Former Alpine Skier Shares Memories of Blue Mountain Ski Club

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Collingwood People: David Christie, 2020 Collingwood Sports Hall of Fame Inductee

With the easing of pandemic restrictions, 2020 Collingwood Sports Hall of Fame inductees will finally be able to accept their honors in person on May 14.

For this week’s edition of People of Collingwood, we spoke with one of the individual inductees, David Christie, 86, who will be honored for his contributions to alpine skiing.

Q: How long have you lived in the Collingwood area?

A: I have lived in the Collingwood area all my life.

I was born in Collingwood, on the kitchen table.

I went to elementary school at (King) George School. I went to high school at CCI (Collingwood Collegiate Institute).

We lived on Campbell Street until I moved to Rob Roy about five years ago.

Q: After graduating, what did you do?

A: I went to the University of Guelph. I studied agriculture because my family owned Smarts Farm and I wanted to take it over one day. It was 350 acres.

They cultivated everything; pears, apples, asparagus and other vegetables.

I tried to take over the farm but there was a business in Thornbury that had priority. Smarts was as big as the shipyards as an employer.

Q: Have you worked as a farmer in your professional life?

A: No. I was a salesman at Chipman Chemicals. I was on the board of Smarts Farm. I also ran Bell Electric in Collingwood for a while.

Q: When did you first start skiing?

A: We used to ski the slopes around five or six o’clock. Maybe younger than that. I have skied all my life.

My children and grandchildren are also skiers. They ski much better than me. (Laughs)

Q: You were the Ontario junior alpine champion in 1953 and you had first and third place finishes in the senior C class at the Ontario championship in 1954. Can you tell me a bit about that?

A: I was 17.

I missed the ceremony. I was in Meaford with Katie (my 65 year old wife). When I got home, my mother told me that I had won the race. She sent me back to the ski resort.

Q: You were also a founding member of the Blue Mountain Ski Club. How did it start?

A: I was club president.

It was a good experience. Jozo Weider gave us an acre of land off Blue Mountain Resort. My friends and I decided we had to build a ski club.

There weren’t a lot of funds, so we had to do dances and socials to raise funds. I liked them very much. They didn’t have a beer license, but I got away with it for a long time. (Laughs)

Q: Do you still ski?

A: No. I broke my hip. I was riding a bike at the time. They tried to fix it but it didn’t work. It was about 10 years ago. It was time to stop anyway. I was 75 years old.

I had a stroke last September.

I miss skiing. I often go there (to Blue Mountain) to watch.

Q: Do you have any other hobbies or activities that you devote your time to?

A: I was a Rotarian. I have given time to the Rotary Club of Collingwood and the Rotary Club of Collingwood-South Georgian Bay. Now I am a retired member of the Rotary Club of Gore Bay.

I have also been painting since the age of six or seven. Over the years I’ve probably painted 500 pictures.

Q: When you found out you were going to be inducted into the Collingwood Sports Hall of Fame, how did you feel at the time?

A: Honored. My daughter Kathy applied.

I’m not going to the ceremony. The risk for me is too great. I am not well. There are 200 people going there, and we don’t want to catch COVID-19.

I feel bad about this.

Q: If you could attend, what would you say for a speech?

A: I thank the committee for accepting me. I thank my daughter, Kathy, and my family for their support.

I’m not a great speaker anyway.

For our People of Collingwood feature, we’ll speak with interesting people who are part of, or contribute to, the Collingwood community in some way, letting them tell their own stories in their own words. This feature will work on CollingwoodToday every weekend. If you would like to nominate or suggest someone to be featured in People of Collingwood, email [email protected]

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