Tribute to Dave Stelmock

Stelmock and Raine

by Al Raine
We’re all shocked and saddened by your unexpected passing and are sorry we didn’t have time to thank you for your contribution to our community, and to say goodbye.

Going into Bolaccos for a mid-morning coffee, where you were a regular fixture, we still find it hard to believe that you’re not sitting there to greet us, or entertaining guests with stories of the early days, skiing the Burf.

We respected your unconditional passion and commitment to Sun Peaks, ski racing, our national alpine team and Elli, the Burfield chair, and our new municipality. We shared your frustrations with TV coverage of international ski racing; your suggestions to improve the skiing experience will be missed by all (especially Jamie); and we remember well that you were never too shy to give a few hints about municipal improvements and priorities.

Dave Stelmock skiEven when we didn’t share your visions, it was difficult to ignore your strong opinions because we knew that you loved Sun Peaks above all and only wanted to see our community get better.

As national team program director, I clearly remember receiving the call that a young ski racer had forerun the Panorama downhill and flown over a jump right into the path of a snowcat that shouldn’t have been on the course. The first reports were very concerning — critical condition, both legs shattered, fractured ribs, and a bad concussion. A few days later we heard you’d live but would have difficulties walking and may never ski again. We all smile thinking about how the nurses rolled you out into the sunshine during your months of recovery so you could take in the sun’s rays and ‘toke’ the odd one. You must have been Canada’s first approved medical marijuana patient.

Yes, you walked with a bit of a limp, but you skied with speed and grace and never lost your enthusiasm. You loved ski racing in spite of the cruel cards you were dealt, and life didn’t always treat you too fairly, but you never complained about it. You always had that warm and affectionate rogue-like smile that made you so special and loved.

Dave, we miss you each day, we miss your thoughts and stories. We’re consoled by the fact that you were living here and looking up at your beloved Tod Mountain until the end. Your spirit is with us and when your many friends plant the flowers under the lifts each spring, we will remember you. Thank you for making Sun Peaks a special place.