A decade of ski turns, ridge rides, hat tricks and campfires
Chad Day is going west. The 30-something carpenter, hockey player, mountain biker, skier, SURFER and wise cracker has left an indelible mark on the town he called home for 10 years. BY BOB COVEY
One of my favourite memories of Chad Day is from the summer of 2008, when a group of us went up Pyramid Mountain. Although I remember seeing his silhouette cresting the summit ridge far ahead of me and can recall the ease with which he soared off of the dirt rollers during the bike ride down, what stuck out then, as it does now, was how much fun he had simply throwing rocks at a chunk of snow. Taking aim at a precariously hanging cornice during our lunch break, Chad threw grapefruit sized boulders until his arm just about fell off. Soon enough, one by one, the group of us joined in until we had knocked that cornice into oblivion. Lesson? The guy loves to play, and inspires others similarly.
It’s something those who have seen him at the hockey rink know well. Like no else I’ve met on the ice, Chad is able to skate the line between competitive intensity and devil-may-care exuberance. His athleticism is one thing, but it’s his love of the game which earns him the respect from players around town. He’s creative, powerful and precise all at once; a beast to compete against, a pleasure to watch, and even when he plays dirty—and it’s only a matter of time before his years in junior hockey reveal themselves—you can only be pissed at him for so long until that goofy smile disarms you.
It was 10 years ago that Chad Day began disarming Jasperites with his easy-come, easy-go attitude, a style that was reflected in the many recreational endeavours he picked up. His penchant for frat-boy humour (again, a product of his junior hockey days) made it easy for dudes to laugh with him, whether they were swinging hammers on a roof or swinging flies on a river. But he’s got a sensitive side, too. He plays a little guitar, designs pretty coffee tables and is a positive role model for kids at the rink. He’ll even show up to an aerobics class if it means helping his instructor friend pump up her numbers.
We’ll miss Chad in Jasper because he’s a good guy to have on an expedition—he’s the type you can rely on to get the fire going, or fix the boat motor if your buddy wraps his fishing line around the prop. He’s good for a stupid story—there’s the one about nearly getting killed with an exploding white gas container, and you probably don’t want to know how fast he’s gone on a motorcycle (or a boat, or a skidoo). Even still, his common sense always seems to shine through, just in the nick of time. After all, he was smart enough to start a business, and smart enough to call it quits when it started eating into his play time.
For the last few summers, Chad spent a lot of time at Maligne Lake, where he worked in a variety of capacities—carpenter, maintenance guy, boat mechanic, and general Renaissance man. There he got to know intimately a piece of the world so many people spend a lifetime trying to get back to. He ingrained himself in the lore and history of the Maligne Lake Chalet, and whether it was to visitors, fellow staff or the duty warden who represented the national park, he was known for always willing to lend a hand.
Vancouver might not be ready for Chad Day. They’re going to have to get used to a guy who calls it like he sees it. He may be too brambly for their ‘burbs; too coarse of a grind for their espresso machines.
If we know Chad, however, he’ll adapt with ease. The same way he became so at home in the Rockies, he’ll soon adjust to the new adventures that await on the coast. Like riding a wakeboard behind a Maligne Tours boat, we’re confident that once the engine rumbles to life, he’ll just pop right up.
In only 10 years, Chad Day got a lot done in Jasper. He bagged a lot of peaks, he skied a lot of lines, he spent a lot of nights under the stars and he made a lot of friends. He’s been a good guy to have around, to learn from, and with. And even though the various teams he played for, worked with and volunteered for are going to miss him, he can be damn sure there will always be a space in Jasper he can park his truck.