“It was a spectacular season,” proclaims manager of Kinisoo Ridge Ski Resort, Jurgen Grau, in front of the Municipal District (MD) of Bonnyville Council Wednesday morning. The manager was in to recap the 2015-16 season; as well as, to speak on a special award he had received: the Lars Fossberg Award.
“Recently, I was awarded the Lars Fossberg Award from the Canada West Skiers Association.” Grau spoke of the award and what it means on the crossroads that the hill is reaching. “Lars Fossberg was the ski area operator in Northern BC. He was literally a pioneer. He was described as the ‘salt of the earth’, he built that ski area by hand. He made the runs himself, he used the logs to make the out buildings, the chalets, his home. He didn’t buy parts for his equipment, a lot of times he built parts. The award was put together by his family, in memory of their father, who passed away.”
Grau stresses the importance of this award and what it means for him to have received it. “When I was nominated, I had no idea. I was sitting at an award dinner, and had no idea.” Sitting among elite ski hill managers in the country, Grau admits, “I had no idea what was coming. All of a sudden they’re talking about this year’s winner and I’m very excited to see who won it; because I have great respect for this award and the people who have won it in the past… and they called my name! I had no idea, the blood ran out of my body.”
“I’m up on stage and in the background they are showing a brief history of Kinisoo Ridge and what has been accomplished here in the last twenty years. [On the screen] they’re showing this hill from the beginning to where we are today. As they’re listing these things off, behind me, I came to realize a lot has been achieved. This ski hill has come a long way.”
Lars Fossberg had two goals in mind when he build the ski hill that he built. Those goals transcend to what has been achieved at Kinisoo. “One to bring families together,” says Grau, “the other was to bring the communities around him together. Those were the important things to him.”
“I’m not Lars, I don’t own Kinisoo Ridge; I only manage it,” ever-humble Grau thanks the MD for all that they have done to build a successful hill, “this award really isn’t about me. It’s about all the people that started 35 years ago with Kinisoo Ridge and the last 20 years what the Municipality has done. The hard work over the last couple years; not only my staff at the hill, but the staff [at the MD]. The many Councillors and Reeves that stood behind the project and all the projects along the years.”
I really would like to say, we’ve done really good work out there & we’ve done it for the right reasons; we’ve done it for the communities, for families, for kids, and for the well-being of everyone around us. – Jurgen Grau 2016 Lars Fossberg Award Recipient
“This season was exceptional with snowfall that we had, the unbelievable staff that we had out there, lots of attendance; it was a banner year, one of the bests that we’ve had in the last while.” Grau says the hill achieve many milestones in the 2015-16 season, “we’re reaching quite a few milestones with this season and last season. This season marked the 20th year that the MD has owned and operated the facility. Next season will mark the 35th year that the facility has been in the community.”