It appears that the history of skiing in Canada will continue to be headquartered in the east.
After two years of searching the Canadian Ski Hall of Fame and Museum (CSHFM) has found a new home in Mount Tremblant.
The board of directors for the organization announced last Thursday (Jan. 17) the winning bid came from the St. Jovite-Mount Tremblant region in Quebec.
CSHFM director Chris Edgell told The Question on Monday (Jan. 21) that the bids received from the five communities vying to become the new home for the extensive collection of ski artifacts were all incredible, but a choice had to be made.
Edgell said the factor that tipped the scales in favour of Mount Tremblant was the high level of community support shown by the communities in that area and the fact that the building proposed to become the new museum is retrofitted and available in the near future.
“All of the bids had different attributes and all of them met the requirements,” Edgell said. “It was really fabulous … to realize there was such strong support for the history of skiing in Canada and the dilemma was how to pick a winner.
“The decision to go with the St. Jovite-Mount Tremblant area was really because of the visible community support that was available to go ahead with the project now.”
He said the Quebec bid included 1,200 signatures of support from the area’s citizens and local politicians.
Edgell said the Whistler bid and the proposed building in Whistler Olympic Plaza was “fantastic and wonderful,” but in the end was not enough to sway the board.
“The win here is that we have a new home for the hall of fame and museum and also for sure we have the expression of serious support for skiing and the history of skiing right across Canada,” he said.
Edgell added there is the possibility in the future for the Whistler Museum to borrow and feature artifacts from the CSHOFM, as well as for the resort to host the annual induction banquet.
“Those are great options for locations to participate,” he said.
Whistler was up against Tremblant as well as Revelstoke, Rossland and Grouse Mountain.
Peter Alder was part of the local business group leading the bid for the resort and said while it is disappointing Whistler was not chosen, he understands the reasons why.
“It is too bad we didn’t get it,” he said. “I guess we didn’t get chosen because we needed to raise the money first.
“I understand their decision, they didn’t want to wait two or three years until a museum is in place. It is too bad for Whistler, we would love to have seen it here, but we needed to be sure we had the necessary funds to build a museum.”
The Whistler proposal would have seen a
$7 million facility built on land provided by the municipality that would also provide a new home for the Whistler Museum, which is restricted by the size of its current location.
Alder also noted to locate the museum in Whistler would also require raising sufficient money to operate the CSHOFM.
The ski museum has been on a hunt since the spring of 2011 for a new location because it could no longer afford its premises in Ottawa.