I grew up a 'Skican kid'
My brothers and I spent hours at Mt St Louis Moonstone and Blue Mountain, tucking flyers under windshield wipers showing the hottest ski deals to be had. I loved taking in the (80s) fashion shows at the Toronto ski show and recall being mesmerized by Warren Miller movies at Roy Thompson Hall, where Skican gave away thousands of ski holiday brochures. And yet, it wasn’t until I started working at Skican, four years ago, that I began to understand the impact that Skican has had on the ski industry in Canada. I am proud of what the Skican team, led by my father, Robin Nasmith, Founder of Skican, has accomplished. And since it is our 50th anniversary, I was hoping you would indulge a bit of reflection.
In 1969 Skican kickstarted the ski travel industry: Recently, owner of Lake Louise Ski Resort, Charlie Locke, sent an email in which he credited Robin with starting “…the winter (destination) ski tourism industry, not only in Banff but in Canada”. It’s hard to imagine a time when the Banff Springs Hotel wasn’t filled with skiers and snowboarders in the winter months…but back in 1969, the focus was on summer tourism. Fifty years ago, Robin persuaded the manager of the Banff Springs Hotel to keep its doors open for skiers from the east – skiers that Robin promised to bring out in droves. Then he convinced an airline to enter a partnership, and that winter Skican sent their first group to Banff for an unforgettable week of skiing. The trip was a huge success, word spread, and so began the destination ski industry in Canada. Over the past 50 years, we estimate that Skican has brought over a half-million skiers to destinations around the world, 80% of that to western Canada.
What does it mean to be 50? It means you have lots and lots of stories, some hard-earned wisdom, and many wonderful friendships. Skican has owned and sold one hotel, managed properties, chartered thousands of planes, and worked with hundreds of ski clubs and ski resorts around the world.
In 1969 the challenge was that traveling to Europe was less expensive than travelling to western Canada. Robin saw an opportunity and Skican was born. These days skiers are looking for meaningful experiences, and opportunities for personal growth, whether that’s trying out backcountry skiing, or visiting a bucket list destination like Chile, Japan, New Zealand or Argentina. But most of all, skiers are looking for great ski experiences. That hasn’t changed and we’re betting it never will. So, we are doubling down on quality over quantity, and promise to continue to provide you with the greatest service available when it comes to ski holiday planning.
Thanks for the first 50. Here’s to 50 more!
P.S. Take a look at our Skican video below that we shot in Whistler April 2019. And please let us know if we can help you get to your dream mountain this season. It's going to be awesome!