In Profile: Susan Quinn
A writer’s perspective on Mount Washington and the Marmot newspaper.
The realization hit Susan with the Spring/ Summer 2014 edition of the Marmot, when she visited with Luke DeBoer and his family at Paradise Ridge. His father was the first caretaker of Paradise Ridge, when it first opened 19 years ago.
Susan started writing for the Marmot 20 years ago, before Paradise Ridge opened, and Luke wasn’t a teenager yet!
It was sometime in 1994, following the closure of the Comox District Free Press, when Rick Gibson asked her if she would be available to write news articles for the Marmot, his newsletter about Mount Washington.
At the time it was a full-colour brochure-style publication that came out several times a year. Over time it transitioned to a tabloid-style newspaper, which now comes out twice a year.
In her own voice... Quinn’s Personal Marmot Milestones
• I have written articles for 43 issuesof the Marmot.
• I have written about every chairlift replacement and improvement.
• I have seen the Resort expand from a single Day Lodge to include the Bradley Development Centre, Raven
Lodge, world-class biathlon range, and a lot of residential development.
• When I first started writing for the Marmot the road was still gravel.
• I once interviewed a resident cat in one of the units, and made another cat jealous.
• I’ve never seen a marmot in the wild, only during a tour of the Marmot Breeding Centre.
• I’ve outlasted three (or is it four?) Directors of Public Relations.
• I’ve retained my passion for Mount Washington since I first learned to ski with the other Trimmer (Graham,
not John) in 1988.
As well as writing articles for the Marmot twice a year, Susan is also a community newspaper journalist.
“When I started working with the Comox Valley Record in 1995, I told them I was committed to a freelance project called the Marmot, and that I would still be writing for that publication. They said OK,” quipped Quinn.
She has since moved on to the Nanaimo News Bulletin for a year, then the Alberni Valley News, where she has been editor since 2006.
In that time, Susan has won numerous writing, photography and layout awards, culminating with a national journalism award in September.
Susan is the worthy recipient of the 2014 recipient of the Peter Gzowski Life Literacy Fellowship.
She will be working on a series of adult literacy stories that will be published by March 2015. This fellowship is awarded to one Canadian journalist per year, and she is honoured to receive it this year.
Writing for the Marmot continues to be a passion for Susan. “I have always been a mediocre skier at best, and after having surgery on both knees over the years I admit I am no longer confident enough to get back on the downhill slopes. I enjoy snowshoeing and keep meaning to try Nordic skiing again.” she added.
“I’ve been to the Outback on the Boomerang Chair, and it really was a Boomerang: it took me down the face and right back up again. I went with my camera right before the chairlift opened.”
In 1998 Susan earned her private pilot's licence, after spending a decade flying in the back seat of military aircraft like the Snowbirds and a CF-18 fighter jet.
“My favourite view of Mount Washington is from the cockpit of a Cessna-172 airplane, on one of those infamous blue sky days, when the peak is cloaked in a shimmering coat of white, the air is calm and I can see all the way to the Coastal Range Mountains on the mainland.” mused Susan.
“Aside from the scenery, I love the people at Mount Washington.”
Every issue she looks forward to meeting interesting people; those who work on the mountain in all sorts of capacities, people who live there year-round, people who have been involved in the Resort since the beginning, or who have skied, lived, stayed there for more than a decade.
“I appreciate those who willingly open their office doors and their homes to me, and who spend time speaking with me on the telephone when I call about a story. My life is so much richer for this experience.”
PUBLISHER NOTE - We have been extremely fortunate to have ‘Susie’ be a part of our Marmot family. It is us that are the beneficiaries of her commitment! Here’s to 43 more issues, better yet, lets shoot for a hundred! Thanks!!! - Rick Gibson