Remembering Industry Pioneers

In July 2021, our CWSAA ski family lost two of its industry greats.

  • Peter Alder, 1930-2021
  • Mike Wiegele, 1938-2021

Peter and Mike spent their entire lives sharing their passion, talents and ambition for skiing with the industry.  Their legacies have touched so many in the ski industry.  As such both Peter and Mike were recognized with the Jimmie Spencer Lifetime achievement award – Peter Alder the 2019 recipient and Mike Wiegele the 2020 recipient.  The entire industry is saddened by the loss and offer our condolences to the Alder and Wiegele families.


Peter Alder, 1930 – 2021

As an entrepreneur, engineer, manager, and counselor to many, Peter has shaped the ski industry in this province in some capacity over the past 61 years.

He started at Rossland in 1960 as the first professional manager of Red Mountain. During his time at Red, Canada West Ski Areas Association was started – Red became one of the first founding members, and Peter became one of the first Board Members of CWSAA, serving as President from 1968-69 and again in 1981-83. During these years as a Board Member of CWSAA, Peter played a major role in helping to get the Association established, setting industry standards and developing education and training programs.  And in 1979 participated in the selection committee that hired Jimmie Spencer as Executive Director for CWSAA.

Following his time at Red Mountain, Peter served as General Manager for SilverStar, then Big White and worked for a lift manufacturer before becoming a Senior Lift Inspector for the Ministry of Transportation.  In 1978 Peter Alder took on the role of General Manager at Whistler Mountain, where he initiated the first ski area master plan for Whistler Mountain.   Throughout the 80s Peter was involved in various organizations in Whistler bringing his wisdom and passion into developing the community and being a recipient of the CWSAA Jim Marshall Leadership Award in 1986.

In the mid-90’s Peter began his role with Ecosign Mountain Resort planners, where he was involved in planning for ski areas around the world.

He received a Lifetime Achievement Award in the Whistler Chamber of Commerce’s  Excellence Awards in 2013. In 2019 the Canada West Ski Areas Association recognized Peter with the Jimmie Spencer Lifetime Achievement Award. Peter was always involved in his community, whether as a Rotarian, on the Chamber of Commerce, and as mentor and good friend to many.

Peter’s memorial service will be held Friday, July 23rd in Whistler and online through zoom. View Peter’s obituary, write a condolence to the family, and see details on his memorial >> HERE


Mike Wiegele, 1938 – 2021

Mike Wiegele had a fierce passion for skiing as a competitor, coach, entrepreneur and industry pioneer. Mike Wiegele’s motto was “Let’s Go Skiing!”  Growing up in Austria, and immigrating to Eastern Canada, in the early 60s Mike moved west in search of the best snow and most majestic mountains.  He met his wife Bonnie while working at Lake Louise as the Ski School Director and in his spare times would take guests on ski trips in the Cariboo Mountains.  In 1974 Mike discovered Blue River and began buying land to develop a full-service heliskiing resort – the first of its kind.

Among numerous commendations awarded him: The Bravery Award from the Governor General of Canada; The 1996 CWSAA Jim Marshall Award for Excellence; the Honour Roll of Canadian Skiing for outstanding contributions to the growth and development of skiing in Canada; Hall of Fame from the Canadian Ski Instructor Alliance; Banff Sports Hall of Fame; Austria’s prestigious Goldenes Verdienstzeichen Gold Medal. In 2019, Thompson Rivers University awarded Mike an Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree and in 2020 Mike was recognized with the CWSAA Jimmie Spencer Lifetime Achievement Award – view the award video HERE

To ensure Mike’s legacy and dedication to safety in the mountains continues, the Wiegele family has established the Mike Wiegele Avalanche Association Fund.  This fund will support safety and loss prevention through avalanche research. Mike’s family would appreciate you honouring him through a contribution to this fund.

Read the message from Mike Wiegele Heliskiing and more about the Mike Wiegele Avalanche Association Fund >> HERE