• Trevor Greenway

Happy Birthday, Ski Vorlage

There aren’t too many kids who grow up with a ski instructor for a babysitter.


That is, aside from the hundreds of Wakefield students who carve their way through the elementary school’s ski program every year at Vorlage.


After five grades of being a school parent, it’s still impressive knowing that kids spend their after-school time learning how to ski or snowboard on a hill just a few hundred metres from their school. Instead of monkey bars, kids are zipping through the glades of Maple Lane and cruising the chilled lines of Easy Rider.


And what’s really cool is just how many kids have spent these precious after-school hours on the slopes. After 75 years in operation, it’s safe to say that tens of thousands of kids have barrelled down the slopes of Vorlage, perfecting their pizza slice, eating poutine and popcorn with friends and potentially finding a sport they love.


That’s what Wakefield snowboarder Griffin Mason did. The young snowboard-cross phenom grew up carving the slopes at Vorlage and is now earning top-10 finishes on the world stage. Others have also found success on the Wakefield slopes, including Olympian “Crazy Canuck” Ken Read, who won his first-ever race at Vorlage in the 1960s.


But Vorlage has been more than just a ski hill for locals throughout the Hills. The charmingly-dated chalet, with its original red brick walls and rows of fluorescent lights, has been the backdrop for the what’s what of community events in Wakefield: we’ve all seen each other at the Christmas Craft Fair; The host Vorlage has helped raise thousands over the years for the Des Collines Health Foundation; hundreds of joggers crossed the finish line at Vorlage during the Wakefield Covered Bridge Run in 2015; there have been parties and special events, like spartan-style races, DIY dummy races and quirky concerts; and those of you cool enough to be around during the Gatineau Clog know just how special Canada’s most successful country music festival was. The Clog, founded by Canadian country legend Wayne Rostad, raised close to half-a-million dollars for local hospitals and services.


Vorlage is always there. The perfect venue for pretty much any event you could think of. It’s never been pretentious, the après-ski food is decent and the beer is always cold and reasonably priced.


As the hill celebrates 75 years this season, take some time to reflect on the memories you’ve made there: the wipeouts on the slopes of Headwall; your first 360 on a snowboard; the day you married the man or woman of your dreams.


Vorlage is that perfect seam on the collective quilt keeping all of Wakefield warm. Let’s embrace it.


Happy birthday, Ski Vorlage.