Gord and Ruth Brewer knew 40 years ago a winter activity should be something their family should embrace.
The Brewers discovered cross-country skiing and it gradually became a lifestyle for them and their four children.
Gordon Brewer’s volunteer efforts in the sport, both on a provincial and national level, have been recognized by his peers as Cross-Country Newfoundland and Labrador included him in the inaugural list of Hall of Fame inductees earlier this month.
“We had long winters, lots of snow ... got to do something ... we can’t stay in the house all the time,” Brewer said.
He admits that he and his wife contemplated purchasing a snowmobile to break up the long winters, but he figured that option wasn’t really his cup of tea. He eventually met a few people who were involved in cross-country skiing, Dr. Jamie Graham being one of the first of many friends he would meet on the trails, so he decided to give nordic skiing a whirl.
He strapped on a pair of skis simply for the enjoyment of being physically active in the initial stages because the local nordic ski club didn’t really get organized until the mid-1970s.
The social aspect of nordic skiing was certainly an attractive benefit for him as he met so many people who he would hit the trails with over the years. There were many ventures where he would take his children — Christena, Deanna, Brian and Patrick — into the woods off the beaten track for hours on hours with as many as 60 people accompanying them on tour.
“You broke your own trails then,” he said of the humble beginning.
Brewer considered himself a decent skier in his day, but it was knack for organizing that allowed him to find his niche in the nordic ski circle. He got immersed in the officiating side of the sport in the mid-1980s and would serve a number of years in the role of chief of race at Blomidon for a number of major events over the years, from the 1997 Junior Nationals and the 1999 Canada Winter Games, which the 1999 event served as a test event. His latest volunteer effort came only this year when he was chief of race for the 2014 Ski Nationals, arguably the biggest nordic ski championship staged in the province.
He admits there were some stressful days along the road with many obstacles overcome as the local nordic ski club began growing in both numbers and infrastructure compliments of the major events hosted by the club. But, he always put things in perspective when he looked at the benefits derived from his involvement, particularly the friendships formed and the neat places he travelled through his involvement.
Brewer was aware that the provincial nordic ski association was looking at starting a Hall of Fame for the sport, but didn’t realize the process was so far advanced until he was informed of his selection to the Hall.
He has so much to be thankful for from his dedication to the sport and said being recognized meant a great deal to him.
“It was a very pleasant surprise. A lot of satisfaction. I felt really good about it,” he said.
The following is a list of other inductees from across the province:
— Percy Pieroway Stephenville (Posthumously) — builder category Whaleback Nordic Ski Club
— Keith Taylor St. John’s — builder category Avalon Nordic Ski Club
— Alf Parsons Labrador City — athlete category Menihek Nordic Ski Club
— George LeFeuvre Labrador City — builder category Menihek Nordic Ski Club
— Gerry Rideout Labrador City — builder category Menihek Nordic Ski Club