Rossland offers a new location for the Canadian Ski Hall of Fame and Museum
As the Rossland Museum seeks to renew its momentum after the closure of the Black Bear mining adit, formerly the museum’s main attraction, Mayor Greg Granstrom recently wrote to Chris Edgell of the Canadian Ski Hall of Fame (CSHF) in Ottawa to offer “a serious expression of interest by the City of Rossland to provide a new and exciting premises” for the institution.
The CSHF “exists to collect, preserve and display ski and snowboard related objects, to interpret an artifact’s significance to Canada, and to celebrate the achievements of individuals associated with skiing from pioneers to the present.”
Granstrom’s letter suggested that Rossland was a “natural fit” for a “relocation” of the CSHF, and asked the institution’s board to give Rossland the opportunity to present a proposal to that effect.
The letter noted Rossland’s “preeminent” role in the history of skiing and the Rossland Museum’s separate wing devoted to celebrating this history with an “extensive collection of related materials.”
The mayor pointed out that Red Mountain’s lift was the first in western Canada and, at that time, the longest in Canada. In 1968, Rossland hosted the first World Cup event in North America, and all along the city has produced “a host of athletes who have performed admirably on the world stage,” both in downhill and cross-country events.
“Our local ski heroes are many, including Nancy Greene Raine, George Grey, Kerrin Lee Gartner, and, of course, Olaus Jeldness, the father of competitive skiing in Canada,” he wrote.
Granstrom noted that the city, the museum, and Teck are “currently developing plans to significantly upgrade and enhance our museum’s facility with the objective to enrich the tourist experience and insure [sic] our museum’s sustainability.”
“Both the city and the [museum’s] board of directors have extensive experience in the preservation and display of extremely valuable artifacts and archives that are researched worldwide,” he added.
Granstrom’s letter concluded, “[We] look forward to developing a partnership that maintains and builds on the great efforts of the [CSHF] Board.
On Monday evening, council supported the mayor’s efforts and encouraged him to assemble a “task force,” which Granstrom said he was keen to start right away.
Coun. Kathy Moore asked, “Do we know the timing for the proposal?”
“No,” Granstrom replied, “but I’ve had ongoing talks with the [CSHF], and the best guess they can give me is two to three months to put something like that together.”
“What I would like is council’s blessing to move forward with a task force and put together some kind of proposal,” he said. “Certainly there’s been a lot of support within the community, not just for presenting the proposal, but also for people who might want to get involved.”
Moore said she thought it was a great idea, but hoped the task force would also look at “costs and benefits,” to which the mayor agreed.
The mayor also referred to correspondence with a group that develop museums worldwide and approached the city when they heard of Rossland’s interest in the Hall of Fame.
“They may be someone we go to, to help develop the proposal. There’s a lot of interest out there,” Granstrom said.
Coun. Kathy Moore suggested, “To put together a winning proposal, we might need some help.”
The mayor agreed, but replied, “Citizen engagement is the first step.”