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View of Hollyburn Lodge from the First Lake Lookout - February 24, 2017


The Hollyburn Lodge Renewal Project is a result of a remarkable team effort going back over 90 years.

The story of Hollyburn Lodge began in 1924 when Rudolph Jules Verne and a group of fellow Scandinavians converted the abandoned Nasmyth mill buildings on Hollyburn Ridge into the first commercial ski operation on the North Shore mountains. One of these Scandinavians, Eilif Haxthow, took several photos on Hollyburn Mountain and wrote an account of his experiences operating the 'ski camp at the old mill' from the fall of 1924 to the spring of 1926.

In 1926/1927, Oscar Pearson and his cousins, Ole Anderson and Andrew Irving, moved the 'old mill' ski facilities to First Lake, renamed the facilities the Hollyburn Ski Camp, and were owner/operators of the ski camp from 1927 to 1946. Their efforts to introduce skiing and ski jumping to local residents, and the weekly Hollyburn articles that Pollough Pogue wrote for the Daily Province during the late 1920s enticed many Vancouverites to climb the Hollyburn trail to hike, ski, and build private cabins on Hollyburn Ridge.

By 1930, the Hollyburn Pacific Ski Club and the Vancouver Ski Club had formed and were active on the mountain. The two clubs built cabins near First Lake and organized ski jump tournaments and ski races, which eventually drew competitors and spectators from towns and cities throughout the Pacific Northwest. The Hollyburn Ski Camp became the unofficial community centre for the two ski clubs, the cabin owners on 'the Ridge' and their guests. Saturday night dances at the ski camp grew into legend.

In 1932, Pollough Pogue began to publish the Hiker & Skier magazine, which included articles about the North Shore mountains and reports from local ski clubs. The success of local ski jumpers and ski racers such as Nordal Kaldahl, Tom Mobratten, Henry Sotvedt, Noel 'Irish' Beaumont, Gus Johnson, Harry Burfield, Jack Pratt, Jack Roocroft, Daisy Bourdon and Peggy Harlin in competitions on the slopes of Hollyburn drew more people to the mountain. Tom Mobraaten was a competitor in the Olympic ski-jumping tournament at Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany in 1936 and later at St. Moritz in 1948. In 1954, Jack Roocroft, who had been trained by Nordal Kaldahl and Henry Sotvedt, was a member of the Canadian jumping team that competed at the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Falun, Sweden. Henry Sotvedt was on the Olympic Bid Committee in 1968 for the Winter Olympics to come to Whistler. He was also the first Canadian to receive certification as a judge in international ski jumping.

In 1946, the Burfield family purchased the ski camp and renamed it Hollyburn Ski Lodge. Soon after the Hollyburn chairlift opened in 1950, baby boomers began to appear on Popfly hill above the Lodge. During the 1950s and early 60s there were three lodges on Hollyburn Ridge: Hi-View Lodge, Westlake Lodge and Hollyburn Lodge.

After the loss of the chairlift and Hi-View Lodge due to fire in 1965, the number of visitors to Hollyburn Ski Lodge decreased dramatically. Fred Burfield was able to keep the Lodge open, thanks in part, to the continued patronization of the Lodge by Hollyburn's cabin community. When the Cypress Bowl Road was completed in 1973, and chairlifts were built on Mt. Strachan and Black Mountain, Hollyburn Ski Lodge became a favourite destination for growing numbers of cross-country skiers.

Cypress Bowl Recreation Limited (CBRL) purchased the Lodge in 1984 and renamed it Hollyburn Lodge. After Westlake Lodge burned down in 1986, Hollyburn Lodge was the last of the historic lodges built on the North Shore mountains before 1960.

In 1992, Bud & Naomi MacInnes organized the first Pioneer Skiers' Reunions at Hollyburn Lodge. Gordon & lola Knight, and Bob & Greta Tapp, concerned about the deteriorating condition of the Lodge, created the Hollyburn Ski Camp Project in 1998. Jackie Baker contributed a small watercolour of the Lodge, which became the logo for the project. The Hollyburn Heritage Society (HHS) was formally established in April 2000. The same year, DWV Manager of Parks & Recreation gave HHS a $2500 line-of-credit to help cover the Society’s expenses. (HHS has received a grant from DWV every year since.)

Recognizing the many challenges related to the restoration of Hollyburn Lodge, particularly the fundraising and jurisdictional issues, HHS focused their efforts on collecting and sharing documents, photos and movies related to the history of Hollyburn Mountain.

During the next decade, people who were active on Hollyburn in the 1920s, 30s, 40s and 50s donated thousands of photos, home movies, articles, newspaper clippings, and artifacts to HHS, many of which were later shared on the Hollyburn Heritage Society website and Facebook page.

In 2001, Peggy Massey, daughter of Eilif Haxthow, contacted HHS regarding the photos her father had taken on Hollyburn Ridge in the 1920s and 30s. She had also found her father's journal, written in Norwegian, which was soon translated by Jurgen Dahlie. Copies of EiIif's photos and his journal were donated to HHS.

A detailed history of Hollyburn Mountain began to emerge. Francis Mansbridge, assisted by Lois Enns, used material collected by HHS to write "Hollyburn: The Mountain & the City", which was published in 2009 by publisher Ron Hatch, owner of Ronsdale Press.

HHS continued to be a strong advocate for the restoration of Hollyburn Lodge. In 2006, the District of West Vancouver provided funding for a Hollyburn Lodge Restoration Feasibility Study, which was completed by Don Luxton and Associates later that year. This assessment included a Statement of Significance, information about the condition of the Hollyburn Lodge, a suggested plan for restoration and an estimate of the costs for restoration; $888,888.00. Jean Ferguson, a West Vancouver Councillor, confirmed DWV’s support for the project at the Pioneer Skiers’ Reunion in September 2006. In 2011, DWV committed $200,000 towards the project. The same year, the project received $100,000 in Olympic Legacy funding. Due to the extensive deterioration in the foundation of the Lodge, it was later determined that reconstruction rather restoration was the best way forward.

The Hollyburn Ridge Association led by Catharine Rockandel, and Jackie Swanson strengthened the relationship between the Hollyburn Ridge cabin owners and the District of West Vancouver. Deputy CAO for the District of West Vancouver Brent Leigh's leadership in moving the Hollyburn Lodge project forward was crucial to its success.

Cypress Mountain's management team strongly supported the renewal of Hollyburn Lodge and submitted a proposal to the ownership group including CNL Lifestyle Properties and Boyne Resorts to facilitate the core funding for the project out of Cypress' capital reserve. CNL and Boyne's support for the project funding was confirmed in October 2014. Kevin Healy's and Chris Frampton’s expertise was key in the later stages, as was involvement of many volunteers in the rebuild and the support of West Vancouver's Mayor Michael Smith and Council.

In summary, the renewal of Hollyburn Lodge was made possible because of the collection and sharing of the compelling history of the Lodge, the political journey, the hard work of Cypress Mountain staff, outside trades, and services and a strong community of volunteers. To this day, Hollyburn Mountain photos and articles past and present are collected and shared by Archivist Don Grant. This collection of mountain history is considered to be one of the best in Canada.

 The renewed Hollyburn Lodge is a masterpiece of devotion and cooperation. Thank-you District of West Vancouver, BC Parks Olympic Legacy Fund, Hollyburn Heritage Society, Hollyburn Ridge Association, and Cypress Mountain, all founding donors and all the corporate and private donors noted on the donation board.


1. Set 2-3 clear objectives.

 Since forming in 1998, the mandate of HHS has been to (1) collect and share the history of the North Shore Mountains, and (2) restore Hollyburn Lodge for future generations to enjoy.

2. Find people who are willing and able to do a variety of tasks and have the time to do so.

Four people – two co-chairs, the secretary-treasurer and the archivist/historian have been the core group for HHS during the past 16 years.

3. Keep membership requirements for your group simple.

HHS membership is by way of donating at least one of the following:

a. financial contribution    b. volunteer time    c. items-photographs & film/video, documents, personal memoirs, artifacts
These are ‘once-only’ requirements. There are no annual dues.

4. Seek funding from local sources, e.g. District of West Vancouver.

The DWV has funding available to support the operating costs of on-going programs and services and the development of new projects, programs and services.

HHS has sought funding from DWV, West Vancouver Historical Society, and the Pioneers Skiers group.

5. Invest available funds, skills, time and energy in doable projects. What is doable often changes over time.

Realizing that our core group did not have the financial resources or the legal authority to restore Hollyburn Lodge due to complex jurisdictional issues, HHS focused on collecting and sharing the history of the local mountains.

6. Gather information related to your heritage/history project in the form of text documents, photos, movies/videos and video recordings of interviews.

Today, HHS has 100’s of articles, over 10,000 photos, 2 hours of home movies, and 50+ hours of video in its archives.

7. Build public support by sharing your information on a dedicated website, a Facebook page, a newsletter/bulletin and in presentations to community groups.

Material in our expanding archives allowed us to create several videos, publish a book, create a website a Hollyburn Heritage Society Facebook page, and make presentations to community groups in West Vancouver, North Vancouver, and Squamish. Greater public awareness of HHS efforts to collect and share local mountain history resulted in significant acquisitions to the HHS archives.

8. Connect with local community groups that have similar goals/interests.

From the very beginning, HHS was closely connected to the Hollyburn Ridge Association, which represents the interests of cabin owners on Hollyburn Ridge. Bob Tapp, an HHS Co-Chair, was a long-time cabin owner on the Ridge. There was also a close connection with the West Vancouver Historical Society, which, early on, committed $10,000 towards the Lodge restoration project.  Friends of Cypress Provincial Park, the North Shore Heritage Preservation Society, the North Shore Pioneer Skiers, West Vancouver Senior Skiers & Snowshoers, Cypress Mountain and the District of West Vancouver also support the Hollyburn Lodge 2015 Renewal Project.

9. Look for and be open to new opportunities.

A couple of HHS members, Peter Tapp & his father, Bob were interested in restoring Fred Burfield’s John Deere crawler. Through his friendship with another Hollyburn cabin owner, Peter was able to submit a proposal to Deere Hitachi Specialty Products (DHSP) of Langley, B.C. DHSP decided that a complete restoration was in order. The entire machine was stripped down to the last bolt and rebuilt to better then new condition. The entire restoration and associated costs were donated by DHSP.

10. Be patient. Most likely there will be disappointments as well as successes.

In the years leading up to the 2010 Winter Olympics, HHS continued to receive support and encouragement for the Hollyburn Lodge restoration project. However, it gradually became apparent to HHS that no significant progress was being made regarding the transfer of lodge ownership. When HHS asked DWV staff for updates regarding the lodge, the response was ‘West Vancouver is waiting for deliverables from Cypress Mountain”, or “Cypress Mountain is waiting for documents from West Vancouver”, or “the fund-raising campaign will begin in about six months, or after the Olympics,’ or next spring, or ‘in the fall.” It wasn’t until 2014 that these matters were finally resolved.

11. Compromise when necessary.

The original goal of HHS was to restore Hollyburn Lodge. When it became clear that accurate costs for a restoration could not be determined accurately the restoration was completed, HHS joined Cypress Mountain & DWV in recommending that the Lodge be renewed, not restored.