From the Early Years
I was born in Basel, Switzerland on May 25, 1930 to Lucy & Charles Alder – Gaerney.
After high school in Trogen (AR), I graduated from the University in Zurich (CH) with a degree in Agriculture-Construction Engineering. I then did my compulsory stint in the Swiss Army before applying for an immigration visa to Canada. In 1951, Canada was an inviting opportunity for a young technical graduate. Many large construction projects were underway.
After a few months in Ontario (Fergus and Oshawa), a friend and I drove west to B.C., as I missed the mountains.
In 1957, I started a building supply and concrete business (PACO) in Squamish. Partnering with a group of friends in 1961, we bought the Jordan’s Lodge property — 164 acres at Alta Lake — with the intention of developing accommodation and services for the proposed Garibaldi ski area. However, a deal could not be reached with the ski area developers.
Later that year, I sold the concrete plant to a competitor. Shortly thereafter I moved with my family to Rossland, B.C. to become manager of the Red Mountain Ski Club. We built our home in Rossland and enjoyed seven good years at Red Mountain.
Moving to Whistler
In 1978, I was offered the position of Ski Area Manager at Whistler Mountain by Garibaldi Lifts Ltd.
What did I find when I moved to Whistler? A mess; a disorganized lift company. But it was also a time of exciting opportunities, including the new Resort Municipality with its very ambitious village development plans and the commitment by Garibaldi Lifts Ltd. to develop the north side of Whistler Mountain.
Shortly after moving to Whistler, I met Trudy Salmhofer, a widow. Together we started to invest in real estate and built several houses with Trudy’s brother. In spring 1983, Trudy and I were married at the old Whistler Skiers Chapel.
Trudy worked as a building contractor, ski instructor, Realtor and decorative painter; I was the Senior VP of Whistler Mountain Ski Corporation (under various ownerships) and later GM of the Whistler Resort Association. I was also a property developer and for many years a senior associate for Ecosign Mountain Resort Planners, assisting in planning various resorts in Europe and North America. We were a busy couple.
In Whistler, I participated in many volunteer roles, including the Whistler Chamber of Commerce, the RMOW Planning Advisory Commission, the [Whistler Community Foundation] and the Whistler Museum and Archives Society.
Several times we were tempted to relocate to the Coast, to satisfy Trudy’s hobby of kayaking and my passion for a large motorboat on the ocean. But we were always drawn back to our comfortable home at Trudy’s Landing on Green Lake and the many friends and acquaintances in Whistler.
Whistler Grows Stronger
Over the last two-dozen years the Whistler community has grown stronger and more diversified: Whistler and Blackcomb, now operated by one company and physically joined by the P2P Gondola, have a ski lifts and trail system like no other place. The summer activities, like hiking, biking and sightseeing, attract guests from all over the world.
The RMOW has strong policies regarding employee housing that are second to none. The recreation facilities, valley and biking trails and the upgrading of the infrastructure are all coordinated under the municipal umbrella. The various art galleries, museums and many other institutions for all ages are contributing to a healthy community.
Peter and Trudy's Legacy
As a part of our legacy, both Trudy and I would like to see the rebuilding of a Whistler Chapel on Whistler Mountain, a place for the community to reflect and celebrate, similar in spirit to the original chapel.