SOMETIMES IT PAYS OFF TO MAKE A MOUNTAIN OUT OF A MOLEHILL. In the days before slopeside condo developments, hedge funding, and the corporatization of the ski industry, small ski slopes of the 1960s and ‘70s relied on families — moms, pops, and kids who groomed the slopes, ran the rental shops, and cut their own slalom gates from tree branches. Often their hard work and dedication paid off in ways no one could predict… as it did for the Kreiner family of Timmins, Ontario.

Their family’s ski story starts in the early 1960s with Hal and Peggy Kreiner pouring their hearts and a great deal of soul into the Timmins Ski Club. Much of the family’s discretionary income went into the development of a hill with 400 vertical feet — now Kamiskotia Snow Resort — situated amid the gold, copper, and zinc mines of Northern Ontario.

Hal, a family physician, spent his spare time developing the ski area and running the ski patrol. Peggy made brown bag lunches for her six children: Tom, Libby, Jim, Philip, Laurie, and Kathy. She organised the kids’ hand-me-down ski equipment, fed ski patrollers and ski instructors at her dinner table, and ferried Timmins ski teams across Northern Ontario for alpine races. Their routes took them between Timmins, North Bay, Sault Ste. Marie and beyond in the family station wagon, often in the middle of the night in temperatures so cold the fuel lines would freeze. Says daughter Laurie Kreiner, the family historian: “We discovered a bottle of rye can go a long way in melting a frozen gas line.”