Our Founders The Drurys
Allan Herbert Drury (June 18, 1940 – January 20, 2008)
Click to view: A photographic slideshow of Allan’s life
Few lived life as fully as Allan Drury. Innovator, joker, adventurer, pioneer, businessman, spouse, father, and a great friend to so many, Allan was all of these and more. Born to Herb and Ida Drury in Barrie, Ontario, Allan was a high-school sports star and an excellent student. He studied to become a geologist and worked in the oil and gas industry in Calgary, Alberta. But a life-changing event would lead Allan and his equally adventurous and talented spouse, Brenda (Wedge), into the mountainous wilds of British Columbia’s West Kootenay region.
In the late 1960s, Allan was one of the first skiers to venture into the mountains with the iconic Hans Gmoser and his then “upstart” Canadian Mountain Holidays. A life-long skier (with a great love for freestyle or, as it was then known, “hot-dogging”), Allan’s heli-skiing experience, coupled with his kamikaze spirit, led him to ask, “Why can’t I do this?” As always, he knew he could. Before long, Brenda and Allan had moved to the tiny logging community of Meadow Creek, two hours north of Nelson, B.C., to start Selkirk Wilderness Skiing on Meadow Mountain in the Selkirk range, the first snow cat skiing operation in the world.
Since SWS first opened its doors to skiers in 1975, Allan has influenced the lives of many – and not just skiers. His passion for the sport and his take-no-prisoners approach to the slopes (ask any who skied with him…) had even the most reluctant skiers exploring the wild and stunning terrain of the Selkirks. The same people would come back year after year, in part for the amazing snow and the beautiful terrain, but also to be anywhere close to Allan. He was, quite simply, a magnet. Whether it was flying off a jump on “Chuck Your Lunch” (one of his favourite runs), yodelling through a powder field, or recounting the day’s events in the evening at the lodge, Allan’s love for life in the mountains was profound and infectious. One of his skiers described him thus: “He was a true gentleman, a man of honesty, courage, and clarity. You probably know the Yiddish word that bestows the highest possible honour to a man. The word is “mensch”…. Allan was a mensch and I am privileged to have known him.” Another skier describes Allan as “a man who lived his dreams, but more importantly, invited countless others in.”
Today, Selkirk Wilderness Skiing is known throughout the world as one of the finest commercial backcountry operators in the snowsports industry. Its family atmosphere, genuine commitment to staff, guests, and surrounding community; respect for the environment, and high operational standards, are all reflections of the man Allan Drury was. Whether he was paragliding above Meadow Creek, windsurfing on Kootenay Lake, hitting golf balls on the back nine (his field out back, mostly) or sharing time with his beloved daughters Andrea and Rachel (both accomplished skiers) doing all of the things the family loved, Allan made sure that every moment on this earth counted.
Allan had been experiencing the effects of cancer for two years, but few would have guessed it. He approached those years, and his leaving of this life, with his characteristic clarity of purpose, courage, optimism, and wicked sense of humour. He did not want his death to cause any interruption of the ski operation because, as he said the day before he died, “my spirit will be on Meadow, and I will want some company there.”
When he left us, he was at home in Meadow Creek with Brenda, Rachel, and Andrea, as well as other family members and friends. In his life beyond, we wish him endless “Rolling Thunders,” another Meadow run he loved.
Bio coming soon.