On November 2nd, snow-lovers gathered to celebrate the most recent inductees into the Canadian Ski Hall of Fame. Gathering at the prestigious Chateau Cartier in Gatineau, Quebec, six nominees were celebrated in style, including Beckie Scott and the late Heinz Niederhauser.
Part of the Canadian Ski Museum located in Ottawa, Ontario, the Canadian Ski Hall of Fame commemorates over 140 individuals involved in the ski or snowboarding world. Formerly named the Honour Roll of Canadian Skiing, the Canadian Ski Hall of Fame was established in 1982 in order to pay tribute to specific individuals who, according to the Hall’s website, have made “distinguished, sustained and substantial national contributions to the growth and development of snow skiing and/or snowboarding in Canada…whether by competitive prowess, organizational ability, creativity, pioneer development or leadership.”
It includes a diverse array of people from cross country skiers like Sharon and Shirley Firth to Richard Weber and Pierre Harvey as well as numerous alpine stars, ski patrollers and other integral volunteers and leaders to the snow-sport world.
The inductees honoured were Hugh Smythe, Jimmie Spencer, Laurie Kreiner, Mark Labow as well as cross country skiing’s Beckie Scott, 2010 inductee, and Heinz Niederhauser, 2009 inductee.
Beckie Scott, Canada’s most successful Nordic skier, was a natural choice for the Canadian Hall of Fame. She is a cross-country skiing role model for many young jackrabbits, spanning generations, not only because of her 11-years on the Canadian National Ski Team, her 17 medals on the World Cup circuit, being the first North American woman to win an Olympic medal – gold medal in the 10km pursuit at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics and silver medal at the 2006 Torino Olympics in the team sprint with Sara Renner – but also because of her amazing volunteer work and other achievements in sport, including her involvement in the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). Beckie also gives her time and energy to causes such as UNICEF, Right to Play and Fast and Female.
While his cheering and support on the race trails are missed, Heinz Niederhauser’s contribution to cross-country skiing throughout Canada is still making an impact at all levels. Doing what he loved right up until his death in 2008, Heinz immersed himself I the sport of cross-country skiing.
A local to the Ottawa area, formerly of White Lake, Ontario, Heinz put forth uncountable hours as a coach and volunteer at all levels of skiing throughout Canada. Particularly, he committed himself to crucial coaching roles for Cross Country Canada and Cross Country Ontario as well as being the founder and coach of Pakenham Ski Club. The Heinz Niederhauser Coaching Award and Coaching Scholarship were established to honour his involvement throughout Ontario in particular.
To name a few more of Heinz’s achievements, he was also a co-founder of the Canadian Association of Nordic Ski Instructors, was the chief of grooming for the 1988 Calgary Olympics and trained numerous athletes who went on to race at the World Cup level including, more recently, Perianne Jones and Kate Brennan.
Perianne Jones, a current member of the Canadian National Ski Team, named both Niederhauser and Scott as playing influential roles in creating the skier she has become.
Coached by Heinz since the very beginning of her career, his presence established Jones into the cross-country skiing world. In a message from Europe, Jones said, “I would not be over here in Europe preparing for the world cup season if it weren’t for Heinz Niederhauser. Heinz introduced me to ski racing and training. Everything that had to do with racing Heinz showed me. We went to Ontario Cups, Midget Champs, and did dryland training. He shared with my family and a handful of other families that made up the Lowney Lake Ski Club what it meant to be cross country ski racers.”
Jones stated that her favourite attribute of Niederhauser was “Hands down his passion for skiing. He spent hours making ski trails in the campground in his backyard, and more hours in the winter on his snowmobile grooming them before we arrived to ski in the morning, and he would get back out there after we left. Not to mention the number of hours he spent training with us, and sharing his knowledge and love of the sport with us. He had this need to share cross country skiing with everyone.”
While Niederhauser played a major role in developing Jones into the competitive and world-class skier she is, Beckie Scott was the role model Jones looked to for inspiration.
“She was for sure my biggest role model, I would cut out newspaper articles, and had posters and pictures of her on my walls” said Jones.
Now, when training in Canmore, Jones has the opportunity to get inspired one-on-one with a childhood role model.
“Beckie just has so much experience as a ski racer, and is always willing to chat about racing or life on the road, how things were when she was racing, and how that relates to what I’m doing” said Jones.
In regards to the honour of both Niederhauser and Scott being inducted into the Canadian Ski Hall of Fame, Jones remarked, “To me personally their contribution has been huge, and I think to many other people as well. Heinz and Beckie were both pioneers in our sport, both supportive and caring individuals, and very passionate about what they were doing. I feel so fortunate to have had a relationship with each of them and continue to be able to continue to lean from Beckie. Beckie and Heinz have been two of my biggest role models in sport and life.”
For more information on the ceremony or the Canadian Ski Hall of Fame and/or the Canadian Ski Museum in general visit www.skimuseum.ca