Blue River’s Mike Wiegele has been inducted into the Canadian Rockies Ski Racing Hall of Fame for his life-long contribution to alpine ski racing in Canada.
Wiegele emigrated from Austria in 1965 and built core ski club programs at the Lake Louise Ski Club and Banff Alpine Racers that produced multiple Alberta and Canadian Team athletes, three of which (Thomas Grandi, Cary Mullen and Ken Read) went on to win World Cup races.
He also founded Mike Wiegele Heli-Skiing, which has brought the spectacular beauty of the Caribou and Monashee mountain ranges to thousands of powder enthusiasts. The family-owned operation is now led by his daughter, Michelle.
Other inductees honored this year were Alberta athlete Mike Irwin, honoured lifetime official Phyllis Kennedy, and honoured lifetime volunteer Jack Sandercock.
Irwin graduated from the Lake Louise Ski Club to become a top 15 athlete on the World Cup and following his athletic career continued to support the Alberta Ski Team through numerous leadership positions and sponsorship.
Kennedy has been the lynchpin of the race office for decades working events from U14 to the World Cup, ensuring the nerve centre of any ski event operates efficiently and at a world-class level.
Sandercock invested enormous amounts of time as volunteer, official and parent to lift race quality and ensure the race environment would positively influence thousands of young athletes throughout western Canada.
“Recognizing our dedicated officials, volunteers and builders is a way we can link our storied past to our future champions” said Alberta Alpine president Nigel Loring. “These remarkable individuals have made a difference – profoundly lifting our sport. We want the current generation to appreciate their hard work, which has given them great opportunities to succeed. We are thrilled that this event can ensure the impact of our honoured inductees on our sport can be acknowledged and celebrated!”
The 2015 class were inducted at the 47th annual Return of the Champions Celebration, hosted by Alberta Alpine at the Calgary Petroleum Club on Nov. 10.
World champion ski racer Cary Mullen accepted the award on Wiegele’s behalf as the Blue River resident was unable to attend the event.