Ladies and Gentlemen, friends and fellow Schuss Boomer enthusiasts. Welcome to the 20th annual Schuss Boomer Downhill.
When I stop and look around this room, I see a lot of old familiar faces that have been around and part of this event for 20 year now and I wonder "Has it really been that long".
Well it has, and it's been a hell of a lot of fun along the way. I remember when it first started there was the big rush to find long skis, buy rent or borrow. The big secrets about your wax formula "sssssh! don't tell anyone" such as Tom Havard and his rain - x. How all the ski stores would have high end wax on there shelves all winter and then in one magical week in late March it would all disappear. If you were late, well, too bad man. How there were endless concoctions of whatever skier clothes you could find, as long as it was combined with long johns, as L.J.'s were king and Miss Maxwell was not about to let you forget that. Lycra looking pants and shirts, wet suit tops or bottoms, leotards and duct tape by the pickup load.
God, you'd think by the commotion that we were all going to Kitzbuhel. The truth of the matter being, there weren't that many Downhill's, at least on a recreational level then and even fewer now.
In the beginning the race was Jo Ann's idea. She was then a Ski Smithers employee. With some input from Gary Conway and Ed Russell (Fast Eddy) the Schuss Boomer took roots. That first year was a big challenge as staging a Downhill was a totally new experience for so many. Through all the ups and downs, pitfalls and setbacks, thanks to a lot of work and effort on the part of all concerned, race weekend finally rolled around. Bang!! snow storm. Do we cancel or do we go? That was the question. We went and the first Schuss Boomer was run in 4 inches of new snow.
The early years were such fun, what with all the crazy combinations of long johns and costumes. People began to get better and more technical with their tuck and technique and their waxing abilities. With good weather and a warm day the start area became party central, volley ball net and all, costumes galore. Lorne and Bill in top hat and tails, Walter Buchner in a dress and way too many more to list.
As time evolved the Schuss Boomer went from being a Ski Smithers race to a Smithers Ski Club race and after a number of years downhill suits were allowed.
This was great news for those of us who wanted to use suits and all the other Downhill equipment because it enhanced the quest for the need for speed. But on the other hand the insurgence of race suits, Downhill poles, long skis and keener competition put off a lot of people who thought it was now too serious. This led to a drop off in numbers so the Schuss Boomer evolved again.
This time to a two day event, with both a fun day and a more serious day. This is the format as we know it today. The two day event is what kept the Schuss Boomer alive, with something for everyone, a level playing field that keeps everyone happy.
There have been some memorable instances, some wild chills and spills, from Bob Rowsell and Greg Meredith sliding through the finish line at +100 kilometres per hour, to Don Simms hamburgering himself, Lorne Buchanan doing some high speed bark beetle inspection and Sister Mary Eveready shrieking in a high pitched wail from start to finish. All taken in good stride in true Schuss Boomer fashion. It's been a good twenty years.
The Schuss Boomer could never have become what it is today without the great efforts of so many dedicated volunteers. In the beginning it was people like Jo Ann Maxwell, John Curry, who made everything on the mountain available, Lorne, Eric, Jim, Bill, Nick. The Remington's were a driving force in the early days, as well Bob and Judy Rowsell, The Huxtables, Gemmels, tom Havard and more. I can't possibly remember them all, but many accolades everyone.
Some have been involved since day one and some are newer kids on the block, such as the current Ski Club members and executive, Mike Daniels, Clark Beebe, Jim and Sandra Hinchliffe. Jim since day one.
Special thanks to Bill Myers and Neil Nesting, have been starting and finishing with them for 10 years. Bob Gemmel and Wayne Huxtable wiring.
There really haven't been a lot of winners over the years. Eric has dominated with about 10 wins, with Jim Hinchliffe, Lorne Buchanan, Bill MacIntyre, Don Simms and Trent Collison rounding out the field.
On the women's side Claire Challen, Erika Prett and Tracy Konst.