Here is an astoundingly rare ditty about Canada's Ski Queen and her hometown ski village of Rossland, in the Kootenays of British Columbia.
Bob Unrau grew up in Saskatchewan. He played for radio and TV shows as a young adult. He met and married his wife in Kaslo, BC when he was 25 and at that point, music became more recreation than career. He had 4 children, all born and raised in Kaslo.
Bob continued to play in bands and at small local functions. His brother, Alex Riley wrote the song about Nancy Greene and Rossland right after Nancy won the Olympic medals. I believe he knew her. However, it took a year for him to find someone to record the music for them and by then, the Nancy Greene fame had died down.
Bob didn't really sing folk music per se; this was a step out on a limb for him. He was very country – and very creative. For example, he made up his own version of The Rhinestone Cowboy for one of his co-workers and sang it as “he’s a truck driving cowboy”. He doesn’t play anymore even though he yearns to. He has very stiff fingers and parkinsons. His kids recently bought him a tuner, new guitar strings and stuff but he hasn’t picked I up. Has flooded me with memories of him singing and campfires……
Nancy Greene was Canada's top ski racer through the 1960's, winning gold and silver medals at the 1968 Grenoble Olympics and overall World Cup titles in 1967 and 68. Her total of 13 World Cup victories is still a Canadian record. She won 17 Canadian Championship titles in all disciplines.
Retiring at age 24, Nancy married Al Raine and together they have made skiing their life's work. They have been instrumental in the development and promotion of ski tourism in British Columbia, first at Whistler and now at Sun Peaks Resort just north of Kamloops. Nancy is Director of Skiing at Sun Peaks, Chancellor of Thompson Rivers University and was appointed as Senator for British Columbia, Government of Canada in January, 2009.
In November 1999 Nancy was named Canada's female athlete of the century, no doubt not only because of her athletic accomplishments but because she has continued to contribute to the sport she loves. The Nancy Greene Ski League, for example, is where young Canadians get their start in ski racing.
by Amberlee (Unrau) Ficociello and Robert Williston