A Vernon man appears to have discovered a piece of forgotten local history when he came across a trophy from a mysterious skiing competition on Silver Star Mountain, which dates back more than 80 years.
Jeff Moore was looking through the wares of a second-hand store in the Cariboo region of B.C. when the friend he was with pointed out an old, slightly battered trophy sitting on a bench among an abundance of tools.
“I walked back and picked it up and went ‘oh my God,’” Moore said. “It was that kind of moment.”
Engraved on the silver cup are the words “Silver Star Challenge Trophy — Okanagan Valley Men’s Open Slalom.” Around its base are plates engraved with winners of an annual competition dated from 1939 to 1956.
“I was vibrating,” Moore said, recalling the moment. “I’ve been hunting through second-hand shops for the last 40 years and I finally found something that I’m not going to give away.”
But since his discovery, Moore’s research into the cup has turned up more questions than answers.
“There is no record of this cup on the Internet, on any of the SilverStar museum websites,” he said. “It seems to have fallen off the face of the earth in 1956.
Moore says the oldest plate (1939) had been polished to show the names of the recipients: Walter and Rees Powell from Summerland.
“I don’t know how that happened, if they had a tie or whatever, but both brothers are mentioned on there,” he said.
Moore later found out the owner of the store had acquired the cup along with a box of other trophies from a museum in Sicamous, and he plans to follow up again with the previous owners to see if he can piece together the history behind the artifact.
Moore says the cup ultimately belongs in a museum, but hopes to uncover more of the mystery first.
“I hope we find out more about it, because if it goes into a museum there’s got to be a story.”
A historical write-up by the Sovereign Lake Nordic Club may offer a hint as to the cup’s origins.
The City of Vernon donated a log cabin at Vernon Lake (now known as Sovereign Lake) to the Silver Star Ski Club in 1939. That same year, the Ski Club organized the first annual Okanagan Valley Championship on Birnie Range. It was a four-part event consisting of cross-country skiing, slalom, downhill and jumping, and was “a great success with 1,500 spectators and 75 competitors.”
Whatever the story is behind the Silver Star Challenge Trophy, Moore figures it must have been part of some boisterous celebrations — judging by its crooked shape if nothing else.
“I think this thing’s been to a few parties over the years,” he laughed.