Canadian Ski MuseumCanadian Ski Hall of Fame

Canada's Olympic Skiing/Snowboarding Memories

1964 Innsbruck, Austria

Canadian Olympic Men's Ski Team

Canadian Olympic men's ski team [L to R]: Verne Anderson (coach), Scott Henderson, Rod Hebron, Gary Battistella, Robert Swan, Jean-Guy Brunet, Peter Duncan - CSM# © Canadian Olympic Association (publication)

Innsbruck, with a long tradition of winter sports, had suffered one of its worst winter seasons. International Olympic Committee (IOC) officials were confronted by the seemingly insurmountable task of bringing in more snow to the Olympic venues if the Games were to be saved. Ten days before the Opening Ceremonies, a Herculean effort by the Austrian army saw 20,000 ice blocks transported from a local mountain top using the luge and bobsleigh tracks.

Approximately 40,000 cubic meters of snow was used for the alpine courses and flattened by hand and foot, with an additional 20,000 cubic meters set aside for emergencies.

Emerging commercialism and its continuing confrontation with IOC President Avery Brundage's inflexible definition of an amateur, led to a ban on skiers from displaying their equipment during television interviews.

Canadian Olympic women's alpine team

Canadian Olympic women's alpine team [L to R]: Edith McElligott (manager), Linda Crutchfield, Nancy Greene, Karen Dokka, Nancy Holland, Pepi Salvenmoser (coach) - CSM# © Canadian Olympic Association (publication)

Canadian alpine teams weren't considered much of a threat following their pre-Olympic competition results. Nancy Greene was by far the best Canadian alpine skier at Innsbruck with a 7th place finish in the downhill event. Peter Duncan skied extremely well with a 19th place finish in the slalom. The nordic teams struggled throughout the Games as inadequate funding led to the cancellation of their dry-land training, and participation for only one pre-Olympic competition.

Although Canadian skiers were unsuccessful in winning a medal, the Canadian teams continued to earn the respect and recognition of all the nations present. Even with marked improvement, Canadians still remained well behind their European competitors. It would require training improvements and more funding support if Canadian aspirations were to be realized.

Canadian Olympic ski jumping team; Henry Sotvedt (manager-coach), John McInnes, Kaare Lien, Frank Gartrell, Niilo Itkonen (coach) - CSM# © Canadian Olympic Association (publication)

Canadian Olympic cross country team; Don McLeod, Eric Luoma, Niilo Itkonen (coach), Franz Portmann, Martti Rautio - CSM# © Canadian Olympic Association (publication)

Opening date: January 29, 1964
Closing date: February 9, 1964
Candidate cities: Calgary (CAN), Lahti/Are (SWE)

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