October 7, 2019

An iconic ski racing sponsorship has sparked a lifetime of volunteer dedication

Volunteers are the rock-solid foundation of our sport, organizing events and leading ski clubs. Like so many in our community, Doug Airey, our 2019 Honoured Volunteer, represents the very best of the ski family.

“What an amazing, life-long family sport” is how Doug describes the many years his wife Mary and their children Michael, Noelle and Janet have been totally engaged at all levels of alpine ski racing. “We always must be passionate about the sport and willing to contribute, what we can, in the most positive of ways.  I feel sorry for the folks unwilling or unable to volunteer.  They are missing amazing times, friendships and opportunities.”

The spark to get involved in ski racing came from one of the most iconic sponsorships of our sport. “When I was with GM of Canada I was lucky to be part of the team to bring back the Pontiac GMC Cup and I was “bitten!” said Doug. When the Airey family moved to Calgary, they started their kids skiing at Canada Olympic Park and subsequently joined the Kananaskis Alpine Ski Club. “Our involvement really took off when we moved to Edmonton and joined Snow Valley Racing. Volunteering was a necessity and then it became a passion because of the great folks we worked with and the great cause we were helping (our kids!).”

Like so many ski families, volunteering became a central contribution to support ski racing. Doug became fully engaged with the Snow Valley Ski Club as Alpine Chair and is currently President of the club with his focus now on operations. He stepped up to Chair of the North Zone and as an Alberta Alpine Board member. He took up leadership roles with officials and as a Technical Delegate. His passion extended into volunteering for many years with the World Cup races at Lake Louise, the World Ski Championships, Special Olympics Canada ski races in Jasper and the World Winter Games for Special Olympics in Korea.

“Doug personifies a skiing racing pioneer” said Charles Gushaty, a volunteer who has worked alongside Doug and Mary. “He has a passion for skiing and our organization, always excited and willing to help us with anything we ask of him. His gentle personality shines through and he is always positive and energized about the kids and the sport. He is a great ambassador of our sport”.

With decades of volunteering now behind him, Doug has some advice to share with our current and future leaders: “You learn every time you help. You meet your best friends. It’s an opportunity to help, share experiences and be mindful to yourself to show patience. Ski racers make great citizens and we can always use more great citizens in our communities.” With pride, he shared that his three children, now grown and well past their ski racing days, starting to make their own mark: Michael is now serving in the Canadian Army, Noelle has just accepted a position in the ski tourism field in Switzerland and Janet is a 3rd year at UBC-O and a ski coach at Big White.

The Canadian Rockies Ski Racing Hall of Fame and Alberta Alpine are pleased to recognize Doug Airey, our 2019 Honoured Volunteer, whose passion for ski racing has provided leadership to athletes, volunteers and officials across Canada, ensured our clubs and race organizers have the essential tools to run great events and successful programs.

The 2019 Class will be inducted at the Highest Peak Gala, hosted at the Markin-McPhail Centre at WinSport in Calgary on Wednesday, October 30th. This event was first held in 1968, to support ski racing excellence in Alberta and western Canada. The Canadian Rockies Ski Racing Hall of Fame event is a legacy event with the goal to support future champions in the province, with all proceeds invested into Alberta Ski Racing programs.

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