A Cross-Country Life: A Sport Biography of Canadian Olympian and Cross-Country Skier David Rees

  • Author / Creator
    McCrackin, Tyree
  • This study examines the life of Canadian Olympian Dave Rees. Rees has played a multidimensional role in the practice and promotion of Nordic skiing in Canada. Born in 1943, he is an athlete, teacher, writer, coach, administrator, and curator of the Canadian Museum of Nordic Skiing in Canmore, Alberta. This sport biography investigates the life experiences of David L. Rees and his influence on the sport from skiing with his earliest club in North Bay, Ontario to racing in the 1968 Grenoble Winter Games, co-founding the Canadian Masters Cross Country Ski Association in 1980, hosting the 1988 Calgary Winter Games and the 2022 Master’s World Cup, and creating a community-driven museum. A supporter of both elite racing and mass participation in Nordic skiing, his work also resulted in the creation of a distinct national sport organization named Cross Country Canada, which separated from the Canadian Ski Association in 1989, and is today known as Nordiq Canada.
    David Rees is a geographer, geologist, and amateur sportsman whose lifelong pursuit of Nordic skiing demonstrates athlete specialisation, technological and training changes, and the growth of cross-country skiing from localised to widespread appeal. Based on oral history interviews and archival sources, including private papers and newspapers, this historical study examines Rees’ life in Nordic skiing and how his story fits within a larger cultural context of the little-studied history of postwar Nordic skiing in Canada. I argue that Rees embraced both participatory and elite competition ethics, laying athletic, educational, and administrative groundwork to expand Canadian development in cross-country skiing, and conclude that this lifelong athlete and volunteer not only witnessed the transformations of Nordic skiing, he has been one of its collaborative architects and memory keepers for six decades.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2022
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Arts
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Library with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.