Given the outstanding skiing Thunder Bay has to offer, it is not surprising that one of Canada's top skiers hailed from our city. Born in Fort William on July 12th, 1954, Dave was learning to ski at the age of three on the slopes of his father's Loch Lomond ski resort.
From this starting point Dave began his trek towards a ski career that would leave a legacy on the sport. He was named to the Canadian national Ski Team in 1971 and won the Can-Am Slalom title in 1972, earning him the illustrious NOVA Cup as Canada's most improved skier that same year. After another year on the Can-Am circuit, Dave was ready to compete with the world's best.
As part of the infamous 'Crazy Canucks' ski team, Dave, Ken Read, Dave Murray, Jim Hunter and Steve Podborski changed the state of skiing in Canada while bringing Canada international respect at the same time. Known as the 'Kamikaze Canuck' Dave became only the second Canadian male to ever win a World Cup Downhill, doing so at Schladming, Austria in 1975.
From 1974 to 1982, Dave participated in numerous World Cup races, two Winter Olympics (earning an 8th place at Innsbruck in 1976 and an 11th place at Lake Placid in 1980) and was part of a historic day when five Canadians placed in the top seven at a World Cup Dowhnill at Val D'Isere, France in 1980.
Dave's outstanding career also illustrated the type of courage and determination which is affiliated with top athletic achievement. Dave recovered from injuries, which would have made most athletes contemplate retirement, the worst of these injuries occurring in January of 1976 at Wengen, Switzerland where he suffered a concussion that put him in the hospital for 8 days. Undaunted, Irwin returned to the hills two weeks later to place a respectable 8th in the Olympic Downhill. Dave continued with his all-out aggressive style until his retirement from the World Cup circuit following the 1981-82 season.
Inducted into the Northwestern Ontario Sports Hall of Fame, September 23, 1989