George St. Amour (left) and Marcel Labrie catch up at the T-Bar over beer and helium during Panorama's Staff Alumni Reunion event held on March 9 and 10 as part of  the ski resort's 50th anniversary.

George St. Amour (left) and Marcel Labrie catch up at the T-Bar over beer and helium during Panorama's Staff Alumni Reunion event held on March 9 and 10 as part of the ski resort's 50th anniversary.

Panorama welcomes former staff to reunion weekend

During Panorama Mountain Village's 50th year in operation, the resort has invited all of its staff, past or present, to a weekend reunion

Plenty of cheers were exchanged by old friends rejoicing last weekend as Invermere’s local ski resort hosted an alumni party. As part of the ongoing celebrations during Panorama Mountain Village’s 50th year in operation, the resort has invited all of its staff, past or present, to a weekend reunion at the hill on March 8 and 9. “I came here in ’81 looking for the same thing the lifties are looking for now,” said George Duncan, who’s been employed at Pano since 1981, and had no trouble recalling his favourite year of employment at the hill. “The year I met my wife, she was a lift operator at the bottom of the platter lift, and I was a ski patrol at the time, and I think I patrolled that platter more than any other patroller ever did,” he said. “So I married her in ’85. There’ve been a few married couples who met working on the hill at Pano.” Duncan and his wife were both at the alumni reunion, where a tsunami of old co-workers were congregating.After more than 30 years of service at the resort, where about 100 new employees find work every winter, Duncan’s met thousands of counterparts who have worn a Panorama uniform. The most memorable colleague of Duncans’, however, was Sharon Wood, a ski patrol director in the early 1980s. “She was my boss and she’s pretty incredible — she was the first North American lady to summit Everest.” But in his earlier days at the resort, work was a different place than it is today. “All the condos [are the biggest change]. In the olden days, there was just the ticket office, a liftie shop and a cafeteria at the bottom — now you can’t swing a dead cat without hitting a condo, but I guess that’s the way things go.” Panorama alumni were welcomed to the resort on Friday with a reception followed by a Cowboy Casino, a western-themed mobile casino. Guests then socialized at the T-Bar during a live performance by the band Funk & Disorderly. Alumni were offered reduced lift tickets over the weekend and family-friendly activities on Saturday, March 9. Later, Andy Stuart-Hill put together a slideshow. Stuart-Hill’s slideshow took viewers through the years of Panorama, decade by decade. The weekend wrapped up Saturday evening with an adults-only evening at the Great Hall. Speaking with The Echo, Panorama marketing manager Scott Morgan explained why the resort hosted the milestone reunion over the weekend. “We wanted to think up some ways to celebrate Panorama’s legacy, so we thought it would be a great idea to have a 50th anniversary alumni party and bring back lots of old staff that have helped Panorama grow through the years. It’s a good chance to celebrate the legacy, share some stories and have fun.”

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