Lake Louise Ski Friends History
The Ski Friend program began in the fall of 1978. This was at a time before the development of extensive snow making and sophisticated grooming. Often the snow on the lower slopes of the front side didn't offer a very good skiing experience. Mike Waite, the marketing manager of that time, felt that if visitors could find their way to the higher slopes and the backside of the area, they would find good snow and become return customers.
He approached the volunteer ski patrol and asked if their wives would be interested in providing tours of the ski area. A group met with Mike to discuss the possibilities. Two of the group, Barb Spear and Patti Weightman met with General Manager, Rodney Touche and Area Manager, John Worrall to negotiate an agreement and to set guidelines for a program. Tours would be offered both weekends and midweek. The challenge was to find suitable people to act as guides.
The program was an immediate success. The public was very pleased with the added service and the volunteers enjoyed showing off the ski area they loved. Management received positive feedback from the public immediately and was appreciative of the good work. It was a win, win, win, situation!
There were only about eight active volunteers in the first year but many people indicated an interest in joining the program. An executive was formed and new candidates were carefully selected. The executive met monthly to discuss policies and procedures. A training manual and program for training new members was developed. Parties and fun times for the Ski Friends also became part of the program.
When the program began, Lake Louise was competing for just the Calgary market. Today Lake Louise is a top choice for international visitors. Many have returned to Lake Louise because of the Ski Friend program. We are unique in the quality of tour we offer. We can provide a tour for everyone from intermediate skiers/riders to advanced skiers and riders looking for a challenging adventure. Ski Friends come from a variety of backgrounds and can offer information on history, flora, fauna, parks policy, business, geography, and interesting things to see and do.
Many of the Ski Friends have 'friended' for many years and guests who return for additional holidays are pleased to be greeted by familiar friends who are happy to continue the fun. We invite everyone to come and Ski or Ride with a Friend.
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