Congratulations to one of our own, Tyler Nicholson, on being named to the Canadian Olympic Team that is heading to South Korea next month.  As announced earlier this week by the Canadian Olympic Committee and Canada Snow Board, Tyler has been selected to represent Canada in the slopestyle and big air snowboard events.  We wish Tyler the greatest of success in Korea and there is no doubt that an entire city in Northern Ontario, will be cheering him on to Gold.

The day after the announcement of Tyler’s selection, The North Bay & District Chamber of Commerce had the opportunity to host an Open House event in conjunction with Laurentian Ski Hill at the Upper Chalet at the top of the hill.  Walking through the Chalet and seeing photographs of Kate Pace-Lindsay participating in Olympic as well as World Cup Ski races and seeing Steve Omischl’s autographed Olympic ski suit reminded me how fortunate we are as a community, to have a ski hill located in the middle of our City.

When you look at any of the biographical information on Kate, Steve and now Tyler, they all share a common thread.  That thread being Laurentian Ski Hill.  Each one of these world class athlete’s, got their first taste of skiing and competition right here on Ski Club Road.  Laurentian Ski Club in Widdifield Township, as it was known by previously, has been in operations for just short of a century.

The “Hill” has had its ups and downs (excuse the pun) over that period and has seen many of its counterparts in other Northern cities close and cease operations.  Ownership and operations have also seen a variety of iterations, with the latest being a group of dedicated volunteers who operate the hill as a not for profit on behalf of the City of North Bay and the North Bay Mattawa Conservation Authority.  During the open house I had the opportunity to speak to many the volunteer members of the Board and they are passionate about the “Hill” and what it means to them.

Each of them spoke of growing up in North Bay and that Laurentian was a part of their formative years.  When the ski hill fell on hard times in the late nineties, a group of individuals (including a former Premier of the Province) stepped up to the plate and said no, it was not going to close.  The reasoning back then was simple, this was part of what made North Bay unique and it was a valuable asset for not just the City, but for our children and future generations.  Flash forward to today and that same holds true of the current Board, volunteers, and staff.

Good luck to Tyler in Korea and thank you to all the volunteers and citizens of our area who have supported and kept the “Hill” in operation for all of these years.  For a City without any mines, the “Hill” has produced a lot of GOLD and hopefully a new strike next month.

Peter Chirico is the President & CEO of the North Bay & District Chamber of Commerce.