Skican Quality Ski Holidays

A message from Karen Nasmith, President of Skican

The Ski Ties that Bind Us

Back in 1970,  in the early days of Skican, my father,  Robin  Nasmith, arrived at Whistler to meet with  Franz  Wilhemsen.    Norwegian-born  Wilhemsen  is  famously  known  as  the  founder  of  Whistler  Blackcomb  and  the  Garibaldi  Lift  Company.    In  those  days,  the  mountain  was  accessed  from  Creekside,  accommodation  was  limited,  and  the  Village  was  a  landfill.    Robin  was  hoping  to  strike  a  partnership  to  get  more  eastern  skiers  out  to  experience  the  BC  Rockies. 

As  the  story  goes,  the  meeting  was  over  almost  before  it  got  started.  For  whatever  reason,  Franz  was  simply  not  interested.  Later  that  day,  Robin  and  his  long-time  friend,  Bruce  MacDougall,  headed  to  the  only  restaurant  in  town.  The  only  other  people  in  the  restaurant  were  Wilhemsen  and  his  wife,  Annette.  In  that  intimate,  and  somewhat  awkward  setting  the  diners  got  to  know  each  other  better  and  before  long  Robin  and  Franz  made  a  discovery.   

During  World  War  II,  Franz  had  been  based  at  a  Norwegian  air  force  training  camp  on  Oxbow  Lake,  not  far  from  Huntsville,  Ontario.  On  this  very  same  lake,  Robin’s  grandfather,  my  great-grandfather,  spent  the  winter  in  a  small  log  cabin  on  the  only  island  on  the  lake.  Heinz recalled going for a cross country ski on the lake and seeing the cabin  –  a trail of smoke betraying its inhabitant.  Heinz  knocked  on  the  door  and,  as  he  told  the  story,  had  a  great  chat  with  a  fellow  engineer  (my  grand-great  father). 

This  simple  connection  led  to  a  friendship  and  opened  doors  to  what  would  become  Skican’s  most  popular  resort  destination  for  the  next  5  decades. 

I love this story because it reflects how I feel about the ski community. It doesn't take much for us to find common ground and develop lifelong relationships built on a mutual passion. And I love picturing the founder of Canada`s most iconic ski resort gliding across a frozen lake where 5 generations of Nasmiths have spent countless hours enjoying the stillness of the Canadian Shield. The very same stillness we experience on the ski hill, even while navigating a steep descent.

Kind've makes you want to go for a ski, doesn't it? Have a fantastic year everyone!


Robin Nasmith: Founder of Skican Ltd. with daughter Karen Nasmith, President.

Robin Nasmith: Founder of Skican Ltd. with daughter Karen Nasmith, President.