How it all started…
When Sigge Bjorklund moved from Finland to Vancouver in 1956, he could not find any cross-country skis in Canada. To fill this void, he began to import skis and sold them out of his garage. This venture became “Sigge’s Sport Villa”, a retail store specializing in cross-country ski equipment and clothing.*
Around this time, Sigge also noticed a need for a meeting place for cross-country skiers. In 1962, Sigge and some friends formed the Vancouver Skiers Cross-Country and Touring Club. From an initial 30 participants, membership increased to over 500 people in 1972. The club organized ski trips to Mt. Seymour, Hollyburn (Cypress), and the Whistler area as well as trips to Manning Park and later, to the interior of BC.
In the early 1960s there were no track setting machines, so people skied on hiking trails and logging roads. The road to Hollyburn only went part way up the mountain, so skiers would take a Bombardier from the end of the road to West Lake.
In 1972, the club hosted about 25 races a season at Mt Seymour, including 5 Olympic trial races. They also organized ski lessons and lectures to promote the sport. The cost of a complete set of cross-country ski equipment at that time was $75.
The Cariboo Marathon in 100 Mile House started in 1976 and members of the Vancouver Skiers participated in these races for many years. However, in the late 70s’, the focus of the club shifted away from racing to more recreational skiing. To provide support for the racing community, a number of Vancouver Skiers formed the Nordic Racers in 1980. Today, the Nordic Racers are still going strong, and continue to provide training and promote ski racing in the Vancouver area.
In the 1970s and 1980s as the sport of cross-country skiing grew, many new venues opened throughout BC. In order to ski these areas, the Vancouver Skiers organizes bus trips to most Nordic sites in southern British Columbia. We welcome all levels of skiers. Our members ski classic, skate ski, and snowshoe.
*As of May 1, 2018, after 47 years of business, the Bjorklund family permanently closed Sigge’s Sport Villa to move on to other ventures. We wish them all the best!