Chicopee History

1934-1939: Pioneers Build a Ski Club

Chicopee 1930

Century Highlights

  • Club started by # of enthusiastic local businessmen "The Dutch Companee."
  • First ski season, presidency of Clare Duffus, the Club attracted 200 members.
  • Second season the club publish its own newsletter, The Chicopee Skier.
  • 1st hills were 'Front Hill’ + Sumac Hill’ named for the heavy sumac growth.
  • In 1936 a new 115-foot jump and the junior jump constructed for 45-foot leaps.
  • In 1935 the first illumination lights provided by battery powered auto headlights.
  • Most distinctive features of the pioneer period was the thriving social life.
  • Controlled+safe skiing was emphasized at the Chicopee from the beginning.
  • In 1936 pre-season dry land training and organized ski lessons started.
  • 1936/37 membership: Senior men $2.50, women $1.50 and juniors 50 cents.

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History Summary

A pioneering spirit surrounded the creation of the Chicopee Ski Club, from the establishment of organized skiing in Waterloo County to night skiing to the building of rope tows. Faith made it all possible: the pioneers' faith in each other, and in the power of their passion for skiing.

This spirit which pervades the Club's history was ignited seventy-five years ago by a group of enthusiastic local businessmen known as the 'Dutch Companee.' The name of this casual social club refers to the German or 'Deutsch' background of many of the members, and draws on a much older historical tradition. The lands known as Chicopee were all part of what was called the 'German Company Tract,' dating back to 1805. These businessmen had ties not only through the local Rotary Club, but more importantly, through their love for skiing. Original members of the Dutch Companee included Jake Baetz, Dr. H.M. Lackner, J.A. Martin, Albert Butler, brothers Fred and Norman Schneider, Jack Halliwell and Clare Duffus.

In the fall of 1934, the Dutch Companee discussed creating a ski club close to home. Clare Duffus, a native of the southern United States, marveled at the breathtaking northern winters and encouraged his Canadian friends to take full advantage of them through skiing. He led the effort to establish the Chicopee Ski Club. According to Dave Schneider, President of the Club in 1941, Clare Duffus "had a dream, an earnest desire to make the community ski conscious, to instill in them a love for winter's keenest, cleanest sport." This dream would be achieved with the support of the Dutch Companee and the several dozen enthusiastic skiers who turned out for a planning meeting at the Kitchener YMCA in November 1934. By the end of December, Chicopee was officially on its way with the establishment of a constitution and a Board of Directors. In its first ski season, under the presidency of Clare Duffus, the Chicopee Ski Club attracted 200 members from Kitchener, Waterloo and surrounding areas including Galt and Preston, and made a profit of 64 cents.

The success of this first season was only realized, however, through much hard work, commitment and perseverance. By the fall of the second season the Club decided to publish its own newsletter, The Chicopee Skier, under the editorship of Ted Mulrooney, which provided members with Club news, skiing advice and friendly gossip.

The location chosen for the Club was the only viable ski terrain in the area, namely the Lewis and Janowski properties on what is now King Street East near Morrison Road. These lands included parts of the Chicopee Hill and were in use as operational farms during the spring and summer months. Each ski season, therefore, the Club rented the site which consisted of both downhill slopes and bush trails.

The first hills used by the skiers were the 'Front Hill’ and the 'Sumac Hill’ named for the heavy sumac growth which covered it each summer, and 'the Cradle' which today is known as 'Tenderfoot.' The northern area of the property, including the North Hill, became popular later in the 1930s.

The Club's origin in the mid-1930s was consistent with social club activity in the area at the time. Club life in Kitchener-Waterloo thrived during the Depression and became more organized and structured. The founders of Chicopee Ski Club had skied the hills and fields of the region but with the planning of people like Clare Duff us, they were able to enjoy better skiing as well as a warm and convivial atmosphere, part of the Chicopee tradition which thrives today. A large fieldstone building, the Lewis farmhouse, located on what is now the northeast corner of King Street and River Road, was included in the rental of the Chicopee lands. As the Club grew in popularity, the Grand River Railway system, commonly known as the ‘trollies,’ honoured the clubhouse with its own stop. The farmhouse soon became the heart of the Club. It was not only a place to rest and sip steaming coffee after the half-mile trek from the hill, it was a warm and cheery haven where lifelong friendships were made.

In the summer of 1935, the senior ski jump was constructed using teams of farm horses and a large earth scraper. A dedicated band of men spent their holidays and Saturdays completing this addition to the Club — the only ski jump in Southern Ontario. As part of this group, Jack Halliwell was instrumental in the engineering of both this 115-foot jump and the junior jump constructed for 45-foot leaps in 1936.

In an era before artificial snow, the Chicopee pioneers took advantage of every opportunity for fine skiing. A little creative thinking and mechanical know-how allowed Chicopee to offer floodlit night skiing. The Club is believed to be the first in North America to develop this phenomenon. On November 5, 1935, daily newspapers across Ontario and Quebec reported that this first illumination was provided by battery powered automobile headlights mounted on a child's sleigh pulled to the top of the slope.

There were no ski lifts or tows for these early skiers. Wax was used on the bottom of ski boots to help skiers reach the top in the ideal fashion: by walking straight up the hill. The sidestep and the herringbone were other methods used. Members were also taught quickly to yell 'Track!' on their way back down, which meant "hey, get out of the way, I'm coming down the hill!"

Lessons were included in membership fees which, during the 1936/1937 season, were: Senior men $2.50, senior women $1.50 and juniors 50 cents. Ski instructors in the early seasons were volunteers who donated their time and expertise on weekends and evenings.

As early as 1935, the Club became affiliated with the Canadian Amateur Ski Association (CASA), the body that regulated non-professional skiing, and was also involved in the Ontario Ski Zone.

At the close of the pioneer era, there was a definite feeling of optimism at the Club. The experimental days were over and the Club was well established in the community as a recreational facility. Chicopee’s grand spirit had been kindled and was to play an important role in guiding the Club through the war years of shortage, missing friends and mourning.

1940-1949: A Time of War and Peace

Chicopee 1940

Century Highlights

  • Second World War, declined memberships + finance.
  • 1941/2 Chicopee ski school and ski patrol established.
  • Formation of the first Racing club.
  • 10th Birthday party, 200 members.
  • 1945 First electrical rope tow (Sumac Hill).
  • 1947 new 770' rope tow on (North).
  • Social life very important to Club's spirit.
  • 1948 Halliwell house built by volunteers.
  • Membership grows to 1,300 members.
  • New senior jump replaces old one.

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History Summary

The Second World War touched Chicopee members and most Canadians, deeply. Although it may have appeared that life continued as usual, the Club was affected in both concrete and abstract ways. Club morale needed boosting several times throughout the war. Chicopee also experienced the hardships of wartime rationing. Supplies such as ski equipment, clothing, and power to run the night lighting were either unavailable or extremely hard to obtain.

A significant number of Chicopee members also served in the Canadian Armed Forces. As a result, membership numbers, especially in the senior men's category, decreased throughout the war. This also led to declining finances for the Club, given that senior men paid a higher fee at this time than either women or juniors. In order to boost the Club's resources the Board placed a call to each senior member for a donation of $1, an initiative which elicited a quick and generous response.

Early in the 1940s, members and local residents began to use Club facilities in the summer months during the war for archery and rifle clubs. Although these activities were not directly affiliated with Chicopee, the concept of the Club as a year-round attraction was clearly one with a strong history.

Despite the war in Europe and absent friends and relatives in the forces, the Club maintained a cheery and upbeat atmosphere. Social life was certainly part of this atmosphere. Ski season opening parties, based on the 'Millionaires' Night' theme, became a tradition during this period. At this annual event, members dressed up in all their finery and gambled away play money for donated prizes. Other impromptu parties, after hours of skiing and climbing, were often held around the barbecue grill below the jumping hill.

Perhaps the most obvious impact of the war on the Club was the restriction on the use of electricity for floodlighting. Night skiing had become very popular at Chicopee and it was even reported to be rivaling the nightspots for entertainment in the region. When lighting was restricted in 1942, members hoped for moonlit nights and resorted to the old portable battery-powered headlights.

Formal institutions were created as the Club grew and matured. The Chicopee Ski School was established in 1941, under the leadership of Jack Halliwell, to replace the more informal system of lessons and advice that had existed since the very first season. Instructors were now specially trained for the task of leading a series of standardized lessons developed according to the Ontario Ski Zone Manual. Lessons cost 25 cents each or $1 for a course of six. They progressed from equipment and waxing hints to climbing and falling safely and finally to the more advanced turns and techniques.

The Ski Patrol also gained importance during the war years. Members had always encouraged safety and controlled skiing and, by 1942, the Ontario Ski Zone urged all ski clubs to establish Ski Patrols trained in first aid and safe skiing. As a result, Jack Halliwell resigned from the presidency of the Club in 1945 to dedicate all of his time to spearheading the creation of the Chicopee Ski Patrol.

Racing, like the Ski School and Ski Patrol, became more organized during the war years. Club championships continued as before when weather permitted. In 1940, races were organized each Sunday to encourage competitive skiing among the members. The organizers of these weekly races hoped to put Chicopee on the map as the Club to watch at Ontario Zone meets. They achieved this goal when Chicopee scored four firsts at the Western Section Zone Championships held at Owen Sound in 1940.

The late 1940s were years of boom and development for the Chicopee Ski Club. November 1944 marked the tenth birthday of the Club and a celebration at the clubhouse attracted more than 200 members. The end of the Second World War was in sight and the future could not have looked any brighter.

After the war, membership exploded. The return of veterans, technological developments and great optimism surrounding the Club boosted membership from 394 during the 1943/1944 season to 882 the following year. By the 1947/1948 season, Chicopee was home to an astounding 1300 members. Great interest among high school students led to an increase in junior participation.

Chicopee's first mechanical device to help skiers up the hill began operation on New Year's Day, 1945. This was the electrically driven rope tow on the Sumac Hill. With this tow, Chicopee was credited with another skiing first. It was believed to be the only electric rope tow in Canada. Other tows, such as those in Quebec, were powered by gasoline. Chicopee’s first tow ran ten miles an hour and could carry twelve skiers a minute at the rate of four at a time up to the summit of the Sumac.

Chicopee's second rope tow followed quickly on the heels of the first. During the summer and fall of 1947, a 770-foot tow was built that extended from the bottom of the North Hill to the top of the Pine Trails. The Club solicited $5 from members in September to help with the cost of construction. Single rides on the tows cost 10 cents each.

Significant changes occurred to the Ski Patrol when Gord Krueger took over leadership from Jack Halliwell in 1947. From this point, the Ski Patrol became a solid fixture at the Club. Special first aid classes with a focus on ski safety were held regularly, with successful patrollers graduating to join the ranks of Chicopee's Ski Patrol. By the end of the 1940s, Chicopee had a dedicated volunteer patrol crew of 30 including both male and female members.

Social life at Chicopee continued to be an important source of Club spirit. Progressively warmer winters in the late 1940s made parties and trips a crucial component of Chicopee unity. Saturday night suppers at the clubhouse followed by animated Crazy 8's games became a tradition. Wednesday night seniors' parties went on as usual, attracting 30 to 50 members weekly regardless of the weather. Cross-country outings to Cressman's Woods continued as well with hearty meals, dancing and singing. Semi-formal dances, eagerly anticipated by members hoping to see each other dressed in something other than ski togs, became an annual event at the Club in this period.

Great optimism and energy surrounded the Club by the close of the decade. Development projects for the summer of 1948 included rebuilding the senior jump and moving the Sumac tow, but the most ambitious project that summer was the construction of a new chalet, originally conceived as a small Ski Patrol hut. With an amazing 1,300 members that season, the old farmhouse was bursting at the seams. Using old telephone and Public Utilities Commission poles, volunteers gave the Club a beautiful new chalet at minimal cost. Situated at the base of the Sumac, the cabin proved to be a close and convenient stop for skiers. It was divided into two rooms and had a big picture window and a fieldstone fireplace. When the chalet was officially opened for the 1948/1949 season, members wondered what to call it. There was only one name, though, which pleased all who had helped build it: the Halliwell House. The dedication of the cabin was a fitting tribute to Chicopee's favourite skiing couple: Jack and Eleanor Halliwell. Both Jack and Eleanor epitomized the volunteer spirit at Chicopee, the same spirit which built the Halliwell House to give members a warm and comfortable spot to socialize for many decades.

By 1950, there were definite signs of transition at the Club. Back-to-back seasons of poor snowfall caused many members to show signs of irritation. Skiers were reminded that memberships came with no guarantees and that confidence had to be shown in the Club, snow or no snow, if it were to survive. Membership numbers above the 1,000 mark were also a concern. Skiers were often frustrated by long lineups at the tows and many feared that the friendliness and camaraderie would disappear with so many unfamiliar faces and increased commercialization. Despite this sense of inevitable change, the strong base of faith and dedication laid down by the pioneers would help Chicopee weather the years of transition.

1950-1959: Meeting the Challenge

Chicopee 1950

Century Highlights

  • 1950's Membership grows to high of 1,000 to low in 1955 to 137 members.
  • Chicopee hosted their first Nordic Ski Jump Competition.
  • Annual ski trips to Mont Tremblant.
  • Skinanigans,Slush Mush, Obstacle course events.
  • Ski School now has 174 participants.
  • $1.00 per lesson or $5.00 per season lessons.
  • Chicopee participates in Province wide ski competitions.
  • Urgency of plans to purchase Chicopee Lands.
  • Rekindling of famous "Chicopee Spirit".
  • Ski Patrol wins Carling Trophy.

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History Summary

The year 1950 marked the beginning of a new decade, a time of hope and anticipation. For many residents of Kitchener-Waterloo, it was also a time of joy. The end of the Second World War had brought those serving in the war effort home to their families. Old friendships were rekindled and new ones were made. Romance was in the air as young couples, whether reunited or recently paired, considered the prospects of marriage and family.

For the Chicopee Ski Club, the dawning of a new decade was a time of great expectation. Chicopee skiers dreamed of long and snowy winters. Unfortunately, those dreams were not realized in the 1950s. The winter of 1950/1951 was one of the Club's worst on record. These poor skiing conditions plagued the Club in the early 1950s and caused a dramatic drop in membership, from a high of almost 1,000 members at the beginning of the decade to a low of 137 by the 1955/1956 season.

In response to the low membership rates, the Club began to make use of advertising. Advertisements in the Kitchener-Waterloo Record attracted new skiers, both young and old, and forged a place for the Club in the larger community. Such membership recruitment marked a turning point for the Club. However, an increased membership at the Club led eventually to a weakened sense of family as unfamiliar faces appeared on the hills. Members began to express concern over the changing atmosphere of the Club.

The most important concern for the Board of Directors was securing the future of the Club itself. In March 1951, members recognized the urgency of negotiating the purchase of the land on which Chicopee had been founded. Residential developments were fast encroaching on the Club's property. As a result, the Board of Directors formed a permanent committee to study the alternatives open to the Club. Committee members met with Mr. Lewis, Mr. Sims, and Mr. Janowski — the three owners of the properties leased by the Club — to discuss the possibility of buying the land from them. Although the owners refused to sell, they were convinced by committee members to continue leasing the property to the Club. In 1959, the Board of Directors made another attempt to purchase the property rented by the Club. Club members soon contacted the Grand Valley Conservation Authority (GVCA) about the possibility of protecting Chicopee as a parkland and in 1962 this land was designated a park, and two years later was safely under the jurisdiction of the GVCA.

Thanks to the dedication of its members, Chicopee emerged vibrant and healthy from the lean years of the decade. This volunteer spirit also allowed the Club to host several successful ski competitions during the 1950s, the Chicopee Ski Club, boasting one of the only jumps in the province, was asked to host the Nordic competition again the following year.

These province-wide competitions always attracted hundreds of spectators from the community. At a cost of fifty cents for each adult (children were admitted free), the jumping meets provided inexpensive and thrilling entertainment for residents of Kitchener Waterloo and the surrounding area.

By the mid-1950s, the Club made a conscious effort to attract younger skiers. As a selling point to local youth, Chicopee focused on the competitive and athletic advantages of racing and ski jumping, and offered lively social events at the Halliwell House. Bob Petznick, head instructor of the Ski School, worked with Chicopee's new chair of junior activities, John Shaw, to develop junior racing at the Club. Aggressive promotions in public schools and the media encouraged young people from the area to participate in Chicopee races.

Social activities during the 1950s drew attention away from the worries of the Club and rekindled the famous Chicopee spirit. Fashion shows, annual ski trips to Mont Tremblant and Club parties all provided highly spirited and exhilarating entertainment for members.

Another popular event for Chicopee skiers was the annual Skinanigans weekend. Skinanigans allowed starters, judges and timekeepers to participate in beauty contests, obstacle courses, costume parties and parades. Slush Mush, created by the Club in 1958, mirrored the celebrated Skinanigans weekend. Chicopee skiers participated in annual costume contests and obstacle races before enjoying a picnic meal in the company of friends and family.

Responsible for promoting safe skiing techniques, operating the rope tows and selling tow tickets, the Chicopee Ski Patrol was quickly developing an enviable reputation as one of the best patrols in the province. In 1950, the Club had hosted the first ever Ontario Ski Patrol Competition. On a warm, wet day in early March, seven teams representing Hamilton, Toronto and Kitchener-Waterloo gathered at Chicopee for an afternoon of intense competition. The teams were judged on their ability to handle one of a variety of typical ski injuries as portrayed by a volunteer victim. Winners received the coveted Carling Trophy. Though they lost their first competition, between 1955 and 1960 the Chicopee Ski Patrol won the Carling Trophy four times, with three consecutive first place finishes, beginning in 1957.

Free lessons at the Ski School, instituted to attract skiers to Chicopee, proved highly successful throughout the 1950s. During the 1956/1957 season, the Ski School recorded 174 participants in its classes. By 1959, with renewed stability, the Club reinstituted a charge for instruction at $1 per lesson or $5 per season as the number of students increased dramatically. Records show that 453 skiers took part in classes during the 1958/1959 season. The baby boomers were finally making their mark on the slopes of Chicopee.

Together, the Ski Patrol, Ski School, Racing Programs and social events united members both in times of struggle and in times of success. The hardships of the decade challenged the very existence of the Chicopee Ski Club. Yet members were buoyed by the Chicopee spirit and fought to keep the Club alive for future generations of skiers. Having survived the bleak years of the early 1950s, by the end of the decade members looked forward with renewed anticipation to a period of growth and development.

1960-1969: Decade in Transition

Chicopee 1960

Century Highlights

  • Chicopee Board proposed $16,000 land purchase.
  • 1962 First, First aid post, to help injured.
  • GVCA becomes new Land Owners.
  • 1966 First year of snow making ability.
  • 1968 Artificial pond dug out and constructed.
  • 1968 First T-bar on North Hill ( 1,200 skiers per hr).
  • 1968 Nancy Green Ski League Racing.
  • New ski runs, rope tows, improved lighting.
  • First Management team, ski rentals, and catering.
  • 1969 Construction of new Ski Chalet ($190,500).

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History Summary

During the 1950s, Kitchener's suburbs had gradually expanded eastward towards the Chicopee Hill. As early as 1955, developers had submitted plans to the City outlining future housing subdivisions for the area. In the late 1950s, a gravel company began small-scale digging on a plot near the site of the present chalet to test the land for quarrying potential. If the Chicopee Ski Club were to survive, let alone expand or develop, the issue of property ownership had to be resolved.

The Chicopee Hill area covered in excess of 150 acres which was rented from four landowners. If one of these owners were ever to sell the property for development, the future of the Club would be jeopardized. An earlier attempt by the Club to purchase approximately 62 acres of the Chicopee Hill from Lewis Bakeries of London had proven unsuccessful. In 1958, eight Club members (Clare Duffus, Jake Baetz, H. M. Henderson, A. Lockhart, J. A. Martin, Dave Schneider, Fred Schneider, and Norman Schneider) had each offered $1,000 to purchase the land for the Club. Unfortunately, the owners of the land wanted $16,000 and a deal could not be reached. At the same time land prices in the Chicopee area had begun to rise significantly, and the Club realized that it did not possess the means to purchase the hill. In response to the ever-growing threat of development, Chicopee members rallied to prevent their Club from being assimilated into Kitchener's urban sprawl.

The Club's Board of Directors formed the Chicopee Park Land Committee during the 1959/1960 season with Ernie Grundy as Chairman. Members of this committee, including Jack Halliwell, Bob Petznick, Norman Schneider and Lorne Winkler, approached the Kitchener-Waterloo and Suburban Planning Boards, the Waterloo Township-Planning Board and the GVCA (Grand Valley Conservation Authority). Their goal was to convince these organizations of the need to protect the Chicopee Hill as a parkland and recreational area. Since the ski hill lay within both the Kitchener and Waterloo Township boundaries, and served the population of the entire region, the municipalities and the township all had an interest in the issue. The GVCA was willing to turn the land into a conservation area but lacked the funds to purchase the property on its own.

Eventually a complex arrangement was created; the GVCA would become owner of the land and convert it into a year-round conservation facility which the Chicopee Ski Club could rent during the winter months. The hill had been saved for the Club and, in the process, was on its way to becoming a year-round recreational facility for the community. An amicable relationship was quickly established between the GRCA and the Chicopee Ski Club.

The Club was permitted to use the hill for skiing as before and maintained ownership of the Halliwell House, the rope tows and all other equipment. In return, any physical alterations to the hill or new additions to the chalet had to be approved by the GRCA. The GRCA also arranged for hydro and water facilities to be supplied, but informed the Club that it could only offer financial assistance in the future if new plans had year-round potential. In return for using the land, the Club took on the responsibility of paying the municipal taxes on the hill. In 1965 the Club signed a ten-year agreement with the GRCA for the use of the land. This lease was renegotiated four years later when the GRCA stated that it "was desirous of providing skiing facilities for the Kitchener-Waterloo area and has agreed to give the Ski Club the concession to operate a ski area."

To attract the public during the summer, the GRCA installed picnic and hiking facilities and encouraged camping on the land. In 1968, an ambitious plan was started when a nearby stream was dammed to create an artificial pond north-east of the present chalet. This development required a re-routing of Morrison road. The new pond was designed for swimming in the summer and skating during the winter. These plans complimented the operation of the Chicopee Ski Club.

The largest project undertaken by the GRCA and the Club was the construction in 1969 of a ski chalet. The Club had grown to such a size that the Halliwell House and the small Ski Patrol shed nearby were no longer sufficient for its growing membership, let alone the non-skiers who came to take part in Chicopee's social life.

Since the Club itself did not have the funds to construct a new chalet, the Cities of Kitchener and Waterloo, the GRCA and the Province of Ontario once again worked together for a solution. The chalet, designed for year-round use, was completed in 1970 and won several architectural awards. The total cost for this new chalet was $190,500, with Kitchener providing $65,000, Waterloo $20,000, the GRCA $10,000 and the conservation branch of the Ontario government $95,500.

Thanks to the tireless work of Club members, the Chicopee Hill area was preserved and the Club guaranteed its use. With the hill secured, membership continued to grow and the Club opened new ski runs, added new tow ropes, improved lighting for night skiing, and introduced snow-making equipment.

With all of the Club’s new and exciting changes, the Club was looking to attract more skiers. As a result, skiing hours were increased from weekends only to Wednesday afternoons and evenings and Friday evenings as well. The Club also began offering family membership. During the 1963/64 season, The Club hoped that this type of membership would bring more families to Chicopee and help maintain the ‘homey’ atmosphere upon which the Club had been built; $50 for the 1963/1964 season covered two adults (seniors) and any number of children (juniors).

Between 1960 and 1965, the Club added three new rope tows to accelerate the movement of skiers to the top of Chicopee Hill. In addition to the junior tow built to the west of the Sumac run in 1960, the Front Hill tow rope was constructed in 1962, and the Cradle rope tow was rebuilt for the 1963/1964 season. Skiers no longer had to suffer the long lineups which had forced some to walk up the hills instead. The Club also upgraded both the North and Cradle Hills.

The focus on re-establishing membership was so successful that membership reached 932 during the 1962/1963 season. However, between 1960 and 1965, the total days and nights of skiing ranged from an annual low of only 22 to a high of 51. While the Club relied on pre-season memberships, a poor season for snow had long term implications for both membership and development.

While the Club advanced technologically and grew in membership, it was faced with a variety of pressures pushing it towards professional management. Riordans Sporting Goods obtained the first ski rental concession from the Club in 1960, making skiing much more accessible for both the first-time skier and the enthusiast who could not afford their own ski equipment. Catering services were also granted food concessions on a yearly basis.

The 1965/1966 season marked a turning point for the Chicopee Ski Club. Because Chicopee experienced an unusually mild winter and a drop to 555 members, it decided that for continued expansion and development it would require snow-making facilities. Since the GVCA had secured the Chicopee Hill for skiing purposes, the Club felt confident to act. During the fall of 1965, 30 Club members co-signed a $22,000 loan from the Bank of Montreal. The funds were used for the purchase and installation of snow-making equipment and the building of a compressor and pump house. The first snow was produced late in the evening of January 6, 1966.

The addition of snow-making equipment substantially lengthened the ski season and assured potential skiers that there would be snow at Chicopee even if it could not be provided by Mother Nature. Membership for the 1966/1967 season more than doubled from the previous year, while the days available for skiing increased to 79 from 39. This technological advance, combined with the GVCA's purchase of the Chicopee Hill allowed the Club to pursue a more aggressive course of expansion. It also hastened the professionalization of the Chicopee Ski Club. The Club also extended its hours of operation once again by adding Tuesday and Thursday evening skiing. To entice potential skiers further, Thursday evenings were designated 'Buck Nights' where non-members could ski for only one dollar: 50 cents off the regular price.

A loan from the Bank of Montreal allowed the Club to continue its expansion plans. The North Hill was upgraded and two new snow-making compressors were added, more than doubling snow-making capabilities for the 1968/1969 season. The senior ski jump was also rebuilt, allowing skiers to jump as far as 150 feet - 25 feet farther than before. Improvements to the senior jump complimented the rebuilding of the junior jump which had been accomplished two years earlier. In 1968, a T-bar was constructed on the North Hill. The T-bar was one of the first in the area and transported 1,200 skiers an hour up the hill, nearly twice as many as the previous rope tows.

The improved facilities resulted in a substantial increase in membership and daily lift ticket revenues. By 1970, it was one of the most technologically advanced yet most affordable ski clubs in Ontario. The Southern Ontario Ski Association judged the Chicopee Ski Club the least expensive club in the province.

The successes which Chicopee enjoyed during the second half of the 1960s were not without some setbacks. As the Club continued to grow, members knew fewer of their fellow skiers. Careless skiing was also a problem. Vandalism and theft were also a concern during the late 1960s. The growing number of skiers made it easier for ski equipment to anonymously disappear. Parking, too, became a serious problem. In 1968, a new parking lot was built north of the current chalet.

An earlier attempt to alleviate the parking problem was initiated by Club member Ed Moscoe. For the 1967/1968 season he had arranged to have a bus run from Kitchener and Waterloo to the Club. In the past, ski equipment had been forbidden on local buses. This special bus carried ski equipment and stopped in Kitchener and Waterloo each Saturday and Sunday morning, returning the same afternoon.

Chicopee hosted the Southern Ontario Zone Instructors’ Course for the first time in December 1966, and the Western Ontario Ski Zone Instructors’ Course the following year. Chicopee also played host to a number of area, provincial and national racing and jumping competitions during the late 1960s.

The most dramatic change for Chicopee during the 1960s was its transformation from a small club to a large, professionally run organization. By 1970, Chicopee had become a full-time business, complete with rules and regulations to ensure the sporting fun of all who gathered there to ski.

Responsibilities held by the volunteers who had run the Club gradually became too time-consuming. For the 1967/1968 season, the Club hired its first full-time paid employees.

As skiing became increasingly popular during the 1960s, so too did competitive racing and jumping at both the senior and junior levels. Chicopee's commitment to junior membership, made during the 1950s, produced several accomplished competitive skiers by the early 1960s. The Club's attention to junior racing increased significantly with the introduction of snow-making facilities in 1966 and the creation of the Nancy Greene Ski League in 1968. By the 1970s, junior racing at Chicopee had produced a number of successful Zone, provincial and national competitors. Chicopee’s aspiring junior skiers also attended racing or jumping camps both at Blue Mountain and in Huntsville. In November 1961, the Board of Directors decided, after much discussion, to fund junior skiers attending these training events. In return, junior skiers were expected to become more actively involved in Club activities.

By the late 1960s, the Chicopee Board of Directors had redoubled their efforts to developing a quality training program for junior racers and jumpers. Artificial snow and improved facilities allowed Chicopee to host specialized coaching, racing and jumping training sessions such as the Southern Ontario Ski Zone jumping school and the Southern Ontario Zone Instructors' course.

In 1969, Nancy Greene, the 1968 Canadian Olympic skiing medalist, visited Chicopee during Winterfest and inaugurated the newly established Nancy Greene League. This league was designed to teach juniors under the age of 14 the basics of racing and competition. By the end of the decade, Chicopee teams were winning at all levels of competition.

In December 1966, the Chicopee Ski Patrol separated from the Western Zone of the National Ski Patrol System, ending a 19-year membership with that organization in what was the most significant occurrence of the decade. For the remainder of the decade Chicopee's Patrol functioned as an independent body. The Patrol set its own safety and training standards to ensure that all patrollers were sufficiently prepared.

Concerns for space led the Patrol to build a hut behind the Halliwell House in 1962 to serve as the first aid post where injured skiers could be attended. In the fall of 1967 CHYM FM, a local radio station, loaned a station wagon to the Club so that more seriously injured skiers could be transported immediately to hospital. The Club received many letters of praise from local doctors, commending the Ski Patrol for the quality assistance it had provided to injured skiers.

Trained Chicopee volunteers originally taught techniques such as the snowplow, as well as the proper use of the rope tow and later the T-bar. More advanced skiers learned such manoeuvres as the parallel Christie and other improvements to their technique. Instructors received intensive training before teaching at Chicopee, and charged less than any other Ontario ski club using Canadian Ski Instructors' Alliance instructors.

Social life at Chicopee was more than parties or social events planned by the Board of Directors. Traditionally, Chicopee held three social functions each year for members: an opening party in November or December, a cross-country ski party in February or March and the Slush Mush closing party at the end of the season. 130 members attended the Club's 30th anniversary party in February 1965. The Slush Mush party marked the end of the ski year. Snow was not a requirement and, in March 1968, the temperature was a balmy 55 Fahrenheit. Members brought their own food to be barbecued and many drinks were had. Many other exciting events took place throughout the decade, including Skinanigans, a Junior Party and many events held by Ski Patrol.

The 1960s proved to be a period of transition for the Chicopee Ski Club. From a membership composed of several hundred dedicated volunteers at the beginning of the decade, Chicopee had grown to a professionally run club of several thousand. The Chicopee Ski Club of 1970 was significantly different from that of 1960. Progress, development and expansion would be the focus for the 1970s.

1970-1979: Growth and Expansion

Chicopee 1970

Century Highlights

  • Explosive Growth to 5,554 Ski Members.
  • First new 25 year GRCA agreement for land.
  • Consulting firm hired for solutions for club future.
  • 1972 Ski School offered instruction to people of disabilities.
  • 1975 Chicopee 40th Anniversary Party.
  • Cross country skiing available.
  • Chicopee now a well established first rate ski facility with exceptional Ski Patrol.
  • 1979 Chicopee Horseshoe and Broomball Leagues.
  • Ski Racers 30+ yrs old, formed Gerital Teams.
  • Hiking and Picnics a big part of summer fun.

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History Summary

The Chicopee Ski Club experienced an explosive growth during the 1970s as skiing increased in popularity as a recreational sport. Membership rose from 2,683 in 1970 to a spectacular 5,554 in 1980, while daily lift ticket sales tripled. During this decade, the price of a senior pass also rose from $35 to $115.

The 1970s brought significant alterations to the organization and operation of the Chicopee Ski Club. During the 1969/1970 season, a benchmark year for the Club, Chicopee formalized its commitment to offering recreational skiing to the community through the most professionalized means possible.

Early in 1971, the Board of Directors achieved a major victory for the future of the Club when a 25-year agreement was signed with the GRCA. Previously, the Club had been forced to renew annually the terms of its lease with the GRCA.

As the Club continued to grow, and expenses began to rise, it soon became clear that Chicopee needed to determine where they were headed. Thus, the Directors chose to hire a consulting firm to help establish the future goals for the Club. Marshall, Macklin, Monaghan Ltd. presented its comprehensive master plan in the spring of 1974. The report which took less than two years to complete, offered solutions designed to alleviate the overcrowded conditions and suggestions for the development of recreation in the off-season. The report also provided specific development goals for Chicopee, offering possible solutions to both management and expansion problems.

The report suggested a three-year development strategy. As stated in the study, the goals of the project included the expansion of ski terrain, facilities and ancillary winter uses and the establishment of summer use as well. The consultants recommended that tennis courts and a freeform pool be constructed. Motorbike trails, even though they disrupted the land to a degree, were encouraged. Playing fields for soccer or other games could be used by recreation leagues. Hiking and picnic areas would be developed, and an outdoor education centre with gardens would be established.

The initial developmental plan also recommended two high-capacity chair lifts be built, T-bars relocated, the building of three new hills and the rebuilding of several others to double the downhill capacity. Snow-making equipment would be increased at a cost of $200,000 and new cross-country and hiking trails plus a new cross-country chalet were recommended for the future. The chalet would have to be doubled in size and the parking area enlarged. The Club proposed to pay approximately $750,000 of the $1.6 million price tag for the Chicopee expansion project, with the GRCA paying the remainder.

By the close of the decade Chicopee had become a four-season recreation facility, the realization of a dream for many avid members.

1972 marked the first year Chicopee’s Ski School offered instruction to people with disabilities. Students specializing in therapeutic recreation from the University of Waterloo's School of Recreation and Club members volunteered with disabled children and adults, providing the program with a one-to-one supervision ratio.

In the spring of 1976 a family motorcycling club was established, with David Main as President. The motorcycling organization was not the only club to evolve from the ranks of the Chicopee membership. Club members formed their own broomball teams, and a horseshoe league was founded in 1979.

The Club hosted many memorable social events during the 1970s. Social committees promised bigger and better parties, planned with a 'good time' in mind. After complaints about the loud music (which would bounce off the chalet's cement block walls and glass) at some of the gatherings, wine and cheese parties were organized. Theme parties were often held to kick off the new ski season and the Club also hosted their 40th Anniversary party in 1975. By the late 1970s, the Chicopee Ski became active in the City's Oktoberfest celebrations. Evolving from a private Club function to a larger publicized event, 'Chicopee Haus' was transformed from a ski chalet to a veritable Bavarian polka dance hall.

Aubrey Diem was Chicopee's greatest sponsor for cross-country skiing during the 1970s. Inexpensive and easy to learn, cross-country skiing quickly grew in popularity in the early 1970s. A lot of time and effort was spent marking out the trail.

In addition to cross-country skiing, Chicopee was also the place to experience the thrill of acrobatic freestyle skiing. In 1977, the freestyle skiers demonstrated their talents by winning ten out of twelve possible medals in two competitions.

For those racers aged 30 and over, the Geritol Team provided a competitive but fun atmosphere for adult racers. The adult racing program originated one day in 1979 after a few parents who had been assisting with the morning race decided to ski the course instead of returning the poles right away.

The 1970s allowed Chicopee to thrive as a well-established first-rate ski facility with an exceptional Ski Patrol and Ski School. The racing program kept the name of Chicopee champions in the headlines. The staff worked diligently to keep snow on the ground and maintain Chicopee's vast property on a year-round basis. As usual, the time and effort of the volunteers ultimately kept Chicopee going with their spirit and hard work.

1980-1989: Continuity and Change

Chicopee 1980

Century Highlights

  • Opened under a shadow of uncertainty, cash flow problems.
  • Peter Schwirtlich and Members loaned money to the club.
  • New operational philosophy, concentrating on Families, competitive rates and values.
  • Clean new fill from Freeport Hospital used to heighten hill.
  • 1983 50th year Anniversary celebrated.
  • 1984 Ski Friends program developed.
  • New Varga Plan for future expansion plans.
  • 1987 New Lounge in Chalet.
  • Building of new Apple Bowl and Tenderfoot Hill.
  • 1987 Ontario Track 3 Ski Association created.

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History Summary

As the decade of the 1980s commenced, the Chicopee Ski Club found itself operating under a shadow of uncertainty. Suffering from cash flow problems, the Club sought several solutions to improve its financial standing. As the Board struggled with the budget, skiers still enjoyed Chicopee's expanded facilities and new and improved runs. Expansion projects anticipated for the future were drastically halted by the 1980/1981 season.

Despite many efforts to raise membership and cut down on spending, high interest rates and poor weather conditions continued to add to Chicopee's financial woes. By the spring of 1983, Chicopee's options were limited and it was clear that the Club could not continue as it had been functioning. The choices were to appeal to members or have the City of Kitchener assume the debt and, therefore, control of the Club.

The Chicopee spirit of independence was fierce despite such despairing financial circumstances. The drive, determination and, most importantly, faith that had characterized the Club since 1934 did not fail Chicopee in its hour of need. In May 1983, the Board of Directors sent letters to longtime members requesting loans of at least $5,000 for the purpose of restructuring the Club's finances. Thanks to the efforts of Peter Schwirtlich, several members came forward in the summer of 1983 to lend the Club enough money to settle the financial obligations with the bank and pay all other outstanding accounts and taxes to set the wheels of the Club in motion once again.

And so a new operational philosophy emerged from the financial crisis of the early 1980s. Chicopee concentrated its efforts on family orientation, competitive rates and value. This philosophy, along with the lessons learned from the over extension of the late 1970s, guided future planning and development strategies.

The Chicopee Ski Club’s Oktoberfest celebrations were always lively and successful. Chicopee Haus, renamed “ The Berg Yodler Haus “ in 1980 to enhance the Club’s image as a Bavarian festival hall offered live entertainment, yodeling competitions and oom-pah-pah bands for two weekends during Oktoberfest.

For the first time in many seasons, members began to look to the future with optimism. All hopes for expansion and improvement had been put off since the late 1970s but now, with renewed financial stability, Chicopee's greatest dreams could be pursued. After much deliberation with the Region of Waterloo, Chicopee purchased a patch of land North of Chicopee’s current facility and the quest for 'Mount Chicopee' was underway.

Clean fill from construction sites in the area and the Freeport Hospital expansion project was brought in to increase the height of the newly acquired hill. In 1988, even more property was added to this development. After extending Fairway Road, the Region sold Chicopee the excess land. The entire north project increased the Club's leased property by 50%.

By the 1985/1986 season, Chicopee was able to put several years of uncertainty and austerity behind it. The Club retired its debt to the lenders in 1986 and plans were made to review and rewrite the Marshall, Macklin, Monaghan report to realize all of its original objectives. The new plans were entitled “The Varga Plan,” and priority was given to skiing and to the development of the new north terrain. This development strategy mapped out a $5 million expansion plan for the Club over several seasons. In contrast to the rapid improvements of the late 1970s, this plan was designed to be completed in manageable stages.

Besides outdoor developments, changes were also made to Chicopee's indoor facilities. During the 1987/1988 season, the lounge was renovated giving the Club a modern and comfortable area for apres-ski relaxation and socializing.

In 1984, the Chicopee volunteer tradition culminated in the creation of a group known as the Ski Friends. According to their original mandate, they are "a group of volunteer Chicopee members dedicated to assisting the beginner skier in making his or her skiing experience at Chicopee Ski Club a happy and safe endeavour, while promoting the Club as an excellent place to ski with emphasis on fun, friendliness and safe skiing."

Throughout these years, Chicopee racing teams and individuals performed well at all levels of league competition, many progressing beyond the SOD level. A variety of awards were won by many of Chicopee’s athletes throughout the decade, and many competed at the National level.

The Ski School began catering to a new market of skiers during the 1980s with more young children participating in lessons. As a result, the Ski School had to adapt its techniques in order to teach three and four-year-olds how to ski. During the 1983/1984 season, the rental shop found it difficult to outfit the young skiers and was forced to reorganize and restock its inventory to provide for the new market. Both Applebowl and Tenderfoot hill were also built during the 1980s to accommodate the growing number of children learning to ski.

The Ontario Track 3 Ski Association was established in 1987 to offer people with disabilities the opportunity to experience the excitement of skiing. The unique nature of the program ensured that every student was paired with a trained volunteer instructor for intensive guidance.

On November 12, 1983, the Chicopee Ski Club hosted a lively dinner and dance at the chalet in honour of the Club's 50th anniversary. The Anniversary Committee, under the direction of Lorne Winkler, organized displays of old photographs, slides, films and memorabilia, and coordinated the publication of a commemorative brochure for this event. The dinner also boasted two engaging guest speakers, Kitchener Mayor Dom Cardillo and GRCA Chairman Jim Bauer, who reminisced about their experiences at Chicopee and offered congratulations for 50 years of quality skiing in the region.

One of the many highlights of the evening was the presentation of the Halliwell Memorial Cup by Eleanor and Joey Halliwell in memory of their husband and father, Jack. Jack Halliwell, one of Chicopee's founding members, had passed away on December 19, 1982, only one year after his retirement from the Board of Directors on which he had served for 44 dedicated years. The Halliwell Cup was established for the Seniors Men's Club Champion, aged 45 and over.

The Club also organized an Anniversary Ski Day in February 1984, consisting of obstacle races, costume contests, the release of 1,000 coloured balloons, and the eagerly anticipated crowning of Ingrid Peterson and Bob Pritchard as Miss and Mr. Chicopee.

In 1986, the Board of Directors decided to rejoin the CSPS as a means of reducing insurance costs. Membership in this national organization also allowed the Chicopee Ski Patrol to compete once again in Zone and Divisional competitions. Like the Patrol teams of the 1950s and 1960s, the Ski Patrol of the 1980s enjoyed great success at these meets.

1990-1999: Many New Modern Upgrades

Chicopee 1990

Century Highlights

  • 1991 New Apple Bowl Hill and a new modern Apple bowl lift.
  • The Tenderfoot T-bar replaced with new junior double chair lift.
  • New state-of-the-art compressor house increased snow-making capacity.
  • New hydro facilities, providing adequate and centralized power for lighting.
  • 1992- 140 people with disabilities involved in the Track 3 programs across Ontario.
  • Racing program continues to grow to 300 racers .
  • Replaced the quartz hill lights with modern metal Halide fixtures to save money.
  • 1993 Racing Program expanded to over 300 racers.
  • 1993 Katerina won the World Cup gold medal in combined freestyle category.
  • 1993 Ski school employed 13 full-time and 45 part-time employees.

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Newspaper Articles

History Summary

The Varga Plan projected development in all areas of the Club: new intermediate and advanced runs at the north end of the property, new runs for the south side, new chair lifts, chair lifts to replace existing T-bars, increased snow-making, and improvements to lighting, storage, security, daycare, office facilities and parking. After considerable debate and discussion, stage one of the Varga Plan began in 1991, consisting of three major elements: snow-making, hydro, and lifts.

The construction of a new state-of-the-art compressor house increased snow-making capacity and enlarged the space at the top of Chicopee Hill to ensure the safe unloading of lifts. This building also housed new hydro facilities, providing adequate and centralized power for lighting, lifts and future development. The Mic-Mac t-bar was replaced with a triple chair lift, described by Garth Brillinger in the 1991 Annual Report as “a modern new lift with space-style machinery housings.” This became known as the Applebowl lift. The tenderfoot t-bar was also replaced with a junior double chair lift designed for beginners as it travelled more slowly and closer to the ground than regular lifts.

This first stage of development was completed by the 1991/1992 season with the opening of the new Applebowl lift and hill. This newly graded slope had a challenging pitchy while the new triple chair lift transported 1,800 skiers per hour. The opening of the Applebowl was an occasion for celebration at Chicopee. Media personalities and GRCA officials attended such events as a ribbon cutting ceremony by Kitchener Mayor Dom Cardillo, a wiener roast, a torch light ski parade and evening skating party on the pond beside the lift.

In 1991, Chicopee replaced the quartz hill lights with modern metal Halide fixtures in order to save money and conserve energy. These new lights only added to the importance of night skiing as a major component of Chicopee’s services. According to the Cambridge Reporter “ from far away it looks like a giant Christmas tree jutting up from a dark landscape, illuminated by strings of white lights.” Not only did night skiing allow the Club to operate over 80 hours per week, but it clearly left a powerful impression on the larger community.

Once stage one of the Varga Plan was complete, all thoughts turned to the 1990s. The Planning and Development mandate for the next stage consisted of achieving water supply self-sufficiency, increasing space for the Ski School and Rental operation, expanding the new hill as fill became available, upgrading and redefining existing hills, and reviewing recommendations for future expansion and renovation of the chalet.

For Chicopee members who desired a less competitive racing atmosphere, the Club continued with its house league racing atmosphere, for both junior and adult members. The 1992 season had 80 adults involved in competitive racing in the Geritol League. This active group focused on both the competitiveness of racing and social element.

Throughout the 1980s and into the 1990s, the racing program at Chicopee continued to grow and improve. From one Nancy Greene team in 1968 and a handful of divisional racers, the Chicopee racing program expanded to over 300 racers at a variety of levels by 1993.

Throughout these years, Chicopee racing teams and individuals performed well at all levels of league competition, many progressing beyond the SOD level. A variety of awards were won by many of Chicopee’s athletes throughout the decade, and many competed at the National level.

The Ontario Track 3 Ski Association was established in 1987, by 1992 there were over 140 people with disabilities involved in the Track 3 program across the province, and the waiting list to join the program continued to grow.

In 1993 the Ski Scholl employed 13 full-time and 45 part-time instructors with an additional six employees involved in the retail and rental operations, with over 400 pairs of skies and boots for rent.

2000-2009: Becoming a Year-Round Resort

Chicopee 2000

Century Highlights

  • Opening of the new Beginner Center.
  • 2002- New 2 Hr. and 4 Hr. lift ticket program.
  • 2003 - New 400' Platter Lift for Beginner Center.
  • Birth of the Kodiak Bear called " KODI " our new Mascot.
  • New Volleyball courts built with 24 teams participating.
  • McMaster Sports opens new retail store.
  • New Chicopee Tube Park.
  • New summer programs: including High ropes, Climbing wall, mountain biking.
  • Chalet upgrades: new Guest service area, Admin centre, new Racing center.
  • New Web site, Face Book + Twitter, and Wi-Fi Available.

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Newspaper Articles

History Summary

The 2000’s was the beginning of many more upgrades and changes for Chicopee. A new learning centre called “ Beginner Centre” was developed. Peter Schwirtlich retired at the end of the 2001/2 season after many years of volunteering and managing many parts of the business.

Chicopee hired Greg Stremlaw on June 3, 2002 as our new “Executive Director”. With the important guidance through Greg, Chicopee redeveloped itself as a “Year round 4 season Resort”. Chicopee added a new 2 hour lift ticket ($22) and a 4 hour lift ticket ($27), allowing skiers to ski more often for a shorter period of time. New employee hand books, job hiring fairs, ski swaps where some of the new directions taken.

2003/4 season, was the start of many new adventures for Chicopee. A new 400’ Magic Carpet lift was opened, the Beginner Centre name was changed to Little Foot, along came our new mascot called “Kodi The Bear”, snowboarders were now allowed to board down Sugar Bowl, membership drive was up 35% ( with 159,174 skier visits per year). McMaster Sports opened up a new retail store. Chicopee held it’s first Golf Tournie on Sept 18th, and hosted the first Snowmobile Race on the Hill on April 5th (after the ski season ended).

2004/5 season opened with many more new events and activities including: Beach Volleyball courts with nightly competitive Leagues , new mountain bike trails, and the start of Kids Summer Camps ( during the summer holidays). Chicopee celebrated their 70th year with many new Winter additions: new ” 500’ Magic Carpet Lift” replacing the Sumac T-Bar, placed between the new Bearfoot + Rabbits Foot runs, this now completed our New Beginner Centre with 4 beginner runs, 2 beginner carpet lifts and chair lift for all new beginner skiers to develop their skills. Chicopee also opened a new Terrain Park for Snow Boarders (beside Apple Bowl), also purchased a new Piston Bully Snow Groomer.

The Board of Directors, working along with the Ventin Group created a new master plan for the future of Chicopee. This was the beginning of major changes to the Chalet and property over the next 4 years. A new expanded Rental shop was built, also purchasing 500 new pairs of skies and helmets. New outdoor rock climbing wall, new Challenge Course with low + high ropes Courses, new outdoor Cedar Deck, new Guest Services/ Snow School Customer area, new offices, new washrooms on second floor, etc. All the summer programs expanded to include: new outdoor Educational Programs, Amped XC mountain bike race series, new girls only camps, LEAP (leadership + educational adventure programs), etc.

2008/9 A new Bike Park with 70 members ( 2 pump tracks, 7 jump lines) was very successful for its first year. At Chicopee “We aim to create opportunities for athletes + individuals to participate and excel”. Summer camps grew from 500 kids in 2007 to over 900 in 2008. Beach Volleyball had 54 teams. The parking lot was full many nights during the week. Other improvements included a new “Summit Meeting Room” holding up to 20 people for meeting and functions. The winter program included: improvements in snowmaking on Littlefoot, new on site Web Cams, purchasing lift tickets + programs on line, new Express Pass, New Chill Freestyle Series on Thursday nights, on Terrain Park.

2009/10 Mission Statement “ To provide the best possible year-round recreational experience and facility to the local community and beyond” Vision Statement “ Chicopee will be a leader in Southern Ontario by providing a quality, year round recreational experience and facility supported by sound partnerships within the local community and beyond”. New programs for the summer include Outdoor Disc Golf course, new outdoor fitness programs, boot camps, bike clinics. Ok-throw-ber-fest disk golf tournie. Chicopee now has Wi-Fi available and is part of Facebook + Twitter sites.

Sat Oct 24 2009 Chicopee 75th Swinging Years Gala. Our house was full and decorated with the 1930 theme. The night included: dinner, dancing, speeches from past + current presidents, prizes, the hall of history ( displaying many photos, videos, ski clothing, equipment from the past 75 years).