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Okanagan residents rally to help aging ski legend

Ski pioneer Dag Aabye has his own Wikipedia page documenting his amazing life.
Dag Aabye

It is safe to say, Dag Aabye is a living legend in the world of skiing.

Aabye has been ski pioneer for decades and has been a fixture in the North Okanagan for years, especially at Vernon's SilverStar Mountain.

Aabye even has his own Wikipedia page documenting his amazing life.

Born in Nazi-occupied Norway in 1941, Aabye lived in Great Britain before moving to British Columbia.

In the 1960s, Aabye was a ski instructor in Britain and worked as a movie stuntman. He was an extra in the 1964 James Bond film 'Goldfinger.'

In 1966, he moved to the Whistler Mountain area where he worked as a ski instructor and became known for the first ski descents of the mountain. Many credit him with helping to make Whistler what it is today.

He was also known for stunts such as skiing off man-made structures and building a ski jump for backflips. He also appeared in a number of ski movies by filmmaker Jim Rice.

Aabye is widely regarded as the founding father of freeskiing and has been described as "the Father of Free Ride" and "The Last Ski Bum.”

A picture of Aabye outrunning an avalanche was printed on the front page of the Vancouver Sun years ago and he even has a run named after him at SilverStar Mountain Resort.

Aabye Road is, of course, a double black diamond.

A bit of a recluse, people got a personal look at Aabye's life when Canadian journalist Brett Popplewell wrote the book Outsider: An Old Man, a Mountain and the Search for a Hidden Past about the living legend who, at the time, lived in a rundown school bus he had called home for more than 20 years.

“Nancy Greene has called him the world's first extreme skier. He is a legend at Whistler and also at SilverStar as well, so people sort of knew of him and then he would materialize every year to run the Death Race,” said Popplewell.

Aabye participated in his first Canadian Death Race, a 118-kilometre marathon in the Rocky Mountains, when he was 62.

documentary was also done on Aabye.

But now Aabye needs some help, and residents are rallying behind the white-haired senior.

“Hey Silver Star community, for those who know Dag Aabye, he has lost his home and his daughter is trying to get him to her home in the Maritimes,” Neil Sawatzky wrote on the Silver Star Community Facebook page.

“He's [82] and she has a beautiful place for him to live out his final days. If anyone is interested in donating a buck or two, PM me and I'll figure out how to get Heidi (his daughter) the money. For those who haven't read the book about his life please pick up a copy.”

In four days, the post generated dozens of comments and offers of help.