• Alex 50km Lahti Champion
    • The Man Behind The Dave Rees Award

      December 30, 2010

      A native of North Bay, Ontario, Dave grew up as a “four way” skier, competing in cross country, jumping, slalom and downhill ski events.   During his junior years he won and placed in these disciplines at many events provincially and nationally, including numerous medals in provincial scholastic championships and four in the U.S. Championships.   Dave won four golds, three silvers and a bronze at the Canadian Junior Championships between 1959 and 1961, competing in cross country, jumping and nordic combined in the 18 and under class.


      At the Senior level, where Dave specialized in cross country, he won every university league race which he entered while he was an undergraduate student at Carleton University, Ottawa.   In 1963 Dave was named Athlete of the Year for both Carleton University and the City of Ottawa.  At the Canadian Senior Championships during the nineteen sixties, Dave collected three golds, five silvers and seven bronze medals in both solo and relay events.


      In 1962 Dave was named to the Canadian National Cross Country Ski Team, remaining as a member for ten consecutive years until 1972 when he retired from the team.   In 1964 Dave was named as the alternate member of the Olympic Team.   Four years later, Dave achieved a boyhood dream when he earned a berth on the 1968 Olympic Team and competed in four races in Grenoble, France.   He was the first Canadian since 1932 to finish the 50 km event at a winter Olympic Games.


      Dave was a founding member of the Canadian Masters Cross Country Ski Association in 1981 and over the next nine years he competed at several Canadian National Championships and Masters World Cups.   He collected five golds and a silver at various Canadian championships, and in three Masters World Championships, garnered a bronze relay medal in Germany in 1985 and five top twenty results including a ninth place in the 50 km in 1990 at Ostersund, Sweden.   After a 16 year hiatus from World Masters competition, Dave returned to the fray and competed in Brusson, Italy (2006), McCall, Idaho (2008), Autrans, France (2009 – same venue he had raced at in 1968 at the Olympics) and Falun, Sweden (2010).


      In 1975 Dave’s book, “Cross Country Skiing - Touring and Competition” was published and eventually went to three editions and sold over 40,000 copies.   Dave had written this book partly as a result of the experience he had gained during his racing career, but also because he recognized a need for a comprehensive book on his chosen sport which would be a useful resource to beginning and proficient skiers alike.   In the thirty-five years since the first edition went on sale, many individuals have expressed their gratitude to Dave for this book and have credited him with giving them the inspiration to adopt the sport and make it a lifelong habit. 


      In 1972, after retiring from the National Team, Dave embarked on a second career in skiing, that of a volunteer.  From that time until the present, Dave has devoted countless hours to the development of cross country skiing in Canada and internationally.   Beginning with the Canadian Ski Association and subsequently with Cross Country Canada and F.I.S., Dave has served in numerous capacities and chaired many committees.   He served for many years as Chairperson of the National Ski Team Committee and of the Technical Committee, and he authored several of the earliest manuals on coaching and officiating.   From 1987 to 1990, and again from 2006 to 2008 Dave was President of Cross Country Canada and during this time he rewrote the constitution and by-laws, amongst many other responsibilities.   To date, he is the only person to have been president of the organization twice.


      In addition to his administrative roles, Dave also found time to attend many national and international championships in various capacities, including coach, team manager, wax technician and Technical Delegate.   He attended the Olympic Games in Innsbruck (1976) as team leader, in Sarajevo (1984) as a team official, in Calgary (1988) as Chief of the Course, and in Albertville (1992) as a wax technician.   Dave also took the Canadian Junior ski team to the 1976 World Junior Championships in Czechoslovakia, immediately following the Olympic Games.   Dave has been Chief of Course or Chief of Stadium at several World Cup events at the Canmore Nordic Centre, in the 1980s and in 2005 and 2010.


      In 1989 Cross Country Canada instituted an annual volunteer award in Dave’s name to honour his many years of dedication to cross country skiing.   In 1983 Dave was named to the North Bay Hall of Fame, and in 2000 was chosen as one of North Bay’s top ten male athletes of the previous seventy-five years since the city was incorporated.   In 2002, Dave was inducted in to the Canadian Ski Hall of Fame. 


      Presently, Dave still skis competitively and plans to enter many more World Loppet and World Masters events.    In his professional life, he was a university professor for 30 years (now Professor Emeritus) with a PhD in the earth sciences field.

      Dave Rees 1946 
      Dave Rees 1946 
      Dave Rees 1959
      Dave Rees 1959
      Dave Rees 1961
      Dave Rees 1961 Junior Nationals
      Dave Rees late 1970s
      Dave Rees Hiawatha late 1970s
      Dave Rees 2008
      Dave Rees 2008