A life on skis

She’s the grand dame of the Nelson ski scene, the doyenne of local powder hounds. Nelson’s Edna Whiteley celebrated her 90th birthday with a surprise party at Whitewater on the last day of the season.

Edna Whiteley

Edna Whiteley

She’s the grand dame of the Nelson ski scene, the doyenne of local powder hounds.

Nelson’s Edna Whiteley celebrated her 90th birthday this month with a surprise party at Whitewater on the last day of the season.

She was asked if she would cut the cake honouring season pass holders — of which she is one — but didn’t realize it would be a tribute to her.

“I came in and here were old friends and relatives and everybody that knew me from the ski hill,” she says. “It was a total surprise.”

Whiteley, known to many for her years as a Welcome Wagon hostess, got her start on skis when “you just put your foot into a strap. There was nothing else holding your foot to the ski.”

The lifelong Nelson resident was largely self-taught and recalls skiing down back alleys. “Then I got better equipment. In high school, I was with the Nelson Ski Club and we skied at the golf course and had a cabin there.”

One day in high school, when ski conditions were prime, she had a light schedule, with one subject in the afternoon, a number of study blocks, and gym class.

“I said to [principal] L.V. Rogers: ‘I’d like to go up skiing.’ He said go. So I went up, and a chap up there taught me how to turn. Just the two of us on the hill.”

Later, a ski jump was built on Ymir Road.

“There was a hill there and we developed that and had our first rope-tow. Then back to the golf course. Then to Silver King, and now to Whitewater. It’s a wonderful hill.”

Whiteley spent time as secretary of the old Silver King club (her brother Jack Steed suggested the name). She and late husband Fred also rented ski equipment through their sport shop.

Although a toe problem kept her off the slopes until late in the season, “usually I start out skiing three times a week, and I was out ten or 12 times this year.”

Whiteley’s birthday is April 3. Several family members were home to celebrate “and they were all skiing. Some of them hadn’t skied for several years and have a new love for it again.”

The Whitewater celebration was a week later. The resort charges $25 per for a season pass for “super seniors” over 75, and Whiteley isn’t the only one.

“There’s quite a number in their 80s,” she says. “But I don’t think there’s anybody 90 yet but me.”

Nor is she ready to retire from the sport.

“I’m hoping to ski next year, if I’m feeling like I am right now. I’ll keep active.”

Just Posted

The Independent Investigations Office of BC is looking into a Castlegar incident. File photo
Police watchdog investigating Castlegar incident

IIO: Woman sustained a reportedly self-inflicted injury

The Kootenay International Junior Hockey League met for their AGM and announced a number of new initiatives, new awards and changes in their executive committee, as well as the starting date for the 2021-22 season. Paul Rodgers file.
KIJHL announces start dates for 2021-22 season

Season set to begin Oct. 1 with league still following all health guidelines

South Slocan’s Ti Loran is among the recipients of this year’s Neil Muth Memorial Scholarship. Photo: Submitted
Neil Muth Memorial Scholarships awarded to 4 students

Students in Creston, South Slocan and Revelstoke are sharing the honour

A wildfire near Cottonwood Lake was put out by Nelson firefighters Sunday night. Photo: Submitted
Wildfire extinguished near Cottonwood Lake

Lightning-caused fire was near one of Nelson’s water sources

West Kootenay Regional Airport. Photo: Betsy Kline
Central Mountain Air leaving Castlegar airport in July

The airline says market can’t handle two airlines

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (31) is scored on by Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez, not pictured, during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series Monday, June 14, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Habs fall 4-1 to Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of NHL semifinal series

Match was Montreal’s first game outside of Canada in 2021

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

B.C. ambulance station in Revelstoke is expected to get a new system called the Scheduled On-Call (SOC) this fall. (Liam Harrap - Revelstoke Review)
B.C. ambulance changes could put Revelstoke residents at risk, warn local paramedics

Paramedics said to expect a substantial increase in ambulance response time starting this fall

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes in wake of provincial reopening announcement

Website back up now, recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. watching U.K.’s COVID struggles but don’t think province will see similar pitfalls

Studies show that one dose of vaccine is only 33 per cent effective in preventing B.1.617.2 spread

RCMP Const. Shelby Patton is shown in this undated handout photo. RCMP say that Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over on Saturday morning in Wolseley, east of Regina. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP
Pair charged in Saskatchewan Mountie’s death make first court appearance

Const. Shelby Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over Saturday morning

Most Read