Liz Thorne is president of the Snow Valley Ski Club, and has been involved with the club and cross country skiing for over 30 years. (Clare Rayment)

Liz Thorne is president of the Snow Valley Ski Club, and has been involved with the club and cross country skiing for over 30 years. (Clare Rayment)

In Our Valley: Liz Thorne

Thorne has been involved with the Snow Valley Ski Club for over 30 years

When Liz Thorne decided to get involved with the Snow Valley Nordic Ski Club when she first moved to Kitimat more than 30 years ago, she never imagined just how much going to that one meeting would change her life.

You see, her future husband, Jim Thorne, was on the ski club executive team and was present at that meeting.

“The [cross country] ski club was having its fall general meeting at the library at Roy Wilcox,” Thorne said. “So my girlfriend and I went and we sat there and people talked about what they were doing and so on, and Jim stood up and made a speech about all the hiking they’d done that summer. So then I stood up and told him how he should’ve organized it better and left my phone number and the rest is history.”

Eight months later, the two were married, and Liz soon became an integral part of the ski club.

“Yeah, well I kind of married it, you know,” Thorne said, laughing. “Poor old Jim, I’ve been telling him how to organize stuff ever since.”

Thorne decided to volunteer on the ski club executive, as well, given she was already quite involved because of her husband. She spent the next 20 years as the club’s secretary, a big part of which involved writing the newsletter for members.

“There was a process to writing a newsletter in those days,” she said. “You had to write the newsletter and then, well, I wrote the newsletter and then Jim edited it and we agreed that was how it was to be done. And then we had to get it photocopied. And then we had to stuff the envelopes and address them. And then usually at about 10:30 at night, somebody made a run down to the post office to mail the damn things.”

Because of how much work the newsletters were, Thorne said they didn’t do them very often, until they started using a computer. That made things much easier, as they could type them up and email them out, and were able to start sending them once a month.

Along with her work at the ski club, Thorne spent many years as a teacher. She started teaching Grade One French Immersion, then took some time off to have kids. She worked as a substitute teacher for quite a while after that, which was nice because it meant she could more or less pick her hours to suit her needs.

“Our daughter was quite disabled, so she took a lot of time and effort. So being able to work just half-time made life a lot more manageable,” Thorne said. “And then she passed away and my son was in Grade Eight and just getting into athletics and every team he was on needed a manager, so that was the other half-time job I had, managing Ben’s teams!”

Eventually, Thorne ended up at Mount Elizabeth Middle/Secondary School teaching special education, and the job soon morphed into teaching Grade Eight English and Science, and then sewing, child development, and family studies, among other classes.

“Those were my favourite classes,” Thorne said. “For someone who thought she was going to be a primary teacher all her life, that was a change. And now I’m back on the sub list again.”

“Sometimes I’m grumpy and decide, ‘I’m not doing that.’ But no, usually I take whatever comes,” she said, adding she likes the flexibility and choice involved. “I like going down to the high school, actually, because the kids are, well they’re neat kids, actually. They’re, umm, well, you don’t have to tell them to blow their nose!”

Thorne said she loves teaching the primary grades, but sometimes it can be a bit draining.

“It’s great, it’s fun, but sometimes you just like to have a conversation with an almost-adult.”

But when Thorne isn’t able to have conversations with almost-adults at school, she can always count on her ski club for good conversation and good fun.

Nowadays, Thorne is the president of the ski club and really enjoys her involvement.

“I love being outside, I love the outdoors. I love getting out in, like, I love hiking, and it was just sort of the next thing. I’m not a particularly good skier, in fact I’m probably quite a bad skier, but I get out, I get going, and that’s all I really care about.”

Since joining the ski club, Thorne has skied across the Continental Divide twice, as well as the Wapta Icefield, which is located on the Continental Divide in the Waputik Mountains of the Canadian Rockies.

Thorne skied the Icefield with Jim, a couple other friends, and a guide, and said it was incredibly difficult because of the long distance and the steep hills, but she did manage to make it across.

“I didn’t really have any choice, nobody was going to come get me,” she said. “But we just did it for fun. That was Jim’s idea of a holiday!”

The Thornes try to go to the Rockies every year to hike and ski in the winter when they can. Thorne’s most memorable hikes include Lake O’Hara in Yoho National Park, which they’ve done a few times, as well as the Rockwall in Kootenay National Park, near Lake Louise in Alberta.

“The Rockwall in the Rockies, that was harsh.”

Thorne said the hike involves going over hills and passes, which are spectacular, but are also 10 kilometres over each pass.

But Thorne said that trip was still an incredible time and she definitely wants to keep doing more hikes and ski trips. She also wants to encourage more people to get out to the cross country ski trails at Onion Lake, especially as people start looking for sports and activities to do during the pandemic.

“Cross country skiing is going to be the sport to deal with COVID because it’s so easy to physical distance,” Thorne said. “People who want to get away from it all can get away from it all the way to Onion Lake.”

Thorne is excited for the upcoming ski season to get back out on the trails and out into the great outdoors.

“Once you’re on the trails, it’s just the best thing that you could be doing,” she said. “As long as I can go, I will continue to go.”

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Outside the Kitimat RCMP police station, Diversity Morgan’s family and Kitimat RCMP come together for a pride flag-raising ceremony. (Jacob Lubberts photo)
Kitimat RCMP host pride flag ceremony in memory of Diversity Morgan

“We’re gathered here in solidarity for anyone who’s ever experienced prejudice or discrimination”

(Haisla First Nation logo)
Haisla Nation host walk for strength and series of virtual sessions for Indigenous History Month

The purpose of the walk is to bring Haisla Nation members together and show their collective support

The District of Kitimat will be awarding business owners with a store front up to $5,000 to cover up to 50 per cent of exterior renovations. (Norhtern Development logo)
The District of Kitimat is awarding $5,000 to storefront owners for exterior renovations

The district has set aside $20,000 this year and non-profits are also eligible

Ron getting loose and sipping a glass of the family’s favourite greek amber spirit, Metaxa. (Photo supplied)
In Our Valley: Ron Lechner

Retired part-time singer and Rio Tinto lifer: Ron Lechner

Map of the road work that will be completed this summer. The streets highlighted in red are what the district planned on completing before additional funding, and the streets highlighted in orange is the road works that will be done with the additional funding. (District of Kitimat photo)
$1.1 million allocated for road work this year in Kitimat

Kitimat council has added $470,000 for more work by deferring four other projects.

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases attributed to the highly contagious Delta variant grew in Canada this week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s public health agency reports spike in confirmed cases of Delta variant

More than 2,000 cases of the variant confirmed across all 10 provinces and in one territory

Bella Bella is on B.C.’s Central Coast, accessible only by air and ocean. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
B.C. provides $22 million for Heiltsuk development on Central Coast

Elders care home project, tourism, lumber mill supported

Most Read