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Behind every successful operation, there is a person with determination to see their dream and vision come to life. They rise to every challenge and with each storm they survive they are a little bit wiser and a little further along. From the outside it often looks easy but if you have ever tried your own business or worked in one, you will know the depth of commitment it takes to solve insurmountable problems and turn up to do it again. This is a story of RJ (Bob) Bishop Jr.ís dream. He bought into the vision and dedicated the past 48 years to making it come true. Weíll never hear about those dark days when there was no cash or no snow but what we can see was his ability to overcome each problem resulting in the creation of one of the nicest family owned and operated ski & summer resorts in the country! Through his passion and dedication, he inspired all 5 of his children to share his passion for the sports, the Haliburton lifestyle and the opportunity to serve the families and visitors of Sir Samís. Bob & Noreen, Rob, Chris, JD, Angela & Steve all play a role in making Sir Samís about families and friends having fun outdoors. It is a pleasure to share some of the milestones of Sir Samís development adventure.
The idea of a ski area in Haliburton germinated in the 1940ís when the Ministry of Tourism hired a renowned Canadian skier ďClint MelvilleĒ to explore potential ski areas in Southern Ontario. Client's research led him to select the present Sir Samís site but local business people (Including RJ Bishop Sr.) were unable to interest the property owner to permit the site for a rope tow. A make shift site closer to the town of Haliburton was selected as an interim site but it lacked the space, had a southern exposure and was abandoned by 1951.
Haliburton Highlands Properties Ltd, a company owned by the Bishop family, purchased Glenn Eagle Resort from Harold Proctor. Mr. Proctor had succeeded in keeping the former Sir Sam Hughes property almost entirely intact including several miles of shoreline and 1800 acres. This land purchase began the renovation of Sir Samís summer home & hunting lodge and the installation of the T-bar and three trails. The project was lead by RJ Bishop Jr. (Bob) who had never seen a T-Bar or operated a ski area but was driven by his passion to see this vision become a reality in Haliburton County. The T-bar was constructed with help from Ron Sisson and his crew and the first 3 trails were cleared by Len Henry & Les Scheffee.
The original ďouthouseĒ was replaced by the two-story Chalet. Three more trails (Bird Watcher, Dingle Dangle, Crash & Carry) were cut and the first double chairlift was installed. Grooming in those days was done with a cage of wood towed behind a snowmobile to break up the bumps. Music was piped up the t-bar line so many of the guests were seen singing up and down the hills. In 1975, the first expansion to the chalet was completed.
1982 a second chairlift and three more trails were added but the 1983 snow year made for a late Jan 17th season start. With tough seasons like that there was always talk about an investment into snow making as the number of skiers continued to grow. The 3rd expansion to the Chalet was completed just in time for the snowy 1987-88 snow year. By 1988 with a lot of help from a large team of people, Sir Samís installed snowmaking and a significant additional investment in grooming and maintenance.
Since 1988, two more quad chairlifts were installed and an estimated total investment in the area topped the $5.5 million mark. Sir Samís welcomed the snowboarders and created a terrain park to practice the hits and jumps and incorporated lessons at the snow school and special racing series.
2009 was a special year as the Bishop team made the move into a ski & summer resort with the addition of some great mountain biking trails for all levels including a BMX course for the kids to ride. The trails offer an amazing view of the Haliburton Highlands and summer lift access was opened to tourists who can enjoy a ride to the top for a hike, picnic and more.
Sir Samís has always been about having fun and that fun always included après ski music in Sammyís Pub and Saturday night parties with live bands or DJís. The programs like Sir Samís Race Challenge on Sunday afternoons are a great way to meet new friends and become part of the extended family of fun.
We encourage you to explore this website and all that Haliburton County has to offer visitors and locals alike. Please consider following us on Facebook or Twitter and watch this website for updates in conditions and activities.