Meet Gord Reid: our founder. The man who, in 1961,
started this whole thing from the basement of the Winnipeg
Ski Club on Osborne and Togo.
Every day we strive to continue what he has begun with
the same energy, passion and unwavering commitment to
excellence. This guy called it like he saw it, unabashedly
opinionated and steadfast in his resolve. You knew where
he stood when you asked him something about something.
I respected that the most about him.
Gord suffered a stroke a little while back while getting
ready for a bike ride... and until his passing on May
12 2006 (read the obituary HERE)
Gord was residing at the Riverview Health Centre. He remained
an ardent cycling fan and followed races via television
and magazines... He always had epic stories and countless
memories of days on the saddle (with the obligatory bag
balm) and days skiing Aspen... and until the last moment
yearned he could jump on his bike and go for a few hundred
What better a tribute to what this man has achieved in
sharing and communicating his love for skiing and cycling
in Manitoba than to simply publish here testimonials to
his impact on the sports he loved and the people he touched
along the way.
Here's my story... Many more will follow from people
with much more significant and poignant experiences with
the man, better stories I'm sure...
My first contact with Gord came
at Springhill (aka "the ditch") in 1998. I had
recently moved here from Montreal and had been introduced
to him by Glenn Allen "and there sits Gord"
he said, like I was supposed to know who "Gord"
was... He was sitting there, holding court... People would
come and shake his hand, sit with him for a bit... he
looked like the Godfather... Glenn spoke of him with the
utmost respect, gave me a brief synopsis of his life,
of what he'd accomplished, of how he touched so many people.
This was someone worth getting to know, this was someone
to respect. So I did... and I did. He was such a textured
man, someone who reminded me of men I'd met in Quebec
while working in the ski industry there... Builders, men
who inspired, who cared. Men who, in their respective
milieu's were admired. I learned to admire Gord. I am
still trying to do things wondering if Gord would approve.
Things like being involved with and giving back to the
ski and bike community... Taking people out to rides,
to ski trips, making sure they have the right gear...
Making sure everyone in this building does it right...
One of the best compliments I've received was from Eric
Oland. After an Epic Ride at Ingolf that I organized through
our MTB Club, Eric wrote me: "I especially like the
way you have carried on the tradition of " The Gord's
Van" leaving town every Sunday for a day of adventure.
Reminds me of going skiing with Gord when I was 18".
That made me think that perhaps, just maybe, I was heading
in the right direction.
It's one thing to run a business,
another altogether to create a culture, a sense of family,
to foster a love for what we do, to encourage people to
do it. Gord didn't simply tell people "just do it"
he took people out to do it, he encouraged them to become
better, to teach others, to grow this community... What
an incredible legacy to leave behind... Entire families,
generations of skiers, biking enthusiasts, an awesome
legacy that we should all strive to leave behind.
The last skis Gord skied on, Dynastar
Speed 63's in a 178cm... Were skis he'd trusted me to
select for him... and he proclaimed them the best skis
he'd ever skied on... That made me so incredibly happy
and at the same time relieved.. What an honor for someone
like him to trust insignificant me with his ski selection.
I didn't visit Gord enough in his
last years... I just couldn't bring myself to see him
like that... I could feel his deep frustration for being
unable to go out and play... Being stuck where he was...
I felt that more acutely than most... and it made it unbearable
for me to make idle chit chat... I hope he forgives me,
I know he's at peace now. I also know he's way too busy
riding heaven's lightest bike right now to even think
I've met tremendous men in my life,
I've been blessed that way. Gord was certainly one of
them. I'll miss you, Gord... Thank you for being in my
life long enough to show me how important it is to take
care of the sports that we care fore and more importantly
how to care for and help the amazing people who we rely
on to make a living here at Gord's. Oh and thanks for paving the way for us crotchety, moody no-bullshit types... If it wasn't for you I'd be unemployed by now.
If you would wish to share a story with us regarding
Gord, please feel free to send an Email to JF@Gords.com
and we'd be honored to post it right here.
Here are some stories about Gord from folks who knew
FROM GERRY RUTHERFORD
I received Ruth's e mail message from Hugh Bergman recently and it has taken me a while to think about responding to you because at first I was so saddened. But now I've had some time to think about it and I'd have to say that the memories I hold of your Gord do anything but make me sad. Au contraire, I've actually burst out laughing remembering the races, the trips, the comradarie, the life lessons, the generousity and of course the crazy goddamed infectious laugh of Gord's. I spent a lot of time over about three years with your Gord and Jeff and Eric as a member of the Manitoba Jr. Cycling Team. In one summer we went from the Cascade Tour (Calgary), to the Canadian Championships (Vancouver) to La Tour du La Vallee Chaudiere (Eastern Townships). We drove through Detroit as the riots were going on and I remember the US border guys telling us not to stop in the city - just keep driving. I remember, in the same trip, diving around the south side of Chicago looking for a bike shop where, at the time, no white man should be. It didn't even phaze Gord - he knew those kinds of streets. Gord played a big role in my life, and I know that I'm just one of the many. And that will be his legacy - he was a generous man in every sense of the word.
He and my Dad are similar in many ways and they loved skiing together, especially in Aspen. The were also incredibly generous in the time they gave to kids in sports and I know it kept a lot of us out of bigger trouble than we found. Both full of foibles too, and absolutely dance to their own drummer, usually against a lot of good advice. But that is what has made them each one-of-a-kind. I know Ed Sr. will smile remembering Gord.
So Reid's, this is a fond farewell to Gord, may his spirit infect us all and in the background of my mind I hear him laughing now.....
Warmest Personal Regards,
FROM JOHN MONROE
As a former member of the Gord's gang, I have so many fond memories
of "Gord" moments that I can't seem to put them all in order. At the time I
worked for the store, Gord had turned over management to his daughter Ruth
and son-in-law Brian Lowen - but when I started working there the first
person I instantly liked was Gord. As a service manager, I was a little
picky about who was wandering through service - but it was instantly clear
that Gord could go anywhere and do anything. He walked in one day, and
examined my tattered DeRosa road bike hanging from a hook. I wasn't sure
what he was thinking, but when he saw the Brooks leather saddle on it (an
anachronism on a road bike even then), he said something to the effect of,
"That's a damn good seat on that bike. Doesn't give your nuts a beating
like those goddamned wop ones, huh!"
I always felt that Gord was one of those people that walk into your
life and remind you that the world is made better by their simple presence,
and that despite his sometimes crusty manner, there was a heart there with
room for everyone and everything. When I began looking for sponsors to put
together an elite level road racing team, he pointed me in the right
direction for the people to contact, and I realized that his name on the
jersey was a source of tremendous pride for him. I don't know if Gord got a
chance to watch the Winter Olympics in Torino earlier this year - but I hope
he did - because the first rider we signed for that team was a young redhead
from East Kildonan named Clara Hughes.
As I move on through my life and reflect about lessons and people, I
realize that the best lesson Gord taught me was that it is always about
doing what you love, and loving what you are doing - that even a lousy ride
in a rainstorm or a day of trashing edges at La Riviere are wonderful things
and far better than sitting on your ass. To him, it was always about the
next ride, the next run, or the next trip - never look back, only forward.
I hope that I can pass his lessons along to others along my way.
Please pass along my condolences to all of his family - they always made me
feel a part of theirs, and I know that they and I will miss him greatly.
FROM BOB AND DALE BOUCHER
So sorry to hear abut Gord. He was an old and dear friend.
To think we were friends for forty-five years is amazing.
He pissed me off the very first time we met in the early
sixties by criticizing my new Cinelli. Since that time
he has been an usher at my wedding, a house guest in Nelson
and Calgary, a riding and skiing partner and always lots
of laughs. Always an �up front tell it like it is� type
I remember him throwing his shoe at Peter Williamson
and me at the velodrome, when we weren�t paying attention
to his program. It must have worked � we both made the
Pan Am team that year. I will always remember the good
times and his laugh. He was truly one of a kind and I
am proud to say I was one of his friends.
Dale also has many fond memories of Gordie grabbing her
by the ass.
Bob and Dale
FROM GREG DAVIDSON
I look back on my competitive cycling years with much
fondness due in no small part to the larger than life
figure of Gord Reid. To me he was much more than the owner
of a bike/ski shop, he was a father figure. He was the
one who was there at the end of races, win or lose encouraging
me, He was the one who called to make sure that my equipment
was in top shape, and if necessary would fix any problems
without ever wanting anything in return except a thank-you.Gord
had a unique combination of attributes including humor
(usually at your expense), expertise (Gord's way or the
highway), and a huge heart (God's gift to all who got
to know him). I will miss Gord, but thanks to him I have
all those great memories, I consider those years of riding
and laughing with Gord and his son's Eric and Jeff the
best of my life.
FROM JOAN KARLOWSKY
Reading the notes on your web page was a walk down memory
lane. Gord was lucky to be blessed with such a passion
for his chosen sports of skiing and biking. The best part
was he extended it to everyone he met.
My first job after university was a short term contract
at The Winnipeg Ski Club on Togo where Gord�s Ski Shop
occupied the bottom floor. That�s where I met both my
husband Wayne and his infamous Uncle Gord. That winter
and summer Wayne and I went on a few of Gord�s Sunday
ski trips as well as a weekend bike trip to LaRiviere
that extended into a very long weekend. My most vivid
memory of that time apart from the sports was socializing
with a diverse group of people with varied backgrounds,
occupations and ages all having fun together. The common
thread was of course, Gord and his unflagging optimism,
charisma and joie de vivre.
Wayne and I moved away for a few years. When we moved
back to Winnipeg with a newborn, we would hire a sitter
for Saturday night dinner. Often Joan and Gord would join
us for dessert at whatever restaurant Gord thought served
the best pie. We enjoyed those times chatting and laughing
and really getting to know them as friends. Later living
in Vancouver, with two children, Joan and Gord came for
a visit one summer. They won the Karlowsky Family award
of being The Best Houseguests! Joan even did all my ironing
while I was at work after the nanny said I was about a
year behind! Gord, as only he would or could, lined up
a major bike excursion for the day from our house on the
North Shore near Deep Cove to Horseshoe Bay, along with
another former Winnipeg cyclist.
With Gord gone its the end of an era, but thankfully,
the tradition of good service and genuine interest in
helping people enjoy skiing and cycling continues today
at Gord�s shop.
Joan, Wayne, Jamie and Andrew Karlowsky
FROM DOUG ALLEN
Sent by fellow Manitoba Alpine Hall of Fame member Doug
Allen on March 19, 2006 to the Reid Family
The article in the Winnipeg Sun of Tuesday March 16, 2006
was so appropriate and I am sure that the words expressed
were those that everyone who knew Gord would agree with.
Obviously as the patriarch of the Allens of St. James
I can speak volumes about my association with Gord since
the early 50s when I tried to compete with him and all
of the others who collected at the top of the race course
regardless of the temperature or primitive timing and
slalom poles that we used. Fortunately for me even in
those days Alpine Canada had seen fit to use three categories
of abilities and I of course was in the bottom "C"
class whereas the better skiers were in either "A"
of "C". It gave us a chance except in some of
the OPEN team races.
Our family extends our deepest sympathy to you all and
to your mother. As the popular TV show says "It is
a Turning Point" in History.
I have tried to think of some of those who may not have
known of Gord's passing and I either sent emails or phoned
them and in particular "Norm Crerar, Mike Desbrisay,
Jerry Johnston, Butch Boutry and Warren Jobbitt and the
head office of the CSIA, CSCF & CASA". Obviously
Ed Champagne covered most of the people in the Ski Business
that Gord knew. I received replies from all of those that
I either emailed or spoke to who asked me to extend their
In fact Warren added words that I feel are very appropriate
and they are quoted below.
"I am thankful to have had the pleasure of skiing
with Gord for so many years, laughed at his numerous jokes,
enjoyed his rides to and from the airport, but most of
all his stories of how skiing was born in Winnipeg. Gord
is a true ski instructor through and through. I can only
hope to touch as many skiers in my career as he has.
When you see his family, please pass on my condolences
and well wishes. Gord will be truly missed , but never
forgotten in our wonderful little world we call the CSIA"
Warren is always so well spoken that this epitomizes what
we in skiing have always known about Gord.
On Wednesday I spoke to Rick Brownlee, Executive Director
of the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame to ask what was the
cut-off date for this year's submissions. He said it is
always April 1 and I said I was disappointed because I
wanted to put up Gords' name again. Rick said it is still
in the file and therefore another submission was not necessary.
I referred him to the obituary and the Sun Article I mentioned
above. I feel that perhaps if we can forward a few letters
that you may receive that will support our case.
Rick's address is :
Rick Brownlee, Executive Director
Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame
Room 210 2nnd Floor
200 Main Street
Winnipeg, MB R3C 4M2
I can't think of a more appropriate resting place for
Gord's ashes than on the slopes of Aspen. Certainly the
best ski holiday that I ever had was on one of Gord's
ski trips to Aspen where he introduced us to some of his
favourite runs. I can't remember all of them but he certainly
spoke fondly of Ruthies Run.
Again from the Allen family please accept our deepest
FROM BAS LYCETT
Where does one start in remembering Gord. ????
Well here goes. Gord appreciated the finer things in life.
One time in the 70's Gord took a group of us bikies to
a fine restaurant in Winnipeg. After a good meal, Gord
lit up a large stogie. This was prior to non-smoking restaurants,
but some people were starting to object to smoke. A near-by
patron stared at Gord. Gord glared back and said, "Don't
you like the smell of a good cigar?" The patron said,
"No, I don't." Gord leaned back in his chair,
said, "Well, I do!" and continued to smoke.
The rest of the group kept a straight face until we left
the restaurant, when we all burst out laughing.
For most people, the very best Clement tubulars were for
special competitions. But Gord was different. He always
rode the best equipment on his training rides. I can still
see the smile on his face when he patiently explained
to us that he ONLY used Silk Clement Seta XTRAs. These
were top of the line tubular tires. But being in the trade,
I guess he could live by "Gord's Rules".
In the 70's and early 80's I had the pleasure of coaching
at the national level. This group of athletes included
Jeff and Eric Reid, Sylvia Burka, Verna Buhler, Peter
Suderman, Eric Oland Jr, Roy Fondse, Louis Corbeil, Lindsey
Gauld, Greg Davidson and my assistant, the late Peter
Williamson. (my apologies for anyone I missed) I consider
this group, all produced from one city of the country,
to be among Canada's best cyclists of that era. I believe
Gord played a big role in the development and success
of these athletes. You only had to meet him to be inspired
for life. Gord was one of a kind and he shall be missed
deeply, by all of us .
FROM PAUL MCDOUGAL
The first time I met Gord was in the early 70's descending
the stairs of the the Winnipeg Ski club. The smell of
wax almost overtook us as he fitted our family of five
that fall Saturday morning. Gord, clad in his apron, with
his knowledge and service, nurtured a family who still
ski today with children and grandchildren in tow.
I worked one winter fitting rentals for the shop but my
fondest memory of your father was one Sunday morning on
the slopes of Mt Aggassi in the late 70's. I was participating
in the Molstar racing program at the time and Gord was
to be our forerunner for the course. The course was set
up with all the gates in place and an exhausted group
of volunteers ready to go. I recall being about two gates
down the course waiting for Gord to begin his run. "Racer
ready, 4-3-2-1........" Gord launched himself out
of both rear bindings leaving the start, skis behind,
as he tumbled face first over his poles on to the Manitoba
hard packed. It was a classic and most memorable time
for all who witnessed it.
I share your sorrow this day with Gord's passing.
FROM DOUG CHRISTIE
What an inspiration Gord is to us all.
"Gord's" has been instrumental in our 4 lives
as we all love skiing and you and Brian and Gord and Krista
, Jeff and Eric (and all the rest of the extended Gord's
family over the years) have all helped get us out on the
slopes where there is SO much fun to be had.
Hearing Jeff recall piling the kids into the car for
many ski trips makes me reflect on our own experiences
in skiing which has been a huge family bond and which
i hope will continue to be for years to come. And if one
is to go skiing , one has to be in shape , and if one
is in shape physically , one will be mentally , so it's
good all round. So...........thank you Ruth and thank
you to Gord for getting us all there and making the most
out of life !!!!!!!!!!!!
Whenever I would see Gord , he would make a big fuss over
me and he would get so animated when asked about his latest
ski trip . He truly was a man with passion for life and
sport and didn't he just love getting everyone out there
I feel really badly for him and you that he was unable
to play any sports the last 4 1/2 years ; I certainly
hope I never take my health for granted. Gord was in Riverview
when my Dad was there in 2002 , after my Dad had also
had a stroke. I'll say a little prayer for your family.
You must be receiving a ton of letters and emails . I
hope they support you during this difficult time.
All my best.
FROM PATTI CHRISTIE
Thank you for the opportunity to say something about
And who didn�t want to be a friend of Gord�s.
When I first met Gord I was at the Winnipeg Ski Club
at the age of 16 and feeling terribly shy and awkward.
There was no room for that when Gord taught us to herringbone
up the river bank like nobody�s business. I continued
to go Wednesday nights and just starting liking that old
log building and learning to ski on that river bank under
the night lights. I think Gord would just bark at us to
get it right. Somehow we were encouraged. It was a teaching
style that was the antithesis of the nun�s I was accustomed
to at St. Mary�s Academy. I will always be a great fan
of Gord�s and I think his super keen attitude often when
I go skiing, especially climbing up the hill. Gord had
a kind of passion and enthusiasm for things that just
made me want to join in on the fun. It must have been
so hard for him these last years and he was such a good
sport about his situation.
He will be dearly missed.
With love and sympathy,
FROM MATTHEW REID KARLOWSKI
Being Stephens son I have met Gord a few times in my
life. I was named for him, my middle name is Reid, I asked
my dad why once, and he told me a story about some guy
named Gord, now I realize, he is the greatest man there
ever was. He was always the funny guy.
Modest, Hardworking, I remember when I was little I always
heard stories of Gord from my dad, Bunty, My Mom, and
My uncles Rod and Wayne. The part that doesn't cease to
amaze me, Gord never did anything remotely great for me,
told me a couple of jokes, told me to work for what I
want, But he did more for me then I realized, My father
is the key influence in my life.
I always want to rise up to his level, He always tells
the same story, " When I started ski racing my parents
didn't buy me everything, I had to work for it, for the
money to buy the equipment", We would just ramble
about the story ever other day, and now after realizing,
he didn't give me everything when I asked, He made me
work for it, my dad is the Gord to me, he has given me
only what I deserve, and forced me to strive for the rest,As
ridiculous as it may be,
Gord in my family is a god, The one with the best stories
and best personality,
My mom told me, That before her and My fathers wedding
Gord gave her a kiss, a big wet sloppy embarassing kiss,
And the weird thing is I though my mom would be grossly
offended, But now I realize, Thats Gord, The greatest
man to ever be.
The last time I saw Gord I had just started freeride,
and I remember him asking me if I was skiing yet, I told
him no but I started biking, He was ecstatic, seeing him
with such enthusiasm made me realize, if biking can do
so much for this man, what can it do for me, after that
biking wasn't a hobby or a waste of time, it was my life
8 hours a day 7 days a week, I would be on my bike, as
big and heavy as it was, as hard as it was to do what
I wanted, I worked my way up to it, I miss Gord, when
I heard of his passing I cried.
Gord taught me the biggest life lesson,
He taught me that to be the best,
You have to give your best,
I've seen my dad do it,
and now I believe,
Its my turn.
Matthew Reid Karlowsky
FROM STEPHEN KARLOWSKI
Like so many others having had Gord in my life in some
part has made me the person I am today, as we grow up
we all learn life lessons through the things we do and
the choices we make as well as the people we choose to
be around. I was lucky in that Gord was my Uncle and by
default I was fortunate to be able to get to know him
early in my life long before I new what skiing or cycling
were all about, I got to know Gord the (somewhat above)
average hard working guy who delivered bread & drove
a cement truck and looked forward to the days when he
would come by during his bread runs to visit my Mother
Bunty (his sister). As I was growing up Gord always offered
to take me skiing or to go on a bike ride but I resisted
because I grew up with the understanding that hockey,
football and baseball were the sports for young boys to
play, little did I know what I was missing out on. One
day when I was 11 years old I decided I had enough of
hockey and was ready to try skiing even though I had seen
my cousins Eric and Jeff wearing casts I wanted to learn
and experience what they were and so my journey began
with Ruth's help learning how to snowplow. One of Gord's
theories was if you were going to learn to ski well you
had to take up ski racing and in order to do that I needed
equipment which my parents were willing to help out with
but I still needed to come up with some money so Gord's
solution was to put me to work polishing his leather rental
ski boots my 1st life lesson, the 2nd lesson was to take
ski lessons on the banks of the Red River at the Winnipeg
Ski Club, which lead to the 3rd lesson learning how to
drink beer (in hindsight I learnt this lesson to early).
All kidding a side Gord had a huge influence on my life
especially as a teenager he always encouraged us to work
hard whether it was in the shop or training and to have
fun, many times over the years as time has passed by Jeff
and I have talked about what it was like growing up in
Winnipeg and what it was like being around Gord's and
as Jeff puts it we were truly blessed. Gord with the help
of Bill Cosbie (on 8-track) taught many of us what life
was all about (the 4th lesson) on those 3 hour drives
to Mount Agassiz for a ski race or just a day of skiing,
I know looking back the ride was half of the fun and he
made it that way. Gord always encouraged us to finish
what we started whether it was a ski race or a bike race,
if you fell you got back up and kept going, I remember
when I was 19 and fractured my right hip he encouraged
and pushed me to heal and come back to race again and
to go on to get certification in the ski instructor's
alliance & ski coaching federation and help others
like he had helped me (the 5th lesson). Gord principles
were pretty simple he treated everybody with the same
respect initially and didn't make any judgments unless
they were warranted and then if you did screw up he usually
gave you a chance to fix your mistake (6th lesson), there
are allot more lessons which Gord taught me and other's
and things that he showed us some of which are better
saved for discussion another day like the thing about
the pig bite, but the one thing I now for sure is that
we are all more fortunate for having had Gord in our lives.
Since Gord had his stroke 5 years ago I have been to see
him many times although I have moved away from Winnipeg
I was fortunate enough to get to Winnipeg 4 or 5 times
a year for business reasons and most times would go visit
Gord he always smiled when he saw me and talked about
how much fun we used to have, I was lucky enough to be
in Winnipeg at the end of April and was able to visit
with him and Ruth for 45 minutes, I am thankful for the
time I was able to spend with him then and throughout
FROM JOHN ALBRIGHT
I will not be surprised if a thousand people take the
time to scribble down their memories of, and thanks to,
Gord. Here are my two bits:
Gord was a bigger part of my life, when I first moved
to Winnipeg in 1969, than he would ever know. His generosity,
unselfish willingness to help those who needed help and
his sense of humor were unequalled. Gord let me work in
his business when I had no means to finance university,
gave me deals on cycling equipment when my equipment failed,
drove a gaggle of cyclists out to Calgary and Sherbrooke
for stage races. I loved hanging out at the shop and at
the Reid�s home taking in the sense of family and Gord�s
love of people.
I heard about Gord�s stroke a while back from Bob Boucher,
who noted that Gord was very frustrated at not being able
to do all the things he loved to do in his life. I have
no doubt that would have been hard on him � I hope he
is now enjoying a sense of peace in his after-life.
I have specific memories of Gord that have come back
to me frequently over the years:
- His look of disbelief that the two brand new rear tires
on his station wagon had completely worn out on the drive
to Calgary � with eight people and all their gear in the
car and all their bikes creating extra wind resistance
on the roof, traveling at 150 km/hour.
- (And for those who knew him well) His apparent pride
about the place on his left shoulder where a pig had bitten
him. I watched him show that imagined scar to a hundred
people or more, mostly ladies, now that I think about
- �Passe la milke� at the dinner table among French Canadians.
- I will never forgive him for making me use 215 cm skis
to ski the ice fields in Thunder Bay � when I had never
been on skis before. �If you use shorter skis, Albright,
you will never get the speed you want!�
I still have the 1969 Torpado that Gord ordered for me,
had flown to Calgary and assembled ½ hour before
a criterium there. It sits proudly on my turbo-trainer,
and will forever serve to remind me what a fine, generous
person he was.
My condolences to the Reids, and my best wishes to all
his family and friends.
FROM ANDREL REID
A Life not so ordinary.
Growing up around my grandfather Gord, was an experience
all in it self, not a bad one but a good one. Most kind
grow up with a �Nuclear Life�, mine on the other hand
was different. When I wanted to see my grandfather I never
went to his house to sit around and talk about what I
learned at school that day, I went to the basement of
the shop and helped him work on someone�s boots (I usually
had to go outside and get a bucket of snow to cool the
plastic down and make sure that the boot was cooled down
correctly). In the summer it was watching him work on
bikes. I�ll always remember him saying: �You have gotta
have a reserve gear�.
Most kids I grew up with spent their Sundays in church
with their family, I spent mine skiing, usually with 1
or 2 family members and who ever was courageous enough
to pile into Gord�s van at 5:00 am on a chilly winter
morning. Those Sundays were probably the best days of
my life, skiing, meeting people, telling jokes and learning
to ski. On those days I don�t ever remember Gord taking
the time to take a run for himself, he was always out
there teaching someone else how to ski. And at the end
of everyday, no matter how cold it was or icy, crowded,
flat light, Gord always had the same comment �That was
the best day of skiing ever�.
In some cultures a rite of passage for children is a
big dramatic ceremony or festival, a barmitsva, killing
your first wild animal, marrying oldest cousin (usually
practiced in southern states). For me it was when I was
10 years old and I finally got to go to Aspen, Gord, for
months before I went, made sure that I went skiing with
him every Sunday, studied the trail map so as to make
sure that I was ready to ski Aspen. I�ll never forget
that trip as long as I live. There were 2 vans, 14 people,
1,000 pairs of skis, 18 pairs of boots and tons of skiing.
On the drive down I remember being in my dad�s van most
of the drive, until just outside of Denver when Gord pulled
over and radioed for me to ride in his van, in the front
passenger seat thru the mountains, that way he could point
out all the sites to me (my favorite then and now was
Hugh Hefener�s house).
In 1997, when my parents and I moved west, a Sunday night
ritual was started, at around 9:00 pm the phone would
ring, and you were guaranteed that it was Gord, the conversation
always began with �That was the best day of skiing ever�.
Then in 2001 after Gord had his stroke those phone calls
weren�t there anymore, the first Sunday of the Manitoba
ski season I had forgotten that he had a stroke and I
phoned the house to see if he had forgotten to phone with
his ski report. Since then Sundays haven�t been the same,
I�m trying to make sure that I spend my Sundays out of
the house skiing no matter how cold, wet, icy, crowded
it is. And I�m hoping this winter that I can take a good
friend of mine and teach her how to ski, just as Gord
Gord if you get to read this, THANK YOU.
P.S. �If you play with the bull you�ll get the horn�
Here's another story from Gord's grandson:
The contents of Gords Van
On the way home from work today I dropped into the grocery
store to pick up a few provisions for dinner, as I walked
around the store aimlessly (almost like the night of the
living dead), trying to remember what exactly it was that
I needed (since I left my grocery list on the kitchen
counter). I happened to wander through the bulk section
(if that�s what you can call it in this town) and I found
myself staring at the bins of Scotch Mints and Werthers
candy, and for some reason I bought a bag of each, I don�t
know why the only time I ever eat those is when I�m handed
them at a restaurant. On the way home I reached into the
bags of over priced groceries and grabbed some mints and
immediately started eating a few.
I don�t know if it was the taste of the mints or what
but I immediately started to laugh, because I instantly
had some fond memories of Gords van. Since I can first
remember the van was a rolling monument to the ski and
bike industry. The vans were never your garden variety
people movers, they were custom from both the factory
and �Gords custom auto�, the vehicle of choice that was
ordered from the factory was the Ford E250 Econoline extended,
with a 350 ci engine, Michelin tires, Captains Chairs
and dual tanks. This would have been perfectly good for
your average person, but once Gord would get his hands
on it, that van was decked out �Gord style�. He would
have a third gas tank installed (for those x-tra long
hauls), CB radio (to talk to other travelers on the road,
or for Connor to pull pranks on Gord when we were on trips
with 2 vans), ladder on the back to access the roof, clothing
rack across the back and the piece de resistance the extra
padding around the driver seat so you wouldn�t bruise
your knees while driving. All these creature comforts
added to the mystique of these fine tuned road trip machines.
From the outside these vans were just a van to most people,
but for those who were privileged enough to ride in these
vans it was a one stop shop for your trip the vans were
a ski/bike shop, clothing store, grocery store, magazine
shop, hardware store, pharmacy, and museum. The contents
of these vans were sometimes excessive but the stuff always
came in handy. Take for instance the clothing selection,
at any time of the year you could find enough clothes
to outfit 2-3 people for both ski and bike season, there
was always a couple of wool cycling jerseys, ski jackets,
and suspenders (which I think Gord was the only one to
use) hanging from the clothing rack in the back of the
van. I think the only real reason that Gord ever had vans
that big was because of all the gear he hauled around,
at any given moment in the winter there would be no less
than 2 pairs and sometimes escalating to 30 pairs of skis
in the back of the van, 2 pairs of boots (ones he was
using that season and a spare pair from seasons past)
and bags full of boot fitting equipment (Duct-Tape, Pads,
Insoles, knives, etc.). In the summer you would have a
complete change of season, out went the ski gear and in
came the bikes, there would always be his Marinoni and
usually 2 extra sets of wheels, tool box, spare parts,
tires and at least 1 tube of Clement tubular glue stuck
too the carpet on the floor.
But don�t get me wrong there was always the creature
comforts to make the trip a little more enjoyable, such
as his listening selection which consisted of John Denver,
Willie Nelson, Nister Pister, Louis Lamour, and the good
old standby the �Rodeo Song� (even though the 8-track
went out of style in the late 70�s Gord still had a few
8-tracks in the stockpile). The front consol between the
captain�s seats was a treasure trove of everything (Hearing-aid
Batteries, nail clippers, sunscreen, dentures, reading
glasses and sunglasses). But one thing that you were always
sure to find was a bag of Scotch mints under the front
Now if you will excuse me, I�m going out to my car to
make sure it is properly equipped for the road. Wool Jerseys
and Scotch mints included.
Gord, if you lived by your old saying: �Only hippie�s
drive vans�, then you were the world�s biggest hippie.
Andrel Reid, your grandson.
FROM PETER SUDERMAN
Most of the stories I have of Gord take place at the ski
shop, when it came to cycling or skiing Gord was pretty
serious and very helpful. I think that it is safe to say
that Paul, Erick and myself would not have enjoyed competing
at the level of cycling we attained if it wasn't for Gord's
tireless support and keen interest. Mind you EO (Erick
Oland) sr. had some pretty good sprinting advice that
he liked to pass on to us underlings, ... (it's) just
Paul couldn't move his legs fast enough to make any use
of the advise -unless the race was over 160km.
I enjoyed an early career in the ski business (working
at the age of 12 -I think- regardless...) I was underage
and underpaid working in the basement of Gord's Ski Centre
on Togo. These were my informative years being led down
the garden path by Eric R., Jeff and Steven Karlowski-
Steven almost hung himself in the basement when he put
his head through a binding safety strap and I think it
was Eric who kicked the chair out from under him.
In the back shop there were always two radios, one visible
and the other out of Gord's reach which was the one that
was always playing. Gord would get mad because the music
was too loud and it was probably that evil Rock and Roll
playing, he would charge to the back of the shop looking
for that god dam radio, grab an exacto knife and cut the
cord (which wasn't plugged in because he had already cut
the cord a few days earlier) Gord would just stare at
the radio with a look of confused rage, he eventually
beat the radio up with the rubber mallet. What always
struck me as interesting was that Gord would always say
that the noise coming out of the radio was an insult to
his intelligence, and then any road trip to Agassis or
Holiday mountain one would have to endure hours on end
of listening to Nestor Pistor 8 tracks.
Greg Davidson always did a good impression of Gord driving
the following vehicle for a bike race in his Ford Super
Extended Club Van, where Gord could barely touch the gas
pedal. Then when someone in the peliton had a mechanical
problem Gord would just floor it, and there's Gord standing
up, out of the seat, with his foot on the gas hanging
on to the steering wheel, once he got ahead of the rider
he would then slam on the break with the same enthusiasm,
burst out the side door of the van with wheels all over
the place and whoever was in the front passenger seat
would be peeling their face off the windshield.
Skiing and cycling in the province would not be the same
without the enormous contribution Gord unknowingly made.
He just loved the sports and made sure everyone and anyone
who was interested in these sports was given the opportunity
to share his enthusiasm and endless stories and jokes.
Ahh... whats the difference between parsley and........
FROM ERICK OLAND Sr.
Gord Reid was a very colorful bike rider as has always
been in life. As you
may know Gord was best known for his endurance and "bike
handling" skills. One of Gord's best racing accomplishments
was the year he was captain of the Manitoba team that
won the Canadian 150 mile open champion. Teams from New
York, Chicago, Detroit, Montreal, Toronto and other major
points in Canada and the USA.
Gord was one of the toughest guys in both countries but
both Montreal and Chicago had riders that would probably
stay with him and then beat him in the sprint. The only
solution was to get a sprinter to the finishing sprint.
Gord agreed to give up his personal chance to win by helping
to get Bill Bulman "a very fast sprinter" to
the finishing sprint. The old Kenora route was the course.
It did not resemble the road today from Winnipeg to Kenora.
The Americans said it was the toughest race in North America.
Gord captained the team of 4 riders that "paced,
pushed up hills, feed, watered, pulled Bill Bullman to
the final sprint as fresh as they could keep him and when
he took off no one could hold his wheel. He won GOLD for
Manitoba but always said it was because of the unselfish
and great job done be the team, captained by GORD REID.
FROM ERICK OLAND
Gord's tireless energy in the promotion of the two sports
he loved is really amazing. The first time I met him,
( I think I was 12 or 13), he gave me a couple of CLEMENT
SETA XTRA tires! Just because..... (You all know what
those are worth $$$). He continued to do things like that
for people he knew would appreciate it.
How many times ( Paul, Peter, Scott and myself) did he
fix our bikes or skis for free when we were kids? I'm
sure we can't count. How many times did he drive us to
events? Countless as well.
Of course we have all laughed with him and at him on
many occasions! I remember in the basement at the shop
how he would lose his temper all the time and throw things!
The RADIO because the wrong station was on... A BIKE because
he hit his head on the chain ring.... I'm truly laughing
as I type this... Good times!
I truly appreciate what Gord did for me and for the sport.
He's a good man.