Submitted by: Robert B. Kennedy, Q.C.
Farris, Vaughan, Wills & Murphy LLP
The 2017 meeting of the Association of Ski Defence Attorneys was held this year in Park City, Utah. Our meeting was graced by the presence of James D. Miles, Q.C., of Miles Davison LLP, Calgary, and Jim’s wife Helen. The occasion was the presentation of the 2017 Sam DeGonge award to Jim by his law partner, Todd Lee, for his very significant contribution to the defence of ski areas in Western Canada and his exceptional contribution to the sport of skiing in Canada. The Sam DeGonge award was instituted in 2012 by ASDA to recognize exceptional contribution by its members. What is noteworthy is that 95% of the members of ASDA are American attorneys. This is an indication of the impact Jim has had on the organization.
Jim retired from the practice of law effective December 2016. Some of the highlight’s of Jim’s career as described during Todd Lee’s presentation of the Sam DeGonge award include the following:
Jim is a lifelong lover of the sport of skiing and everything connected to it. He has been a ski bum, ski racer, ski coach, ski area employee, Chairman of Alpine Alberta, Chairman of Alpine Canada and at one time was an owner of a ski distribution business.
As a trial lawyer, Jim holds the record for the longest civil jury trial in Alberta history. This was a six week jury trial where Jim successfully defended a spinal cord injury claim against a ski area operator.
Jim has been a member of the Canada West Ski Areas Association since its inception.
Jim was involved in the establishment of the Calgary Olympic Development Association which successfully bid for the 1988 Winter Olympic Games.
In November, 2016 Jim was inducted into the Canadian Ski Hall of Fame.
Jim has been a member of ASDA since the mid-1980s. He has served on its Board of Directors twice.
I would be remiss if I did not mention Jim’s wife Helen. Helen is the epitome of grace, class and beauty. She is a successful cookbook author having sold millions of copies of the Best of Bridge series. There are few homes in Canada without at least one of the Best of Bridge cookbooks.
Jim has been and continues to be a tremendous mentor and advisor to many in the ski world.
The presentation was capped with a video appearance from Dave Cleary, the original NSAA Special Counsel, and the godfather to all ASDA ski defence attorneys in North America. Dave congratulated Jim on his significant accomplishments on behalf of the ski industry over several decades. Congratulations Jim on behalf of all of your friends and colleagues with Canada West Ski Areas Association.