Island Lake Catskiing and Oolichan Books are working together to create a book celebrating the history of Island Lake and the Cedar Valley. Titled ‘Bears Above the Valley’, and co-authored by Mike McPhee, Mark Gallup, and Lee-Anne Walker, the book will document Island Lake’s rise to fame.
“There was about a decade in the 90’s where Island Lake was one of the most famous media destinations in the world for ski and snowboarding,” said Mike McPhee, Co-Author and Director of Sales and Marketing for Island Lake. “Almost every magazine took photos, there were tons of covers, a lot of ski and snowboard celebrities came, and two of the biggest became owners, Craig Kelly and Scot Schmidt.”
McPhee added, “Mark Gallup, who owns The Guides Hut and still lives in town here, he was one of the bigger ski and snowboard photographers around in the 90’s, so he’s also part owner.”
2013 marks the 25th year of catskiing at Island Lake Lodge and the book will cover not only the history of skiing in the area, but the background of the Cedar Valley itself. McPhee explained, “We did a fair bit of research on the turn of the century logging operations, the locals that used the land for different things, there’s a little natural history section about geology in the forest and the microclimate, and then quite a few historical photos. There’s also quite a few good quotes from people that have been involved over the years, both staff as well as some of the famous skiers and snowboarders, and a ton of amazing photos.”
When it came to choosing a publishing house to work with, McPhee said Oolichan Books was a natural fit. “It was a great benefit, it helped to have a local publisher and some other local folk involved.”
He went on to say, “It would have been more of a struggle to work with a larger printing house that not only didn’t really know about Island Lake, but most likely wouldn’t have known what cat skiing was either. “
With just the final touches left, McPhee expects the book to be sent to the printers shortly, with an expected release date sometime in November.