The End of a Remarkable Career

Sunday March 22, 2009, marked a special day for the Lake Louise Ski Patrol, and for the larger Lake Louise family as well. Peter Spear, a member of the Canadian Ski Patrol System and Calgary resident, patrolled his last day at Lake Louise after an amazing 45 years on the patrol. With knee surgery quickly approaching, Peter though it a good time to hang up his pack. He fully intends to be back on the slopes once the recovery is over, just not in a patrol jacket.

Peter has seen the Lake Louise Ski Area evolve from two little and separate ski areas into what it is today, and is full of amazing stories about how it was to patrol over the decades. For example, he estimates that over those 45 years he drove 130,000km to and from Calgary, and has ridden a total of seventeen lifts in various places and incarnations at Lake Louise. Peter was also the one who resolved the mystery of where the Paradise Pocket avalanche path got its name when I wondered about it in an earlier post (Avalanche Areas Below Tree-Line).

Much to my delight, Peter has agreed to spend a bit of his recovery time writing about his time patrolling at Lake Louise so that I can post it here. His great memory and deep involvement with the ski area will provide lots of interesting stories, and I look forward to being able to help him share them. His presence on the Ski Patrol will be missed, but we look forward to seeing Peter on the slopes of Lake Louise in the near future.

Thanks Peter!

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3 Comments on “The End of a Remarkable Career”

  1. Jay Paylor says:

    On behalf of the Lake Louise Ski Friend program I congratulate Peter on a remarkable career serving the public.

    Were it not for Peter and his amazing spouse Barb, the Ski Friends organization might well not exist.

    Through the last 30 years Peter has been mentor and cheerleader for the Ski Friends and we are all indebted to him for his support.

    Good luck with your surgery Peter and get well soon. We’ll all miss you while you’re away.

  2. CJ Ennis says:

    Well I have come across your blog via facebook – but upon reading about Peter’s retirement from the LL CSPS has brought back some memories as a child that has grown up with CSPS patrollers.

    I look forward to reading Peter’s memoirs as a patroller at Lake Louise. My father, George, was a very active patroller in the 70’s and 80’s. My mother, Gail, was one of the original Ski Friends along with Barb Spear and is still an active Ski Friend.

    Some of the memories I have as a child with regards to the CSPS at Lake Louise:

    1) Sitting with dad doing a hut duty on Eagle Hut – not at the top of the old Eagle chair, but the little hut that was/is below the top of the Eagle chair – if it is still there, it is used for storage now.

    2) Whitehorn patrol – before it became a residence.

    3) Seeing the construction of the “New Whiskeyjack” patrol (I must admit that I was 6 at the time).

    There are many memories as well of us “Patroller Kids” in the parking lot in campers as our parents would be at a patrol party/function – this is in the time before parks clamped down on camping in the parking lot.

    I wish Peter all the best for his surgery and look forward to following this blog more.

  3. Rich Law says:

    Whats remarkable about Peter is his knowledge about the Mountain both from a ski side as well as an environmental side.
    Riding the lift and skiing the hill with Peter is always an education and always informative. I hope he resumes his trips back to Louise to spend time and pass on that wealth of knowledge to others. Even if he isn’t pulling oversize loads down the hill, I will always welcome his insight.


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