Rossland makes pitch for ski museum

Rossland is flexing its historical muscles as it attempts to lure the Canadian Ski Hall of Fame and Museum to the mountain kingdom.

The City of Rossland is flexing its historical muscles as it attempts to lure the Canadian Ski Hall of Fame and Museum to the mountain kingdom.

With a history as deep as its powder when it comes to downhill skiing — including Nancy Greene Raine, George Grey, Kerrin Lee Gartner and Olaus Jeldness, the father of competitive skiing in Canada — the city is a natural fit for the museum, said Rossland Mayor Greg Granstrom in a letter Thursday.

On Jan. 8 the museum issued a call for proposals for new premises to be ready for the fall of 2012 as it prepares to vacate its building in Ottawa.

“The city of Rossland … is one of the most preeminent entities in the history of skiing in Canada,” Mayor Granstrom said in the letter.

With a host of ski athletes that have performed admirably on the world downhill stage, and a resume that contains many achievements in the ski industry — including the first ski lift in Western Canada and the first World Cup event in North America in 1968 — the city has the necessary ski history, said Mayor Granstrom.

And it has the facility. He pointed to the Rossland Museum’s success in depicting the history of mining and skiing in the region, and its plans to significantly upgrade and enhance the facility, as other factors as to why the city was a perfect fit for the ski museum.

“Both the city and the board of directors have extensive experience in the preservation and display of extremely valuable artifacts and archives that are researched worldwide,” he said.

The city contacted Chris Edgell, the leader of the task force on future of the Canadian Ski Hall of Fame and Museum, on Thursday — the last day for submissions — with a request to present their proposal to the board.

But the city may be up against some tough competition within B.C. as Revelstoke has also thrown its hat into the ring.

At its council meeting on Tuesday, the idea of making a bid for the museum was supported, with the 5,000-square-foot Century Vallen building proposed.

A lack of funding has predicated the museum’s move, with donations and memberships not adequately sustaining the growth in the collection and the need for a professional curator.

The museum is now looking for over 4,000 sq. ft. of climate-controlled, easily accessible, exhibit, storage and office space, preferably in a high traffic area attractive to skiers of all disciplines and others interested in the history of skiing.

As well, significant revenue and in-kind contributions are expected form the cornerstone of a projected annual operating cost of $250,000.

“In the spirit of encompassing the Canadian history of skiing and its breadth across our country, it may be feasible to endorse an inclusive plan which will enable Eastern and Western proposals to coordinate with each other in a meaningful way,” said Edgell in the call for proposals.

However, in an interview March 24, 2011 in Ottawa This Week, Ivo Krepka, the president of the Canadian Ski Museum and Canadian Ski Hall of Fame, hinted that the ski memorabilia at the current museum might become part of a new exhibit at the Museum of Civilization in Gatineau.

He was reluctant to have the museum’s contents go to another space outside of Ottawa, but was not completely opposed to the idea if the right one came along.

“Wherever the items go, Krepka said he has two primary concerns: that the artifacts are properly preserved and that items are accessible to Canadians,” the article read.