More than 60 years ago, in 1961, Saul Fenster and his older brother, Henry—two siblings from Poland who had survived the Holocaust—bought a swampy plot of land an hour north of Montreal with the dream of opening a ski resort for families. And so, the Belle Neige ski hill in the Laurentien mountains was born.
Saul had learned to ski after the war in Switzerland, where he had been sent to try to cure his tuberculosis after the pair survived a half-dozen death camps—including Auschwitz and Buchenwald.
Belle Neige is honouring its founders this weekend with the opening of a new $4-million quadruple chairlift that has been named in the Fensters’ honour. Although both patriarchs have passed away, their families will be on hand for the inauguration ceremony in Val Morin, Que., on Feb. 25—which also happens to be the one-year anniversary of Saul’s death.
Two of Saul’s sons, Mark and Elie Fenster, join The CJN Daily along with Nicolas Vallieres, the Belle Neige general manager, to describe how their family created its snowy field of dreams.
What we talked about:
- Watch Saul Fenster’s USC Shoah Foundation testimony about being a Holocaust survivor
- Read more about the Fensters’ founding of Belle Neige
- Read the obituary of Saul Fenster in the Montreal Gazette
The CJN Daily is written and hosted by Ellin Bessner (@ebessner on Twitter). Zachary Kauffman is the producer. Michael Fraiman is the executive producer. Our theme music is by Dov Beck-Levine. Our title sponsor is Metropia. We’re a member of The CJN Podcast Network. To subscribe to this podcast, please watch this video. Donate to The CJN and receive a charitable tax receipt by clicking here.