Back to blog

Places & Faces – Harper Mountain

Places & Faces – Harper Mountain

Harper Mountain is located above Paul Lake near Kamloops BC.  It is a 2nd generation family run area owned by Norm and Lisa Daburger.  It was started in 1973 by  Norm’s parents Max & Elizabeth Daburger and Peter Huser.  The Daburgers emigrated to Canada in their teens from Bavaria, and Huser from Switzerland.  They were contractors in Kamloops, and were motivated by the idea of building a ski area, and believed that running a ski area could create year round employment for their summer construction employees.

The ski area first started with a Tbar and handle tow.  The Doppelmayr triple chair was built in 1977.

Night skiing was introduced in the early 1980’s.

The Doppelmayr triple chair was purchased from a proposed area in the US that never got built.  It is believed that two other lifts from that same project also found their way to BC mountains.


Intentionally, Harper was build on north facing slopes that preserves quality snow.  It also benefits from being in the lee of prevailing winds.

Harper was one of the first areas to embrace snowboarding in its infancy.  Norm recalls his dad explaining that he would happily sell a lift ticket to anyone.  Max also knew that Harper had lots of room, and folks on snowboards tended to play in the powder rather than the groomed slopes.

Norm Daburger was one of the first people on the chairlift on its opening day in 1977.  He would like to say “the” first person on the lift, but he explains that he got out muscled by his older brothers.

Harper Mountain base area. It is worth noting that Harper is one of several areas to have surrounded Kamloops including the Kamloops Ski Club (near current day Costco), Grandview in Knutsford, Lac le Jeune, & Tod Mountain (now Sun Peaks).



Cameron Denby (far right) was also on the chairlift that year and has taught in the Harper ski school every year since.  He was part of the CSIA PDP course this week at Harper.


The Daburger family and our industry lost Max to cancer in 2003.


Peter Huser tragically lost his life in an industrial accident in the early stages of Harper.



Elizabeth and Norm entertained CWSAA and Lisa and Mary from Tourism #Kamloops with stories of the early days. Elizabeth shared that she and Max did not realise how hard running a ski area would be.  Norm explained his (and his brothers) first job was shoveling dirt from the back of a pick up truck to gravel the road for skiers
The family. Norm (operations), Lisa (marketing), & Elizabeth (‘the books’) Daburger.  Elizabeth arrived in Kamloops when she was 19 years old.  She credits Norm for being the driving force behind its successful tubing operation.


Blair (middle) joins Elizabeth and Lisa Daburger. Blair has been with the Harper team for 10 years and part of the family. AS far as kitchen fare goes, the ‘Max Burger’ is the recommendation which includes bacon, tomato and all the fixings
The lodge has one of the best fireplaces in ski country. Its rival might be Mt. Cain on Vancouver Island.








No comments yet

You must be logged in to post a comment.