More about the Bee Hive

History Records That. . .

The February 26, 1961 competition at Georgian Peaks, Ontario was the first pro race in Canada involving Friedl Pfeifer’s newly formed International Professional Ski Racing Association (IPSRA). One month earlier, in January 1961, Pfeifer and his Aspen sidekick, Fred Iselin, had run a race-for-money giant slalom on Buttermilk at Aspen. The winner was Anderl Molterer, the Blitz from Kitz, who took home $1,450, arguably the first major cash prize for ski racing since 19th-century gold miners on long boards raced for money in California.

Following the Buttermilk race,
IPSRA was formed as a nonprofit corporation, according to an account in the October 1961 issue of Skiing Magazine. One of the new organization’s first acts was to accept an invitation from Canada for its members to compete in the previously planned Bee Hive race. Because of a winter drought, snow had to be shoveled onto the course on the steep escarpment that is Georgian Peaks. More than 9,000 eager spectators showed up. IPSRA racers took the first six places. 

“In quick succession that winter,” reported Skiing, “IPSRA staged five more races—at Aspen; Boyne Mountain, Michigan; Sugar Bowl, California; Loveland Basin, Colorado; and Stevens Pass, Washington. By season’s end in April, Pfeifer’s pro group had drawn more than 25,000 spectators, and paid out $15,500 in prizes.” (Equal to $118,000 today, adjusted for inflation.) 

The top money winner in pro racing’s first season was Molterer, with $5,000. Other committed IPSRA racers were Stein Eriksen of Aspen Highlands and Boyne; Christian Pravda and Pepi Gramshammer of Sun Valley; Toni Spiess of Aspen; and Othmar Schneider of Stowe. 

For IPSRA’s second season in 1962, Pfeifer stipulated that racers would have to be 24 years of age or older. He wanted to avoid attracting younger racers, as a concession to the FIS (International Ski Federation), which opposed money competitions of any kind. 

Pfeifer, his eyes twinkling, sardonically told Skiing of his worry that IPSRA might have difficulty recruiting more good skiers. “Some top Europeans,” he said, “are making so much money as amateurs they can’t afford to turn pro!” —John Fry

Bee Hive Chronology

First Professional Invitation Bee Hive Giant Slalom
February 26, 1961
Georgian Peaks, Ontario
First place: Stein Eriksen (Norway)
Top prize: $2,000

Second Annual Professional Invitation Bee Hive Giant Slalom
February 25, 1962
Mont Gabriel Lodge, Québec
First place: Heli Schaller (Austria)
Top prize: $2,000

Third Annual Professional Invitation Bee Hive Giant Slalom
February 10, 1963
Devil’s Glen, OntarioFirst place: Ernst Hinterseer (Austria)
Top prize: $2,000

Fourth Annual Professional Invitation Bee Hive Giant Slalom
February 23, 1964
Devil’s Glen, Ontario
First place: Ernst Hinterseer (Austria)
Top prize: $2,000

Fifth Annual Professional Invitation Bee Hive Giant Slalom
March 13, 1965
Mount Whitehorn, Lake Louise, Alberta
First place: Adrien Duvillard (France)
Top prize: $2,000

Sixth Annual Professional Invitation Bee Hive Giant Slalom
February 13, 1966
Lac Beauport, Québec
First place: Ernst Hinterseer (Austria)
Top prize: $2,000

Seventh Annual Professional Invitation Bee Hive Giant Slalom
March 12, 1967
Mont Tremblant, Québec
First place: Hias Leitner (Austria)
Top prize: $2000


To Learn More

Many of the Bee Hive promotional materials, such as posters, flyers, advertisements, programs, and newspaper and magazine articles, are stored in the Canadian Ski Museum collection; most of the materials can be viewed online at Another resource is the  St. Lawrence Starch Company collection at the Archives of Ontario in Toronto ( These records document the development of Bee Hive racing and report historical facts about the races and the racers, including photographs and trophies. Dan Gibson’s films provide a fascinating record of the Bee Hive races. Three of the seven films have survived (documenting the first, fourth and seventh years of the race series) and are preserved at a third resource, the Library and Archives Canada in Ottawa. To order copies of the films or to learn more, consult the Website: