By Grace Oborne
Former member of the Boshkung Lake Ski Club, Garth Mole, recently took time to reminisce about the days he and his fellow members would soar above Boshkung Lake to the applause of hundreds.
During the pandemic quarantine, Mole collected photographs from over those years and placed them in photo album that he will donate to Stanhope Museum for locals and tourists to look through.
Lake Boshkung Skiers was a club that ran from 1962 to 1969. It started with six men who were heavily involved in waterskiing on Boshkung Lake and eventually grew.
“The reason why I started this book is because when we started back in 1962, there were six of us. So during COVID, I got a hold of all the pictures and thought I’d better put it together, because there’s only three of us left. We may not be around for a long time, and someone has to tell the story,” said Mole.
“We decided to start a club but we needed money to do that, so we started doing ski shows, and eventually we got sponsors, got boats and motors, and we started this ski club and it became one of the best ski clubs in Canada,” he added.
A reason the club was one of the best in Canada, is not only because all the skiers were spectacular, hence the show name “ski-tacualr’, but because there were quite a few champions on the team.
Andy Murdison, who passed two years ago, was a junior champion of Canada and was one of the world’s top water-skiers in the 1960’s. He was inducted into Waterski and Wakeboard Canada’s Hall of Fame in 2011. He trained all over the world and eventually became a World Champion.
It should also be noted that Ross Pawson was another member who became a champion in Canada for men’s slalom and Charlie Boudreau was a senior men’s champion in Canada.
The Boshkung Skiers would have competitions at Matabanick Inn, on Boshkung Lake. To support their club, they travelled outside the county to put on shows as well.
“We were really lucky to have met Matabanick Inn. It was a resort. I think about it now that they were running a business and all of a sudden, there’s 35 kids on their waterfront, waterskiing and they put up with us. I mean, it was parties at night and ski all day and motors going back and forth. All the guests at Matabanick Inn came to watch and really enjoyed it. It was entertainment to them,” said Mole.
“We really did a good job, and to support the gas and boats, we did ski shows. Every long weekend, July, August and September, we did a night ski show. So it was strictly at nine o’clock at night with floodlights and flares, it was just amazing,” he added Mole.
In an interview with Mole, he went through the album and shared the memories that he vividly remembers.
“We did it all over the place, and people would pay us money to put on the ski shows. See where it says Ski-tacular? That was the name of our shows and this is our flyer that we’d send out and we’d charge $1 per adult and 25 cents for kids. We’d bring in $1,000, and that’s going back in 1962. That was a lot of people,” he said.
The Boshkung Lake skiers had around 25 skiers at the time and about 50 members. They had two ski boats, about $20,000 worth of inventory between boats, motors, skis, and their teams jackets. The funds for all of their equipment came from the success of their ski shows.
“We had people on the shores with the floodlights. We had people looking after skis and ropes and somebody on the dock saying who was next, then we had boat drivers. We had pickup boats because we had to pick up skis and skiers who fell at night. You’d have a hard time finding them with all the floodlights and flares,” recalled Mole.
“I’m proud of it. We had a really good name. I’m proud to have been a part of that ski club. We were all 20 years of age at the time and this is something that we spent seven years of our life doing. It’s all we did. We had meetings, we worked, we skied,” Mole added.
There were also many woman in the ski club. Some were even siblings of other members. Carole Pawson and Ross Pawson would often do acts together.
“We had a kite flying act, where Ross and his sister, Carole would do a trick out on the water. We had two kites going up into the air at the same time, it was a pretty big deal,” said Mole.
Another thing we did, that a lot of people don’t do, is ski from Toronto to Montreal. That was something interesting that I want people to know that I will always remember. I was skiing Expo, and I looked down and there’s my aunt that lives down the road waving to me. Picked her out of the crowd, it was amazing,” he added.
The response from the community back then was only positive. Everyone enjoyed what the Boshkung Lake skiers were doing.
“Boshkung people were fantastic. They loved it. The community, especially Boshkung Lake were really floored because it put them on the map. The rest of the people would go to a show and that was about it, but Boshkung Lake became well-known through us,” said Mole.
In 2018, the remainder of the club came together for a reunion to celebrate their success and to remember their memories together.
“Overall, this is a story of six guys who started a club in 1962, that grew and ended up being one of Canada’s top best water ski clubs in Canada. This album is important to not only myself, but the community because there’s a lot of work went into it. This is history,” concluded Mole.