Skiing is a family affair, whether you’re related to the people you’re skiing with or not. In my case, I was lucky enough to be brought up on a ski hill, Silver Star Mountain Resort, near Vernon, British Columbia, that was built on this principle. Back in 1958, when the resort started, my grandfather Hubert, who was always interested in a good time, saw an opportunity to buy some shares in Silver Star, and jumped at the chance. He ran Bibby Bros Propane at the time, and rightly assumed the resort would be in need of his product, telling my father, “It’s going to be real easy to sell propane to these guys while they’re freezing their asses off on top of the mountain.”
More often than not, it takes a village to make something like a ski hill happen, which couldn’t be truer of Silver Star’s beginnings. The founding group of local businessmen, including John Hindle, John Kassa, Joe Peters, Eldon Seymour, Bill Attridge and Russ Postill, worked with the City of Vernon to build a road up to the mountain, only to have it fall three kilometres short of where they wanted it, prompting them to punch the last stretch by themselves. From there, a Poma lift and T-bar were installed, and nearly everyone in town would turn out for the busiest day of the season, which back then was Boxing Day. On one of those Boxing Days in the ’60s, both lifts broke down, forcing the founders to return their record take of $2,500 to disappointed locals, alongside assurances they would be back up and running the next day. To keep that promise to their community, legend has it they worked through the night, sipping rum as the sun came up and the lifts returned to spinning.
As Silver Star grew and became a resort, hotels were built, additional lifts were erected, and more and more people began migrating up the mountain to live there. Back then, my family was heavily involved in the freestyle scene, when triple daffies were the big-dog trick, and skis were straight and stiff. My father, Bob, a ’70s hot dogger, introduced me to the sport at the age of five while sporting a wool sweater, sunglasses and some serious hair flow up top. He would further prove his passion for the sport, and patience, by coaching and driving me around B.C. to freestyle contests throughout my youth. When my friends and I first began jumping, he would show up to show us how it was done by demonstrating spins, daffies, mule kicks, kick turns and so on. He once took a triple daffy to the bottom of the landing on the “air site”—a historic step-down jump— only to ski into a worm turn in order to stop.
When it came to skiing, I had five uncles and an aunt who, like my father, were regulars on the hill, and I managed to make some newfound friends who became like brothers. Silver Star connected me to these companions, who would go on to become pro skiers, like TJ Schiller, Riley Leboe, Joe Schuster and Justin Dorey. Or industry leaders, like Red Bull’s Marshall Talbot and Lululemon’s Fergie Cancade. Along the way, our families helped shape the Silver Star Freestyle Ski Club, which we all grew up in, by creating a sports school program and grassroots teams, resurrecting the air site, and establishing a mogul course—which, in exchange for his efforts and contributions to the resort, is now named after my grandpa.
Since it was christened as Bib’s Bumps in 2002, I consider it mandatory to return to my roots and ski it in a borderline out-of-control way every time I’m back there. The name may not have changed the way I’ve skied that run most of my life, but in keeping with Silver Star’s family focused attitude, it sure has more meaning now.
Skiing has an amazing way of connecting people and bringing out some of the best stories, emotions and memories you could ever hope to share. I feel fortunate to have been brought up at a resort alongside a group of families who supported one another. Much like Hubert and Bob Bibby, I’m looking forward to continuing that tradition with the next generation at “The Star.”