Category Archives: Skiing

Ron Westlake

2016-ron-westlakeCollingwood’s Ron Westlake was a prolific ski racer carving the hills on the heels of Crazy Canucks Ken Read and Steve Podborski in the 1970s during the Canadian championships. At one national competition, Westlake finished third, right behind Read and Podborski, who finished first and second, respectively.

At the height of his ski racing career, Westlake finished on the podium in the Pontiac Cup series across Eastern Canada and competed in CanAm races throughout North America. He was also a regular participant at Ontario Championship events.

The runs at Blue Mountain provided the athletic training terrain for Westlake, who started skiing on hand-made skis at the age of two. Numerous pairs of skis later and in various roles as a racer, coach, instructor, and director, Westlake continues to hit the slopes 60 years later as a recreational skier and lifelong member of the Collingwood Ski Club.

Westlake coached the Southern ‘A’ ski team, and started the Jozo Weider Race Club, designed for non-private club members. He holds Level III accreditation in both the Canadian Ski Instructors Alliance and the Canadian Coaching Federation. He was a Ski and Snowboard Director for 18 years at Blue Mountain and worked in the ski industry for 34 years. In 2015-16, Westlake received the 40-year member recognition award from the Canadian Ski Alliance.

Sports have played a major role in Westlake’s life. As a youth, he was an active participant in Collingwood hockey and figure skating clubs. Westlake traded in his skis for boats during summer months, winning the Georgian Bay Sailing Regatta and was the Commodore of the Collingwood Yacht Club. He has explored the depths of Georgian Bay as an avid scuba diver and member of PADI. In recognition of his many accomplishments, Westlake was Collingwood’s Athlete of the Year in 1974.

On October 22, 2016, the Collingwood Sports Hall of Fame welcomed Ron Westlake as an enshrined member of Collingwood’s sporting history.

KELLIE CASEY

In 1973 at the age of 8, Kellie Casey moved to the Collingwood area with her family and promptly began training for a career in freestyle skiing.
She attended school in Thornbury and Meaford before transferring to Collingwood Collegiate for Grade 12 and 13. At age 12, she decided that her main skiing interest was not freestyle but rather the challenging downhill events. She began competing in the Toronto Ski Club racing programs, her firm goal now was to be and Olympic downhiller.
In 1980 she made the Southern Ontario Division team. She graduated in 1982 to the Ontario team and began racing internationally. Her top finishes in the Pontiac Cup series of 1982 and 1983 earned her a place on the development squad of the national team in 1984. In 1985, she became a member of the Canadian National Ladies Ski Team and began a regular tour of competition on the prestigious World Cup circuit. She competed and trained throughout the world, proudly carrying the name, Collingwood through many countries in Europe and America as well as into numerous major ski centres in North America. Injuries prevented her from a serious run at the 1984 Olympic Games in Sarajevo.In 1985, she placed 4th in Canada in the downhill. In 1986 she won the overall downhill title in the Nor-Am International series. In 1987, she vaulted into the 1st seed in the World Cup Downhill standings with 5th, 8th and two 12th place finishes in Europe just prior to the Olympics. She capped her bid for Olympic selection later that year with a 2nd place finish in the Canadian Championships.
At the Calgary Olympics on February 18, 1988 she was 7th out of the starting gate. On a steep twisting high speed turn at the top of Mt. Allan she lost visual contact with the terrain and crashed heavily into a safety net. The resulting torn  knee ligament ended her quest for and Olympic medal. Following surgery and extensive knee rehabilitation she returned to World Cup competition in 1989, still tanked in the first seed on the World Cup tour.
In 1990, during a downhill training run in Argentina, she sustained a back injury. This latest problem along with a still-imperfect knee was enough to heed the medical advice and to call it a career. Kellie still proudly calls the Collingwood area her home. She skied regularly and got great satisfaction in instructing young racers at Blue Mountain Resort and the Toronto Ski club on weekends. Kellie attended the University of Guelph to study veterinary science.

MARCELLA PLATER KEITH

Marcella Keith was inducted into the Collingwood Sports Hall of Fame in July, l984 through her exploits in Track & Field and Alpine Skiing.

Marcella was a recognized Track and Field Champion in 1946, 1947 & 1948 at meets in Kitchener-Waterloo, Owen Sound, Orillia. In 1947, she was the C.C.I. Girls Champion while in 1946 & 47 Marcella was 1st in C.C.I.’s inaugeral alpine ski meet. In 1947, 1948 & 1949 Marcella was combined champion at meets in Huntsville, Own Sound & Collingwood.

Marcella was a graduate of Blue Mountain’s first Ski Patrol class in 1949. When not patrolling the hills to assist others, Marcella was crowned Collingwood Ski Club Senior Ladies Champion in 1963 & 1964.

 

GRETA McGILLIVRAY

Skiing became part of Greta Jepsen’s life five years after she was born in the Caledon Hills and she followed the snow trails in competition and for pleasure for forty-five years.
A member of an athletic family, (her father, the late Svend Jepsen was once a star member of the Danish National Gymnastic Team), Mrs. McGillivray not only excelled in skiing but was proficient in tennis, swimming, gymnastics and figure skating. Ski training came natural as she skied two and a half miles to school every day in the wintertime from her Caledon home to Inglewood.
She went to work at Quebec’s Mount Tremblant in 1952 and started competing in all races in that area to gain rating with the Laurentian Zone. At that time there was no rating in Ontario. She won Class “A” rating with her performances at St. Savieur, Mount Gabriel, St. Jovite and Val Cartier.
Her first big victory came in the 1952 Tachereau, where she set a record. This success was followed by a Gold Medal win at Mount Tremblant and another record for women. In 1953 she competed in all the major Class “A” races-Ryan Cup, Canadian Championships, Kandahar-and finally was selected to go win the Canadian National Team to the North America and World Championships at Mount Mansfield, Stowe, in Vermont. At the world championships she placed thirteenth. In 1956 Greta won the Ontario Ladies Class “A” title and repeated in 1957.
She has won the Southern Ontario title six times and the Osler Bluff Senior championship on several occasions. Over the years she has taken a keen interest in the development of young skiers and at the present time conducts a cross country school two days a week in the winter months. Greta was been a valued official in local ski meets for twenty years – principally as a chief starter.
Mrs. McGillivray is very much into cross country skiing and she feels she is part of her beloved Blue Mountain. “There is no part of the Blue Mountain that is foreign to me. “I’ve criss-crossed its contours on foot and on skis and usually climb it three or four times a week. Spring, Summer, Fall or Winter- the Blue Mountain is my home” she stated recently. Mrs. McGillivray’s son and three daughters all competed for the Queen’s University Ski Team.
Greta McGillivray had come along way in the world of skiing since she cavorted over the hills of Caledon. She is a worthy and welcome addition to Collingwood’s Sports Hall of Fame.

 

MARIE & KATHY ROBINSON

The skiing careers of the sisters Marie and Kathy Robinson ran parallel to the point where we saw fit enter them in the Sports Hall of Fame together as near twins. They are not twins; Marie is one year older than Kathy.
The Robinson girls started skiing as members of the fledgling Collingwood Ski Club back in the early 1940’s at the ages of nine and ten. They started on home made skiis made by the late Alf Morrill and his son, Lawrence. Marie won the Ontario Junior title in 1945 at Owen Sound while Kathy picked up the 3rd prize. From then on, it was the Robinson sisters finishing one and two in the most of the important meets throughout Ontario.
In the 1934 Ontario High School meet in Owen Sound, Marie won the downhill and slalom and finished 2nd in the cross country, her first try in this event. She repeated in 1946 with Kathy picking up a pair of seconds. In the 1947 Junior high school championships, it was the Robinson sisters all the way. Marie won the slalom and placed second in the downhill while Kathy scored third places in both events. In 1948, Marie won the downhill and Kathy took the slalom. In the same year, Marie won the Senior Girls’ title and Kathy took top honours in the Junior championships. The two sisters scored aw total of fourteen points as the Collingwood Girls’ Ski team won the Senior High School championships for the 4th year in a row. Perhaps the highlight so Marie’s career came on February 27, 1949, in the Ontario Junior Provincial Championships. It turned out to a nip and tuck battle between Anne Heggtveit, the first Canadian to win a gold medal in the Olympics, and Marie Robinson of the Collingwood Ski Club. Anne, who was then racing under the colours of the Ottawa Ski Club, beat Marie by winning the downhill by an eyelash in the Slalom race but Marie turned the tables on Anne by winning the downhill. In the combined events, Heggtveit edged Marie by a fraction of a point – 77.06 to 76.28.
There is not telling just how far the Robinson girls would have gone in the world of skiing had they chose to make full career of the sport. Both sisters gave up competitive skiing at the end of the 1949 season at the peak of form. Incidentally, Marie is the mother of Doug Risebrough, former star forward of the N.H.L. Montreal Canadiens & Calgary Flames.

 

KATHERINE WEIDER CANNING

Kathy Weider, like her twin sister, Anna, started skiing at the age of four. She had the marks of a champion before she reached the age of ten and it came as no surprise when she captured the Southern Ontario Junior Alpine Combined title in 1959 and followed up this success with a second place in Canadian Alpine Combined, second in the Downhill and third in the Slalom at the Osler Bluffs the same year.
It was a banner year for Kathy in 1960 as this record attests: First in the Junior Ontario Alpine Combined and a first in the Slalom and second in the Downhill.Just two weeks later she picked up a bushel of silver trophies in the All- Ontario Junior Championships: First in the Alpine Combined, First in the three-way combined (Alpine and Cross Country); First in the Downhill and second in the Slalom. Then came the Canadian Junior championships: First in the Alpine and Cross Country, third in the Alpine Combined, third in the Slalom and she was a member of winning Ontario Ladies Team. That year the Canadian Championships were held in Thetford Mines, Quebec.
IN 1961, Kathy added to her laurels with wins in the Southern Ontario Alpine Combined and Slalom and a second place finish in the Downhill.
In 1962 she made the Canadian National “B” team and won the Quebec Senior Downhill title.
In 1963 Kathy competed in the Middlebury College Bowl in Connecticut and placed third in the Alpine Combined and the Slalom.
1964 was a season of victories: Three first place finishes in the senior Alpine Combined and Slalom and Downhill in the Quebec Senior meet. Three more wins in the Quebec Senior Zone “A” Divisional (Alpine, Slalom and Downhill). It must be pointed out that in the years 1962-63-64 Kathy competed under the colours of the University of McGill in Quebec.
She finished off the 1964 season with sensational slalom victories at Mount Plante and Val Dord.
The following year (1965) her major win came in the feature Slalom in the French Zone Championships at Chambousse, France. At that time she was competing under the colours of the University of Grenoble.
In 1966 Kathy won the Southern Ontario Senior Ladies’ Alpine Combined. She was invited to represent the Canadian-American Circuit.

 

ANNA WEIDER MARIK

The induction of Anna Weider Marik into Collingwood’s Sports Hall of Fame will probably complete a record we may never see equaled.Four members of one family in a Sports Hall of Fame-Helen Weider McGillivray, Kathy Weider Canning, Anna Weider Marik and their illustrious father, the pioneer of skiing in Collingwood , the late Jozo Weider.

Like her twin sister, Anna also donned skis just about the same time she learned to walk. Her first success came in 1959 in the Southern Ontario Junior Alpine Combined. 1960 was probably her most successful season: First in the All-Ontario Junior Slalom and second place finishes in the Alpine Combined and the Downhill. In the same year, four medals in the Canadian Junior Championships- a first in the Downhill, Silver medals in the Combined Alpine and Slalom and a member of the championship – Ontario Ladies Team.She topped off this highly successful season with a pair of firsts in the three-day combined and the Slalom and two silvers in the Downhill and Alpine Combined at the Canadian at the Canadian Junior Championships held at Jasper, Alberta.

In 1961 Anna completed in the Southern Ontario Junior championships and won a first in the Downhill and two second place finishes in the Slalom and Combined Alpine.

In 1962, her last season in major competition, Anna was named to the Canadian National Ski team.

HELEN WEIDER McGILLIVRAY

Many Collingwood skiers will follow in the footsteps of this little girl but Helen was the first local skier to win national honours. She was the first competitive skier to enter the Hall of Fame. Helen learned to ski about the same time she learned to walk. She was competing in recognized ski meets at the age of ten and was runner-up in the Ontario Junior Girls’ meet in Huntsville. Helen raised the eyes of the experts in 1952 when she won the Southern Ontario Zone Junior Championship and the little girl from the brow of the blue hills was on her way.

In 1953, Helen, aged 14, finished fourth in the Junior Canadian championships at Fort William. In 1954 she won the Junior title at Port Arthur and repeated the performance again in 1955 by making a clean sweep of the slalom, downhill and alpine events. Her educational ambitions took precedence over skiing for almost two years but she returned to major ski competition in 1957 to win the Gabey Pleau Trophy, emblematic of combined skiing, Helen had given freely of her and talents in the promotion and development of young up and coming skiers.

 

WERNER ZOTTER

Werner Zotter was born to ski in his native Austria, a country famous for champions down through the ages.

He came to Canada with his parents at the age of nine in 1953 and it was not long before he was recognized as an up and comer.

Werner practically lived on the slopes of theBlueMountainbut he found time to launch a modest minor hockey career. He was a better than average goalkeeper on several teams in the Collingwood Minor Hockey system.

In 1959, he won the Southern Ontario Zone championship, repeated in 1960 and won the Canadian title the same season.

A year later, Werner won the Zone title again and annexed the Alpine and Nordic titles with the Ontario Combined.

The same year he captured Junior championship and in 1962 was crowned the Ontario Senior Champion.

His greatest season was in 1966 when he won theOntariofour-way title (Downhill, Alpine, Jumping and Slalom), the Canadian Junior Alpine and his crowing achievement, the Wilkinson Sword Speed Trails atGeorgianPeaks. On that day he averaged eighty-four miles per hour in three downhill runs. It was a record that has never been broken to this day.

He won several competitions in theUnited Statesin 1967 and 68 and came back to win the Southern Ontario Alpine in 1969.

The next two years he coached Canadian Junior team in Trail and later was a ski instructor and coach at Broadmore, Colorado.

Werner spend  many summers in California but returned to Blue Mountain to work with his father in Zotter’s Ski Shop.

JIM SINCLAIR

Having never been much of a cross-country skier as a youth, Duntroon’s Jim Sinclair still can’t explain why he became so involved with the sport that has earned his induction as a builder into the Collingwood Sports Hall of Fame.

After being exposed to Nordic skiing while on a three-year teaching stint in Sault Ste. Marie in the early ’60s, the 74-year-old Sinclair stepped into the coaching role of the Collingwood Collegiate’s cross-country squad for almost 20 years while also serving as an automotive instructor at the school. “I don’t know why we were drawn to
it, but we were. We used to ski as a family at Blue Mountain all the time – and I know it seems like a pittance now – but $5 for a lift ticket was too much,” Sinclair said. “So we tried something different. I took some technique lessons and it just grew from there. It was a pretty young sport at that time. Another teacher, Greg Titus, tried to get a Nordic team going, but he was involved with so many other sports, so I put my name in.”

Sinclair literally wrote the book on organizing cross-country skiing races for the
Southern Ontario Division for the provincial sports association and he helped
establish the successful Highlands Nordic facility in Duntroon, which is now owned and operated by his oldest son, Larry. With approximately 500 members and over 21 kilometres of trails, Highlands Nordic has become a world-class facility that has hosted several major competitions, including national championships, the 1993 world high school meet and the 1997 Special Olympics World Winter Games.

Sinclair played a key organizing role in those events, along with many others, including the 1991 Ontario Winter Games and the OFSAA championships in 1974 at Kolapore.

He downplays his role as a catalyst behind the development of Highlands Nordic and cross-country skiing at CCI and in southern Ontario in general, but his dedication continues to this day. He planned and worked on trails in Loree Forest, what is now Central Park in Collingwood and Huron Highlands and began hosting Georgian Bay and Ontario high school meets.

“I always said I was never going to do another trail after those and then I got into it big time at Highlands Nordic,” the Ottawa native added. “(Duntroon Highlands Golf Club founder) Dalt Sampson started the skiing and he cleared a lot of the trails himself. I don’t think that man ever skied, but he knew enough to make a nice, wide trail and didn’t make turns at the bottom of hills. Everything was done right the first
time around.”

This evening, October 23, 2004, the Collingwood Sports Hall of Fame welcomes Jim
Sinclair as an enshrined member for his role as a Builder of our athletic community.