The Vancouver Island Youth Sports Centre at Mount Washington is a spectacular example of West Coast architecture.
However, cost overruns to the tune of $300,000 require ambitious fundraising on the the part of the non-profit society that runs the facility. Fortunately, both the Comox Valley and Campbell River have a tradition of supporting youth sports programs.
Artist Brian Scott began skiing at the old Forbidden Plateau Lodge and Ski area in 1961. He suggested to the committee to do a series of paintings and publish his fourth book on the history of skiing on the Island.
Scott would donate 2,000 books as a fundraiser and would sell the original oil paintings in the book to pay the cost.
The early days of skiing began with the Mount Becher Ski club in the 1920s. Then came the primitive rope and wire tows at Forbidden.
Scott remembers a ski pass cost $20, a lot of money for a 12-year-old in the early ’60s! The Fanny Dunker ski club was the best thing to happen to an “air force Brat” at the base.
Scott’s book chronicles the Woods family, Herb Bradley, Alex Linton and his blue ski/ Mount Washington vision, and Peter and Rick Gibson.
Herb Bradley was a key figure.
Through the Fanny Dunkers and Courtenay Recreation he trained older teenagers to teacher younger skiers. He also set up ski races such as the Kandehar so young racers could compete to hone their skills.
Bradley mentored Peter Gibson who, while at UBC, taught skiing on Grouse Mountain and set up the ski school in 1978 at Mount Washington Alpine Resort.
These pioneers realized a healthy youth program is the key to the future. The new youth alpine will be year round so kids will have access to our spectacular Strathcona Provincial Park year round.
You don’t see any “fat kids” in the downhill or cross-country programs.
Scott thinks a $200 cross-country pass into Strathcona Park is the best deal in the North Island, an opportunity to be up above the clouds in the sunshine in a world-class park and facilities.
The old-growth forests and mountains and mountain vistas toward Mount Albert Edward are stunning. The beauty of cross-country at Raven Lodge is the opportunity for skiing at all skill levels.
Many of Scott’s paintings from his book will be hanging in the facilities on the mountain.
Scott’s new book Skiing on the Island is available at CIBC Wood Gundy, Remax Realty, Scott’s Gallery in Black Creek and on Mount Washington. All proceeds go to the youth skiing program.
— Vancouver Island Youth Sports Centre