Jim Miles: Honoured Lifetime Volunteer
A volunteer leader of alpine ski racing, through an era of international celebration
Canmore (AB) – The dream of every young athlete is to stand on the podium, watch your flag rise and celebrate with your Team, coaches and those who have supported your journey. That long pathway, which can span twenty years or more, has been guided by parents and a large number of volunteers who have tended the track, been gatekeepers, timers, officials and spent countless hours behind the scene to ensure resources were sourced, budgets set and programs set in motion.
Our Honoured Lifetime Volunteer, Jim Miles, has filled most of these roles over three decades of supporting alpine ski racing, as a member of a group of parents that started a ski club for their children at Panorama (Team Panorama) and working to the top of the volunteer pathway as Chairman of our National Governing Body: Alpine Canada.
“Like any other parent I honed my skills as a gate-keeper and then went on to do my time as a course worker,” said Jim. “My affiliation is with Team Panorama. There were two or three families who had cabins in Panorama and were looking for ski racing program for their children. There was none so we organized our own club and got under way with about six or seven kids wanting to ski race. We were fortunate to get good coaches and the club has grown now, as I understand, to one of the largest in western Canada!”
Volunteers arm the machinery of alpine ski racing; a dedicated army of individuals who roll up their sleeves and work tirelessly and too often without any recognition or reward – other than to see our athletes succeed and to enjoy the thousands of youngsters who become great skiers and exceptional citizens.
But sometimes the outcome can be truly memorable. As Jim moved up the ranks of leadership, first as Chairman of the Alberta South Zone, then Alberta Alpine Chairman and then Alpine Canada Chairman, under his “watch” in this volunteer role, Canada’s athletes were on fire, capturing two Olympic medals, World Championship gold, multiple World Cup podiums and dominating the World Junior Championships.
“I always got a thrill out of watching Canadian Athletes succeed on the world stage,” said Jim. “Edi Podivinsky’s Bronze on the opening day of the (1994) Norway Olympics was very exciting. It has been an honour to be associated with the likes of Kerrin-Lee Gartner, Cary Mullen, Edi Podivinsky, Thomas Grandi, Melanie Turgeon and Kate Pace-Lindsay. Kerrin-Lee’s reaction to her run at Albertville in 1992 was a special moment for me.”
His legal skills were often put to good use to iron out the disputes that emerge in sport from time-to-time. His athlete-focused philosophy found resonance in finding solutions and bringing people together, to ensure they kept their focus on what was important to the sport. “I wanted people to work together for the benefit of the youngsters who wanted to ski race,” said our Honoured Inductee.
His leadership role brought Jim into close contact with many sport leaders, including two our Honoured Volunteer wanted to recognize. “Max Gartner was very important in supporting my way of thinking and I found that he and I were often on the same page with respect to the athlete development and the race programs we wanted to generate, said Jim. “I also would like to recognize Guy Christie who was the Alpine Chairman preceding me. He had a significant history with ski racing and his insight was invaluable.’
A lifetime of volunteering in ski racing and working in the ski industry can bring a perspective the ski racing family should understand. “The ski community is a strong group of people,” says Jim. “We need to continue to recognize the skills and the strengths of the parents and other volunteers. It is important that we develop and maintain our own traditions.”
The Canadian Rockies Ski Racing Hall of Fame is pleased to recognize Jim Miles, our 2016 Honoured Lifetime Volunteer, for serving in many roles including founding a ski club, gatekeeping Nancy Greene ski races to the leading Alberta Alpine and Alpine Canada as Chair, covering a span of more than thirty years.
The Class of 2016 will be inducted at the Calgary Petroleum Club on Tuesday, November 8th as the feature event of the Alpine Insurance Canadian Rockies Ski Racing Hall of Fame supported by Delbrook Capital. This is a free event for all supporters of alpine ski racers