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Espanola Ski Club celebrating 60 years this winter season

Celebrating everything snow and the love of skiing will be the focus on the 60th Anniversary celebrations for the Espanola Ski Club.

Tom Hutchinson, the general manager of Boogie Mountain says they will kick off the celebrations February 11th by hosting their annual big air event and participating in Espanola’s Winter Carnival.

He notes Boogie Mountain honours Armand Bourguignon, one of the founders of the club and a national ski competitor lovingly known as Mr. Boogie.

Hutchinson adds a special logo has been designed to mark the anniversary with the big party to be held at the end of February followed by other special events throughout the ski season.

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Boogie Mountain and its club have long been a vital part of the Town of Espanola.

Armand Bourguignon was an avid skier from the age of 13 and became a competitive ski jumper in the 1950s, participating in the Canadian championships. He also enjoyed downhill, cross-country and slalom.

He moved to Espanola in 1957 and within a few years, raised the funds to purchase the land at the present-day ski hill located off Bass Lake Road in the south end of the town. Though established in 1958, the hill was not formally recognized until 1962 leading to its 60th anniversary this 2022-23 ski season.

Not only did he play a vital role in installing a power T-bar, but he also coached hundreds of youngsters throughout the year and built a 25-metre wooden ski jump so enthusiasts could learn how to jump.

Back in the 1970s, and working closely with fellow enthusiasts, Jackie and Gordon Dysart, Bourguignon and other volunteers bought two old company houses, dismantled them, and transported the pieces to the hill to build the chalet.

Although no longer providing instruction and living a somewhat quiet retirement, he still enthusiastically supports skiing and the enthusiasts who access the hill named in his honour having most recently made a visit in 2020 to check out the new snowboard facilities and the upgrades made over the last few years.

Under Hutchinson’s direction, the ski hill has seen much improvement over the last few years and is now a four-season destination including golfing in the summer as well as its popular mud run Not only does the hill attract enthusiasts for snowboarding, but it also has 12 groomed runs, snowmaking equipment, plenty of cross-country skiing, and runs special events throughout the year. It also runs lessons for all ages and seniors get a special day of their own during the ski season, every Tuesday. The chalet has also had some upgrades, Boomer Park is set up, fencing installed, and the brushing of the hill is well underway. A major work project sealing in the snowmaking cables was just completed as well. Thanks to the Ontario Trillium Fund, they received $150.000 to upgrade the snowmaking system to reach from the top to the bottom of the hill. Now it is just a matter of waiting for enough snow to enjoy all that Boogie Mountain has to offer.

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