Boo­gie Moun­tain cel­e­brates 55 years

The Mid-North Monitor - - News - PA­TRI­CIA DROHAN

Es­panola’s Boo­gie Moun­tain Ski Hill is be­gin­ning a new sea­son with lots of changes that will chal­lenge both young and old. From tra­di­tional down­hill ski­ing, to snow­board­ing to freestyle jump­ing, Boo­gie Moun­tain will have it all.

The ski hill is celebrating its 55th year thanks to vol­un­teers over the past five decades, who have kept the ski hill a vi­tal recre­ational spot, not only for Es­panola ski en­thu­si­asts, but for vis­i­tors from all over.

For those of you who won­dered how Boo­gie Moun­tain got its name, there is a ‘Boo­gie’ or rather, Ar­mand Bour­guignon who was one of the main founders of the present day ski hill. In 1997, the ski hill was named af­ter Bour­guignon to hon­our his life­time of con­tri­bu­tions to ski­ing in Es­panola.

Bour­guignon, born in Sul­tan, near Chap­leau in 1937, was an avid skier from the age of 13. He be­came a com­pet­i­tive ski jumper in the 1950s through­out On­tario and Que­bec, par­tic­i­pat­ing in the Cana­dian cham­pi­onships. He also com­peted in down­hill, cross-coun­try, slalom ski­ing as well as jump­ing.

When the cham­pion skier moved to Es­panola in 1957, he brought his ex­per­tise and en­thu­si­asm for the sport, but had to cre­ate a place to en­joy it. He and some other skiers started “brush­ing the hill” at Nel­son’s Hill on Old Nairn Road. He and avid skiers, Jackie and Gor­don Dysart started a ski club at Nel­son Hill in 1959. They fash­ioned a rope tow to the top of the hill by run­ning the rope around the axle of an old truck.

Within three years, the club pur­chased the land at the present-day ski hill, just off Mead Boule­vard. They in­stalled a power T-bar and Bour­guignon main­tained that equip­ment for years. He not only ran the club with the help of many vol­un­teers, he also coached hun­dreds of Es­panola’s youth at the hill. Back then, they also built a 25-me­tre wooden ski jump so youths could learn how to jump.

In the 1970s the Dysarts, Bour­guignon and other vol­un­teers pur­chased two old com­pany houses that were back in the bush be­hind where Dom­tar is now lo­cated. These build­ings were dis­man­tled and brought over to the ski hill piece-by-piece and re­con­structed over a ce­ment cel­lar that the vol­un­teers had built.

Up un­til just a few years ago, Bour­guignon still vol­un­teered at the hill. This year, Heather Wil­son has stepped down as pres­i­dent, with Ed Stortz com­ing in as the new pres­i­dent. Paula Stortz is sec­re­tary, Mike St. Amour is vice-pres­i­dent and Mar­i­lyn Wittmann is the trea­surer. JC Bour­guignon, son of Ar­mand, has been one of the vol­un­teers for years at the hill.

This year, Tom and Clau­dia Hutchin­son, own­ers of Hutch Ski/Snow­board Academy will be full­time at Boo­gie Moun­tain. Tom is the new gen­eral man­ager and his wife Clau­dia is the di­rec­tor of the snow sports school. They are mov­ing from Que­bec into the Es­panola area, bring­ing years of ex­pe­ri­ence and their ex­per­tise in the sport of freestyle ski­ing. Tom is a three-time Olympic freestyle coach and Clau­dia is a level 200 coach.

With the Hutchin­sons on board at Boo­gie Moun­tain, there will be a snow sports school this year for all ages and abil­i­ties.

“Hutch Academy will be work­ing with the sports school, de­vel­op­ing con­tin­u­ous pro­grams in freestyle from be­gin­ner to a com­pet­i­tive team,” said Clau­dia.

Start­ing Oct. 16, Boo­gie Moun­tain will of­fer an af­ter-school pro­gram for chil­dren fo­cus­ing on phys­i­cal con­di­tion­ing that will get them into shape for the com­ing ski sea­son.

Nov. 18, will see the first “rail jam” at Boo­gie Moun­tain.

“We will have rails for the lit­tlest peo­ple to the very ex­pe­ri­enced. There will be a prize for par­tic­i­pat­ing, and mu­sic, food and an af­ter party for every­one,” said Hutchin­son.

The com­mit­tee is also look­ing for vol­un­teers to help with brush cut­ting and paint­ing the chalet on Oct. 14, and there will be a bar­be­cue for all vol­un­teers.

There are jobs to be filled at Boo­gie Moun­tain and the com­mit­tee will be hir­ing can­teen staff and lift oper­a­tor staff. Re­sumes are re­quired and in­ter­views can be sched­uled at the ski hill af­ter Oct. 14. The fall mem­ber­ship sale is from Oct. 14 to Nov. 18.

PHO­TOS SUPPLIED

Snow­board­ing and freestyle jump­ing will be taught at Boo­gie Moun­tain Ski Hill this sea­son, with af­ter-school pro­grams be­gin­ning Oct. 16, fo­cus­ing on phys­i­cal con­di­tion­ing to get youths ready for the slopes.

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