Skiiers, Dec. 29, 1965. Spec Archives
Skiers, Dec. 29, 1965. Spec Archives

It would have taken $3 million to upgrade the ski hill and lift equipment, and it was costing more than $250,000 a year to run the place, so the city closed the Chedoke Winter Sports Park in 2003, ending 40 years at what was once called  “Hamilton’s own Sun Valley.”

Happiness was a toboggan ride. Undated, Spec Archives
Happiness was a toboggan ride. Undated, Spec Archives

Unlike the current Hamilton controversy over the city’s anti-sledding bylaws, Chedoke was the perfect place to toboggan and slide.  (Also See: Hamilton tobogganers outraged over outlawing fun)

Mayor Vic Copps and Thomas Newlands, chair of the parks board, snip the ribbon officially opening the park with skiers Tommy Thomson and Ken Mandeno in the background Jan 7 1964. Spec Archives
Mayor Vic Copps and Thomas Newlands, chair of the parks board, snip the ribbon officially opening the park with skiers Tommy Thomson and Ken Mandeno in the background Jan 7 1964. Spec Archives

Opened in January, 1964 by Hamilton Mayor Vic Copps, the Chedoke Winter Sports Park had a 900-foot T-bar, night skiing, snow making, ski rentals and instruction.

Arc lights flood the slopes Feb 7, 1966 for the end of the winter carinal, the men's invitational giant slalom. Clark Munro of Hamilton was the winner. Spec Archives
Arc lights flood the slopes Feb 7, 1966 for the end of the winter carivnal, the men’s giant slalom. Clark Munro of Hamilton was the winner. Spec Archives

When it opened, an all-day lift ticket was $1 for adults, 50 cents for students, with free group instruction for kids on Saturdays and no-cost classes for ‘housewives’ on Wednesday afternoons.

The lineup at the T-bar for the trip back to the top, Jan. 4, 1974. Spec Archives
The lineup at the T-bar for the trip back to the top, Jan. 4, 1974. Spec Archives

As the years passed, toboggan chutes and more ski runs arrived.

Tobogganing, January 1973
January 1973. Spec Archives

When the park closed, Spec columnist Paul Wilson wrote in an ‘obituary’ for Chedoke that God gave Hamilton a good little hill, gravity and lots of snow.

“My own kids learned to snowboard there.  good, rosy-cheeked fun right in the city.  Forty years ago, Hamilton gave this winter treat to its people.  And now it can’t.  What kind of progress is that?”

MORE STORIES ABOUT THE PARK

Chedoke racing team takes last downhill run

Friends of Chedoke founder dies in France

More images from Spec archives:

 

10 thoughts on “Flashback: Chedoke Winter Sports Park

  1. Omg I remember #Chedoke Winter Sports Park well ! Big family day for us x My late Mom had a funny day once when her & her BF laughing so hard going down on toboggan & BF lost her upper dentures lol Ski patrol found them ! Memories x

  2. The city no longer has funds for “happy” things like tobogganing and skiing. They are too busy with grandiose personal legacy schemes like expensive transit we don’t need and bus lanes. Good grief.
    Add to that the “liability” issues they/we are all so afraid of. Someone might get hurt!!! We’ll got sued!!! Frivolous/greedy lawsuits by personal injury lawyers and opportunistic clients have totally ruined huge numbers of community events, company events, club events, school events and neighbourhood events. Someone might get hurt!!! We’ll get sued!!! Good grief.
    We need this to stop. It won’t, though. Hamiltonians, if they bother to vote, vote along “party lines” rather than for what they truly believe in. The story is a waste of newspaper space. Chedoke Winter Park is dead and its not coming back. So go curl up on your couch with your copy of Das Kapital, have another bon bon and mark the x on the ballot for your favourite left-winger who will fill you with dreams of B-Line LRT, an NHL franchise you won’t support and a city without cars.

  3. YOU FORGOT DUNDURN PARK WITH THE HOMEMADE ‘BOBSLEDS’ AND KIDS WITH SLEIGHS. THE SLIDE WAS FLOODED AND WE RODE DOWN PASSED THE PAVILION IN THE PARK.

  4. Hamilton what a joke only thing your good for is our welfare cases we dont want thats why we keep sending them to your shit hole police state city the whole city should be a nuclear test site. your core is a mess your bayfront a joke you rindustry is gone!! lol poor go no where shit hole city.

  5. 20 years later and I still love skiing just as much as when I learned how at chedoke! Thank you to the City of Hamilton for such an amazing facility. I’ve skied well over a thousand days since then and have been lucky enough to call Whistler,BC home for over a decade now. I will NEVER forget this place!

  6. What an asset we had in Chedoke! The value to kids growing up was enormous. What an affordable way for working class kids to lean to ski and keep active in the winter. Myself and my pals were there every single day after school from 1989-1998 raising hell and getting real good in the process. Taking off the lip on the top of the Senior (or the cliff after a dump). We’d clear out glade runs in the summer between the Nancy and Senior. Bombing down the chicken run and snowing the entire top of the bunny hill en route into the clubhouse for banquet burgers and fries from the old Greek folks. If we were lucky, we’d show up before the hill opened and build a hit on the top of the snowblower mounds on the Nancy before the groomers evened it out – Those 8 foot hits on top of 15 foot mounds would send us sailing into the smoke stack horizon. Let’s get Aidan and Fred on the case!!

  7. Chedoke Winter Sport Park, under the management of Dave Cowen and Tommy Joe Coffey Jr., made ski jumping (Nordic & Freestyle) an acceptable and fun activity for young skiers. Chedoke did this: not Glen Eden. CHEDOKE !!!

  8. Chedoke Winter Sport Park, under the management of Dave Cowan and
    Tommy Joe Coffey Jr., made ski jumping (Nordic & Freestyle) an acceptable,
    safe and fun activity for young skiers, starting 1989-92.

    Chedoke made this happen: not Glen Eden. CHEDOKE !!!

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