Saturday, September 25, 2010

A Glimpse into the Past...Blue River BC

Brenda rippin' the pow in the Cariboos

Blue River BC was established as an outpost for trappers and prospectors prior to the establishment of the CN Rail Line.

Most folks understand this history of Blue River, BC, however what is not widely known is that Blue River is one of the primary birthplaces of "Backcountry Skiing" in Western Canada. We know lot's about the Canadian Pacific Railway legacy of bringing organized mountain vacations to the Rockies and Selkirk ranges in eastern BC around the turn of the past century. What most people don't realize is that next to Revelstoke, Blue River was the hub of backcountry skiing.

Since the early, early 1900's prospectors and trappers who made it to Blue River were from many different countries including the Scandinavian countries. It was one of these Norwegian immigrants that brought backcountry skiing to Blue River, while surveying the rail line for CN. These intrepid explorers felt right at home under the extensive alpine lands surrounding Blue River. Seeking out to establish a high elevation cabin they choose one of the nearest peaks to build their mountain getaway, around 1916 at an elevation of 5200 ft. This established Blue River as a "skiing destination" decades before the development of Mike Wiegele's helicopter skiing venture.

This private mountain cabin is still owned by the family today and it stands as testament to the early history of backcountry skiing in Western Canada. Ski clubs from around BC made their way to Blue River to experience the immense amount of snow and fine powder skiing of the Cariboos. Many members of these early ski clubs made their way up the mountain on foot and skis to the cabin on the lower slopes of Mt.Cook. This historical and magical place is where I began backcountry skiing two decades ago.

It remains in my heart as a sacred place in the nearby snowy mountains.


  1. Very gorgeous photo. I can remember the first trip you made with the entire pack of siblings back then and it was a high point because it included Celeste on her first trip and racing in Blue River with the great banquets they hosted after the races.

  2. I wasn't yet born during the ski racing events at the Blue River ski hill but I'm sure it was memorable. Just driving there in the middle of winter in the 60's would have been fun. That first family excursion to Cook, saw all five of us kids up there that New Years! I remember that trip like it was yesterday. Mike and Grace were there too~!