Hall of Famer
A founding director and later chairman of the Canadian Ski Council, Douglas Wilson, was instrumental in connecting people within the ski industry to improve and advance skiing and access to snowsports in Canada.
An inspired promoter of skiing, Doug devoted over 60 years to connecting all factions of the industry; from competitors, instructors, area operators, manufacturers, to distributors and retailers. He was the ultimate ‘glue guy’ within the snowsports community.
Doug grew up in Vancouver and learned to ski as a teenager on Grouse Mountain with his older brother, Stanley, and was known to “sing and yodel” from the chairlift, much to the pleasure of the skiers below.
This was a symbol of Doug’s personality, one that helped galvanize the ski industry in Canada. As Judy Kilbourne, co-founder and CEO of the Canadian Ski Council, said, “He was a great man who brought humour and humanity to the industry.”
Doug joined the ski patrol at Grouse Mountain at the young age of 16, in part because of the social opportunities. Craig Wilson, his eldest child, expressed, “He wanted to be part of a group that loved skiing and the ski patrol hut was the focus for that group, it was an important social circle.”
Doug aspired to be a doctor, but it wasn’t in the cards for him as medical school proved financially prohibitive. “Perhaps joining the ski patrol, as his brother did before him, was a replacement,” said Janet Wilson, Doug’s wife of 57 years.
He was a diligent and dedicated patroller, known for his unwavering attention to safety on the slopes. Shared by his daughter, Lisa Wilson Duff, “Growing up, we were drilled with the Alpine Responsibility Code – we knew it like the back of our hand!”
In 1956, Doug took a job with the McCulloch Corporation and was transferred to Toronto. Once there, he quickly discovered the joys of the Niagara Escarpment, joining the ski patrol at Blue Mountain. He quickly became patrol leader and then Central Zone President for the Canadian Ski Patrol.
However, this stint in Ontario was relatively short-lived. The McCulloch Corp. transferred him to Los Angeles in the early 1960s, where he spent a ski season with the U.S. Ski Patrol at Mammoth Mountain, California, before being moved to Belgium.
Doug returned to Canada in 1966, where he qualified as a Red Cross first-aid instructor and examiner. He went on to become the first Ontario Zone President and National Director for the Canadian Ski Patrol. He became Chairman of the Ontario Ski Council, which, with Judy Kilbourne, then led to the formation of the Canadian Ski Council in 1977.
Also during this time, Doug and Jan started a family and became members of the newly founded Beaver Valley Ski Club. Doug joined the ski patrol and was a strong supporter of the racing program. He spent 50 years enjoying his ski chalet, a structure he cobbled together from a historic shepherd’s cabin into a beloved family gathering place. Today the third generation of Wilsons continues his legacy.
Doug collaborated with and brought together many insiders of the Canadian ski industry. He was instrumental in assisting with funding and encouraging cooperation in all aspects of snowsports. One of his crowning achievements was the creation of the Grade 4/5 SnowPass. This highly successful program encouraged children across Canada to take up skiing at very low cost and continues today.
As the Canadian distributor for Fischer Skis, Doug became the primary sponsor of the Crazy Canucks during the period in which the legendary Canadian ski racers were at the forefront of the World Cup circuit. Later, Doug ventured out on his own, founding Uvex Toko Canada (UTC) which continued the sponsorship of many cross-country, nordic, freestyle and alpine skiers, both at the national and provincial levels, with Uvex helmets and goggles and Toko waxes. Even today, the iconic blue and pink Uvex helmet can been seen on many videos and movies featuring these athletes.
Doug’s energetic and positive outlook endeared him to his colleagues. “When you’re in a fun business you’ll never work a day in your life,” said his son Craig, a mantra that his Dad personified during his long career in the ski industry. UTC later launched the Flow Snowboard brand in Canada and the US markets. Doug’s passion was to develop the best snowsports products. He fostered a whole generation of skiers and snowboarders to be passionate about the sport and the industry.
Doug Wilson’s generous nature, collaborative mindset, and charismatic energy helped many organizations find their footing in Canadian snowsports during his over 60 years in the industry.
- Appreciation Award, Canadian Ski Council.
- Award of Appreciation, Canadian Ski Patrol System
- Award of Excellence, Ski It to Believe It.
- Development and Growth of Skiing in Ontario, Ontario Ski Council.
- Canadian Ski Patrol System, Patrol Leader, Zone President, Division President
- Ontario Ski Council, Founding Chairman
- Canadian Ski Council, Founder, Board Member, and Chairman
- National Ski Industries Association, Board Member
- Ontario Red Cross, Instructor and Examiner
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