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Skier

Lichtenegger, Michael

  • AT-LM001
  • Persona
  • b. 1971

Michael Lichtenegger is a retired Austrian alpine skier active during the 1990s. He competed in the 1993 Labatt Blue Men's Downhill at Whistler Mountain.

Rey, Denis

  • FR-RD001
  • Persona
  • b. February 9, 1966

Denis Rey is a retired French alpine skier who competed in the 1992 Winter Olympics and the 1993 Labatt Blue World Men's Downhill at Whistler Mountain.

Walker, Chelsey

  • CA-BC-WC001
  • Persona
  • fl. 1980-present

Chelsey Walker is a former champion skier and the current executive director of the Whistler Adaptive Sports Program. She moved to the West Coast with her family in 1980 and started ski racing with the Blackcomb Ski Club the following year as part of the first Nancy Greene Ski League. In 1989 she moved up to Whistler full-time in order to attend the Ski Academy at Pemberton Secondary School. Following her racing career, she worked for five and a half years as a guide and assistant with Mike Wiegele Helicopter Skiing at Blue River, BC.

In 2005 Walker became the Executive Director of the Whistler Adaptive Sports Program (WASP). In this role, she presented at the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games and contributed to the 2010 Paralympics through WASP's partnership with the Whistler 2010 Sports Legacies Society, the Whistler Athletes' Centre and the Jeff Harbers Adaptive Sports Centre. In 2011, she received a nomination for a YWCA Women of Distinction Award in the Health and Active Living Category. Walker has also been Chair of the Board of Directors of the Pemberton Children's Center since 2015.

Raine, Al

  • CA-BC-RA001
  • Persona
  • b. October 22, 1941

Al Raine was one of the original Whistler aldermen and played an instrumental role in the creation of Whistler Village and the opening of Blackcomb Mountain. Born in Vancouver, he started skiing in his late teens and spent three years (1962-1965) in Europe honing his skills. After returning to Canada, he worked at the Red Mountain Ski Area in Rossland, B.C. and coached the Ski Hawks in Montreal before being hired by the Southern Ontario Ski Zone to organize and lead a junior program in the area. Raine's success in this task led to his appointment as Head Coach and Program Director for the Canadian Alpine Ski Team in 1968. The Canadian team rose to new heights in the late 60s and early 70s due in part to Raine's drive, innovation, and management skills.

Al Raine and his wife, ski champion Nancy Greene, built a cabin in Whistler in 1970. This served as their summer home while Nancy coached at the Toni Sailer Summer Ski Camp on Whistler Glacier. The same year saw the birth of the couple's twin sons, Charlie and Willy.

In 1973, Raine quit his position with the Canadian Alpine Ski Team and moved to Whistler full-time. The BC government was seeking someone with the skills and experience to oversee the development of Whistler as a tourist resort and promote the expansion of skiing in the province. Raine fit the description perfectly. He was chosen as Ski Area Coordinator of British Columbia in 1974. The following year, when Whistler was made an official Resort Municipality, Raine became one of the first aldermen under Mayor Pat Carleton. He acted as a liaison between the municipality and the provincial government, assisted in the building of a sewer plant for the valley, and helped plan and coordinate the development of Whistler Village. In the face of opposition from large property owners, he accompanied Carleton to Victoria to get provincial approval for the creation of the Village and came back successful. He was the first to propose developing Blackcomb Mountain as a ski hill (in 1976) and received a joint bid from the Aspen Ski Corporation of Canada and the Canadian Federal Business Development Bank. Raine led the negotiation of a 50-year lease and land use contract, resulting in the opening of Blackcomb in 1980.

Raine's duties as Ski Area Coordinator took him beyond Whistler, assessing 45 different areas throughout British Columbia for their potential as ski sites. At this time he also worked as a consultant for the A.R. Resort Planning Group. His projects included carrying out studies for the BC heli-ski industry, devising a master plan for Hudson Bay Mountain, and evaluating the ski potential of areas such as Big White, Shames Creek, Tod Mountain (now Sun Peaks Resort) and Snow Basin (in Utah).

In 1980, Raine stepped down from his positions and became General Manager of the Whistler Resort Association. He was responsible for scheduling events, taking reservations, promoting tourism, and providing information about Whistler to guests. He resigned from this position in 1982 for health reasons and spent two years teaching skiing in Switzerland. During this time he also assisted Crans Montana in its successful bid to host the 1987 World Alpine Ski Championships. In 1984 he moved back to Whistler to help with the development of Nancy Greene's Olympic Lodge. He was inducted into the Canadian Ski Hall of Fame in 1988.

The Raines moved to Sun Peaks in the B.C. interior during the 1990s and continue to operate Nancy Greene's Cahilty Lodge there. Al Raine was elected Mayor of this resort town in 2010.

Podborski, Steve

  • CA-ON-PS001
  • Persona
  • b. July 25, 1957

Steven 'Steve' Gregory Podborski is a former downhill ski racer and member of the 'Crazy Canucks.' Born in Toronto, Ontario, Podborski started skiing at two-and-a-half years old at Craigleith Ski Club. He joined the Canadian alpine ski team in 1973 and made his World Cup debut the following year at the age of 17, scoring two top ten finishes in his first season. He made his Olympic debut at the 1980 Winter Olympic Games in Lake Placid, winning the bronze medal at the downhill; he had planned to debut at the previous Games but been forced to cancel due to a knee injury. His third-place win at the Games made him the only Crazy Canuck ever to win an Olympic medal, as well as the first North American man to do so in the downhill. In 1982, he became the first North American to win the World Cup season title in downhill skiing. In total, he won 8 World Cup downhill races (including the famously difficult Hahenkamm race, twice) and finished within the top 10 in 34 more. He retired after the 1984 season.

After retiring, Podborski continued to contribute to the sports world. He covered snowboarding for Olympics on CBS in 1998, cycling and Tae Kwon Do for NBC in 2000, and freestyle skiing for NBC in 2002 and 2006, and commented on three Winter Olympics (Salt Lake City 2002, Torino 2006, Whistler/Vancouver 2010). He was on the bid committee for the 2010 Winter Olympics, responsible for international relations. He was named Chef de Mission for the Canadian Olympic Team for the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi (2014). He worked for Telus from 2003 to 2017, achieving the position of National Director, Community Sports. In June 2017, he became President and CEO of Parachute, an organization focusing on injury prevention in sports.

Podborski has received many honours, including the Order of Canada in 1982, the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal in 2002, and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012. He was inducted into the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame in 1985, the Canadian Ski Hall of Fame in 1986, the Canadian Sport Hall of Fame in 1987, and the Ontario Sport Hall of Fame in 1987.

Burke, Sarah

  • CA-ON-BS001
  • Persona
  • September 3, 1982 - January 19, 2012

Sarah Burke was a Canadian freestyle skier known for pioneering the superpipe event. Born in Barrie, Ontario, she attended ski camps as a teenager in Whistler, at which she met her future husband Rory Bushfield (m. 2010). She won first place in the half-pipe event at the 2001 US Freeskiing Open, being one of only two women to compete. After this, she lobbied ESPN to include a female division in the Winter X Games; this was granted in 2005, and Burke went on to win five gold and one silver medal in this competition. She also won the 2005 FIS Freestyle World Ski Championships. Burke then lobbied the International Olympic Committee to add the superpipe to the 2014 Winter Olympics, at which she planned to compete. Tragically, she was never able to realize this dream, dying at the age of 29 in a training accident in Utah.

Burke accumulated many honors, both in her lifetime and posthumously. She was the first woman to ever land a jump with a 1080-degree rotation during a competition. She won the ESPN 2001 Award for Female Skier of the Year and the ESPY 2007 Best Female Action Sports Athlete Award. She also featured in many skiing films. After her death, Burke was inducted to the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame (2012), Canada's Sports Hall of Fame (2014), and the Ontario Sports Hall of Fame (2016).

Askevold, George

  • US-AG001
  • Persona
  • fl. 1970s

American ski instructor and champion freestyle skier who won many major hot dog competitions in both the Eastern and Western US, including the 1973 Eastern Freestyle Championships. Askevold coached at the Toni Sailer Summer Ski Camp in the 1970s.

Seizinger, Katja

  • DE-SK001
  • Persona
  • b. May 10, 1972

Katja Seizinger is the most successful alpine ski racer from Germany. She has won three gold and two bronze Olympic medals and won eleven World Cup season titles. She became the first woman to win consecutive Olympic gold medals in the same alpine speed event (downhill in 1994 and 1998), and the first woman to successfully depend an Olympic alpine title. Seizinger retired from racing in 1999 after sustaining knee injuries.

McCulloch, Ernie

  • CA-QC-ME002
  • Persona
  • 1926 - August 28, 1987

Ernie F. McCulloch was a renowned Canadian skier of the mid-20th century. He was born in Trois-Rivières, Quebec. McCulloch's ski career began in 1945; originally a ski jumper, he soon switched to alpine racing and achieved tremendous success. He defeated the entire French Alpine team in the Quebec Kandahar in 1949, won the US National Giant Slalom Championship, the North American Championship, and the Harriman Cup in 1950, and was voted the "Skier of the Half Century" the same year. Throughout the early 1950s he enjoyed further victories (1951 North American Championships, 1951 and 1952 Harriman Cup, 1951 Peruvian Cup, 1952 Kandahar, 1952 US National and International Downhills, 1953 Ryan Cup) as well as competing in the 1952 Olympic Winter Games in Oslo, Norway.

McCulloch also served as a ski instructor. Early in his his career he was coach to the young Canadian ski champion Lucile Wheeler, travelling to Banff with her to compete in the 1948 Canadian Championships. He later served as the director of the Mont Tremblant Ski School and the Blue Mountain Ski School. During this time he tirelessly re-evaluated and improved his methods for teaching skiing, resulting in Mont Tremblant enjoying a worldwide reputation for excellence under his leadership. He was also made President and Chief Examiner of the Canadian Ski Instructors' Alliance in 1955, 1957, 1959 and 1961, and coached the Canadian Olympic Alpine Ski Team in 1956. He authored several instructional books on skiing, including Learn to Ski (1955), Ski the Champion's Way (1967) and Ski Easy ... The New Technique (1973).

McCulloch was inducted into the Canadian Ski Hall of Fame in 1984.

Wills, K.

  • CA-WK001
  • Persona
  • fl. 1993

K. Wills is a Canadian skier who served as a forerunner at the 1993 Labatt Blue Men's Downhill at Whistler Mountain.

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