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Former alpine skier shares memories of Blue Mountain Ski Club

People of Collingwood: David Christie, 2020 inductee to the Collingwood Sports Hall of Fame
2022-05-02 POCChristie JO-001
David Christie is one of the 2020 inductees to the Collingwood Sports Hall of Fame for his contributions to alpine skiing.

With pandemic restrictions easing, the 2020 Collingwood Sports Hall of Fame inductees will finally be able to accept their accolades in-person on May 14.

For this week’s edition of People of Collingwood we spoke with one of the individual inductees, David Christie, 86, who will be honoured for his contributions to alpine skiing.

Q: For how long have you lived in the Collingwood area?

A: I’ve lived in the Collingwood area all my life.

I was born in Collingwood, on the kitchen table.

I went to elementary school at (King) George School. I went to high school at CCI (Collingwood Collegiate Institute).

We lived on Campbell Street until I moved to Rob Roy about five years ago.

Q: After graduating, what did you do then?

A: I went to the University of Guelph. I studied agriculture because my family owned Smarts Farm and I wanted to take it over someday. It was 350 acres.

They grew everything; pears, apples, asparagus and other vegetables.

I tried to take over the farm but there was a firm in Thornbury that had priority. Smarts was as big as the Shipyards as an employer.

Q: Did you work as a farmer in your working life?

A: No. I was a salesman for Chipman Chemicals. I was on the board of directors for Smarts Farm. I also ran Bell Electric in Collingwood for a time.

Q: When did you first start skiing?

A: We used to ski on the hills at about five or six. Maybe younger that that. I’ve skied my whole life.

My children and grandchildren are also skiers. They ski way better than I did. (laughs)

Q: You were the 1953 Junior Ontario Alpine champion, and had a first and third-place finish in the 1954 Ontario Championship Senior C Class. Can you tell me a little bit about that?

A: I was 17.

I missed the ceremony. I was in Meaford with Katie (my now-wife of 65 years). When I got home, my mother announced that I had won the race. She sent me back out to the ski hill.

Q: You were also a founding member of the Blue Mountain Ski Club. How did that start?

A: I was a president of the club.

It was a good experience. Jozo Weider gave us an acre of land off of Blue Mountain Resort. My friends and I decided there had to be a ski club built.

There wasn’t a lot of funds, so we had to do dances and social functions to raise the funds. I liked them very much. They didn’t have a licence for beer, but I got away with it for a long time. (laughs)

Q: Do you still ski?

A: No. I broke my hip. I was biking at the time. They tried to fix it but it didn’t work. This was about 10 years ago. It was time to quit anyway. I was 75.

I had a stroke last September.

I miss skiing. I go there (to Blue Mountain) often to watch.

Q: Do you have any other hobbies or endeavours to which you give your time?

A: I was a Rotarian. I gave time to the Rotary Club of Collingwood and the Rotary Club of Collingwood-South Georgian Bay. Now I’m a retired member of the Gore Bay Rotary Club.

I’ve also painted since I was six or seven. Over the years, I’ve probably painted 500 paintings.

Q: When you found out you were being inducted into the Collingwood Sports Hall of Fame, how did you feel in that moment?

A: Honoured. My daughter Kathy made the application.

I’m not going to the ceremony. The risk for me is too great. I’m not well. There are 200 people going, and we don’t want to catch COVID-19.

I feel bad about it.

Q: If you could attend, what would you say as a speech?

A: I would thank the committee for accepting me. I’d thank my daughter, Kathy, and my family for their support.

I’m not a big speaker anyway.

For our feature People of Collingwood, we’ll be speaking with interesting people who are either from or are contributing to the Collingwood community in some way, letting them tell their own stories in their own words. This feature will run on CollingwoodToday every weekend. If you’d like to nominate or suggest someone to be featured in People of Collingwood, email jessica@villagemedia.ca.