At 80-years-old, Geoffrey Seagram continues his daily practice of walking from his home on Timberline Crescent, up to the hill to ski.
Before coming to Fernie in 1991, Seagram spent the majority of his life practicing medicine. After going through medical school, he completed his general surgical residency, and then two years of pediatric surgery. After this, Seagram worked with a pediatric surgeon in Miami for his travelling fellowship, then in the newborn nursery at UC San Francisco. From there, Seagram was welcomed back into Alberta in 1972, as the first pediatric surgeon at the Foothills Hospital and medical school. Seagram was the only pediatric surgeon in Calgary for eight years.
In his time off, he went west to ski in the mountains.
“It was a tough slog for a while,” he said, noting how he wasn’t welcome by other surgeons at the time, until the practice of a pediatrician was accepted as a separate sub-specialty.
“I used to say to them, I haven’t come to steal anything from you, I’ve come to show you how to do things properly,” he said with a laugh.
Seagram was later chosen to be the Chief of Medical for all the men’s ski race events at the 1988 Calgary Olympics.
Newborn surgery was the most rewarding aspect of Seagram’s career; being able to help a newborn with a defect, and send them home with the family, healthy and well.
“Part of the satisfaction, is (that) you’re dealing with kids; they have their whole life to live. So if you can do something early on and make them have a better life for it, then all the better,” said Seagram.
It was this aspect of his career which brought about a love for kids, and so when Seagram moved to Fernie in 1991, he became a ski coach. Now one of the oldest active ski coaches in Canada, he is inspiring young Fernie athletes to become doctors, physiotherapists and other medical professionals after the conclusion of their ski racing careers.In the summer months, he remains an active tennis coach in a club program near his cottage in Ontario.
All of these accomplishments earned him a spot on the Fernie’s Skiing Wall of Fame in 2014, in the category of Snow Sports.
Now, when he’s in Fernie and not skiing, Seagram spends his time carving. He’s handcrafted many beautiful pieces including fish, slalom skiers, totem poles and one of his most recent pieces of work, a replica of the Vogue Theatre. He originally took up the practice of carving when he was on call as a surgeon, waiting for the phone to ring.
Seagram believes he has lived a very healthy lifestyle. He attributes his health to the simple practice of eating well, consuming a limited amount of alcohol, as well as daily exercise, something he calls ‘Ski-o-therapy’.
“Exercise is good for you,” said Seagram. “It’s good for your body, it’s good for your brain, you’ve got to work out.”