The Canadian Ski Hall of Fame honours those who have made a spectacular impact on alpine sport. From athletes to business professionals, Hall of Famers are the forerunners who power ahead and make the snow sports industry better. One of the most recent inductees was Gord Canning, former President and CEO of Blue Mountain Resort in Ontario. Although not known for his ski turns, Canning carved an important path as an Alpine Builder during his time leading Ontario’s largest ski resort.

Gord CanningGord Canning moved to Toronto as a “non-skier” but was convinced to try the sport by a few friends. The move to take up skiing proved to be an important one as it would eventually lead Canning to meet his wife, Katherine, daughter of Blue Mountain founder, Jozo Weider. Canning supported Jozo for several years as Weider pursued his vision for Ontario’s premier ski destination. Although it took much coaxing, Canning eventually agreed to work at Blue and eventually stepped up into leadership at the resort following Weider’s untimely passing in 1971.

Gord Canning became President and CEO of Blue Mountain Resort in 1978. Canning remained Blue Mountain’s President until 2014 when he retired. During his time in the role, the resort significantly expanded its snowmaking operation making Blue’s snowmaking operation the most advanced in Canada. The investment in technology and automation was particularly significant in a region with increasingly variable winters.

In 1999, Canning oversaw Blue Mountain’s partnership with Intrawest. The partnership would lead to the expansion of four-season activities at the ski destination. It was also a springboard for the development of the now iconic Mountain Village and overall diversification of the ski destination experience.

Canning has admitted that leading a Resort was not in his plan following his post-secondary studies. Equipped with a background in mathematics, however, Canning was able to bring a fresh perspective to how the industry measures and interprets skier data. Gord Canning oversaw research and development that would better gather skier visitation information. With clearer information about who was skiing and when, Blue Mountain could better plan for peaks and valleys in Resort activity. This information and approach to strategic planning was incorporated into the Canadian Ski Council’s activities and continues to be essential for Canadian ski resorts to this day.

As any true builder, Canning has approached his role in the industry as one that should set up the future for success. He notes that being an Alpine Builder requires, “Investment into innovation. The ski industry is ever-c