Don Sumanik was inducted to the Hall of Fame for his major contribution to cross-country skiing in Whitehorse.
A resident of Yukon since 1966, Don was a major factor in the expansion of cross-country skiing in the territory. For many years he worked at cutting trails, setting ski tracks, serving as president of the Whitehorse Cross-Country Ski Club and promoting major ski events. Don was primarily responsible for bringing the 1974 Canadian National Junior Cross Country Championships, the 1976 Canadian National Senior Championships and the 1980 Canadian National Junior Cross Country Championships to Whitehorse. He also served as the Race Chair for the 1974 and 1976 events and in 1975 he was Chair of the Canadian Ski Association. Don’s greatest contribution was bringing the 1981 World Cup Ski Race to Whitehorse and getting the Whitehorse Cross Country Ski Chalet built in time for the event. The Edmonton Journal wrote on November 27, 1980:
“Don Sumanik’s efforts on behalf of cross country skiing would have surprised even the most skeptical of people who felt the World Cup finals would be only a dream the Yukon could never realize.”
Even when he was quite ill waiting for his second heart surgery of the year, Don actively participated during the week of the race and was appointed World Cup Chair. Don Sumanik passed away on December 1, 1982.