Silver Star to Celebrate
20th Anniversary of Camps
Camp Founder, Marty Hall, to Attend
“Early access to snow is critical and it is ideal to be on snow by November 1,” says Marty Hall, former U.S. and Canadian national coach. To accomplish this, Canada's National Cross Country Team had, for a number of years, been going to Labrador City for early skiing. But the days there were short and Hall was looking for a more friendly environment to bring the Canadian team for early season, on-snow training.
The Canadian Biathlon Team had been going to Silver Star Mountain in British Columbia for a few years, but little had been said about the conditions or the situation there. Hall decided to take a look at Silver Star in 1987 and scheduled a meeting with Norm Crerar who, at the time, was one of the owners of Silver Star. The focus of his visit was twofold: find a location for early on-snow skiing (hopefully as early as November 1) and to attract support from the facility. Hall’s pitch to Crerar was that if the national team came to Silver Star, it would attract national and divisional teams, club programs, seminars and clinics, suppliers, races and lots of competitors and recreational skiers. It would obviously help sell beds, food, overnights, ski tickets, meeting facilities, etc. And more importantly, it would create an early season Nordic focus for Silver Star. Crerar agreed to a $3,000 sponsorship plus free skiing for the team.
The next year Hall suggested that Crerar organize and run a series of master's camps. He explained the concept and how he envisioned the organization and operation and offered to help on the details. The first camp program got off the ground that next year with 65 participants. Hall continued his involvement with the camps for the next four years through the national team. During that time a fund-raising auction to benefit the national team was added, with team skiers available during meal time and to ski afternoons with the campers and do presentations.
Hall left the national team in 1992 and in 1993 became the director of the camps, a position he held until 1999. “With a real marketing and promotion effort our growth was very positive with participation increasing to 200 skiers a year,” Hall said. The camps’ biggest year was around 235 skiers. Hall worked hard to keep the camps on the leading edge of what was going on in the sport and kept tweaking the different camp formats.
The end result of this effort is that today, the month of November through mid-December is Nordic time on Silver Star mountain. A solid clientele continues to grow and change, resulting in a huge housing and hotel business for the resort. Most of the restaurants are open and, as Russell Haubrich of Putnam Station Hotel once told Hall, “if in the early years on the mountain before the camps he could have had this amount of business from the Nordic skiers, his banker would have slept a lot easier."
It was a home run for Nordic skiing, for the national team program and especially for Silver Star. “All the things I said would happen, did,” Hall proudly adds. “I had a great time being involved with all of this, from the original idea to what it is today. Nordic skiers are really some of the nicest people in the world.”
Hall is planning on attending the 20th anniversary camps and will tentatively be at Silver Star from November 30 through December 6. The 20th anniversary celebration of the annual Nordic Festival is a collaboration between Silver Star Mountain Resort and the Sovereign Lake Nordic Club. The Sovereign Lake Nordic Centre will host Nor-Am races, public demo days and Sun-On-Snow Masters Camps. Silver Star Mountain Resort will host a Ski Expo, Turkey Trot Loppet, Silver Star XC Ski Camps, national team banquet/auction, Banff Film Festival, Peak Performance Seminar and Meet the Athletes night.
For more information visit www.xccamps.ca or contact Glenn Bond, Nordic Manager, Silver Star Mountain Resort (250) 558-6085, firstname.lastname@example.org or Sovereign Lake Nordic Club (250) 558-3036.