the big hill on Grouse, Lindsay decided he'd learn to be a ski jumper or die on the field of honor. The hill happened to be slow the first time he shut his eyes and bounded wildly from the take-off. As he tells the touching story: "I thought I was doing fine until I hit the bottom of the hill. I did a few somersaults in the dip as I came out on the flat." A short and simple annal of disaster. But as soon as he was restored to health and soundness he went right back and tried the old hill again. Lindsay and Bill Grant worked around the Chalet in those happy heedless blizzardy days. They kept the big hill in condition for Uno, and snow-shovelled on the toboggan slides. They were on skis a good deal of the time, but didn't learn much, Lindsay says, about technical skiing. Their job was tramping the hill and tenderly caressing it with shovels. They acquired a lot of useful hill-tramping and snow shovelling technique.
In the early fall of 1927, Lindsay with his accomplices Bill Grant, Jack Melville, John Miller, Lloyd Giffen, and a few other Grouse hikers, darkly plotted to form a Grouse ski club and rent a cabin from the Grouse Mountain Company. This conspiracy quickly came to a head. The G. M. Ski Club was born, a healthy. baby. Clubs have to have constitutions, so Lindsay, who did the organization work, based the new club's constitution on that of the B. C. Mountaineering Club, a solid foundation. Bill Grant was the first president. Lindsay became the secretary-treasurer. The club rented Don Munday's old cabin from the Grouse Mountain Company. That winter-sports-minded company, in order to stimulate skiing and help out the new club, in a generous and friendly spirit of encouragement, charged the infant club a fixed rate for the glorious privilege of skiing over the company's property.
That first sub-arctic winter the boys labored cutting fire wood in the deep snow and packing lumber up the sidehills to make the cabin habitable and fix it up to accommodate the club members. During the winter of 1928, Lindsay and John Hope again turned their youthful energies to jumping. Lindsay learned plenty about jumping that winter, taking casually a good deal of punishment in the amiable form of crashes and spills, as he neglected to wear his parachute. After a few of these incidental errors in dynamics and equilibrium, one or two of which resulted in something like what the aerial stunting nuts might call combined wingovers and reversements beginning with a whipstall and a loop and finishing up with a tailspin, Lindsay had an indefinite idea that something was not quite normal about his wrists, both of which were swollen badly. A month or so later he had one of them X-rayed and it was discovered that some bones were splintered in three places. This is the kind of thing that hardens up our youth and prepares them to meet the trials and pains of life later on. Lindsay got the hang of jumping, however, and became, in 1931, the B-class champion jumper of his club, and later won the B-class Western Canadian jumping championship at Fort George. Also, as a member of the Grouse team in competitions for the Tupper and Steele cup, he showed his skiing technique.
We have been writing more or less in a humorous vein about Lindsay. Now we must be serious. Lindsay has shown that he is a gifted organizer and executive official. He did good work early as a member of the first board of the old Western branch of the C.A.S.A., under Rudolf Verne. He is the, energetic and highly efficient chairman of the Vancouver Ski Zone Committee. The: brilliant success of the Vancouver Skiers' dances is due in a considerable ,measure· to his organizing ability as chairman of the dance committee. His capacity for leadership is undoubted. He promoted the successful Banff excursion of 149 skiers from Vancouver last season. 'At' Banff last March Lindsay's diplomacy secured, after conferences with Fred Hall, for Western Ski Zones the right to collect C.A.S.A. dues from member clubs, of which the Western Zones retain 50' percent. for their expenses. Lindsay"s acumen obtained the .services of a Relief camp of 25 men; who are at present building a real trail up Grouse. He is chairman of the Grouse Mountain Trail Committee.
From a busy business life Lindsay, gives cheerfully a good deal of time to the executive side of skiing. As administrator, guide, adviser and evangelist he is equally efficient. Vancouver skiing owes him for a lot of real hard work. Of course he gets a kick out of it. In the nature of things, that's about all he gets. Personally Lindsay is just a healthy, willing, intelligent straightforward Canadian young man, with a sunny disposition and an infinite capacity for work.