Golden Moments with backcountry enthusiast Ken Piggot

Talking about everything from farm animals to scuba diving, Ken Piggot tells stories about his life growing up in Golden.

Ken Piggot stands in front of the home he built with his father in the late 1950s.

Ken Piggot stands in front of the home he built with his father in the late 1950s.

Talking about everything from farm animals to scuba diving, Ken Piggot sat on the couch in his home on 10th Street South, the same home he built with his father in the late 1950s, and told stories about his life growing up in Golden.

“My father and his family were from Britain. My grandmother was widowed, and her husband had huge family who were expecting to take over with the kids. My grandmother said that’s not going to happen,” said Piggot, reminiscing about how his family came to settle in Golden.

“So one of her brothers-in-law said ‘OK, whatever you want.’ And he sent the family to Canada. That was 1911.”

A family member had ventured to Canada first and decided that Golden was the best place to settle. The family bought some property seven miles down the valley.

Piggot’s father was the youngest of the children to immigrate, and he and his older brother found love in the same place.

“My dad and his brother married my mother and her sister,” said Piggot.

His mother was from Kelowna, so Piggot spent a bit of his childhood in the Okanagan, but was quite happy to eventually return home.

“We lived there for a period of time, but it just wasn’t the right country for us. I was really happy when we came back here, and I’ve been here ever since,” he said.

“I thought it was great growing up here. We farmed until I was 11 or 12… there were always lots of animals around. Most of the animals were pets, most of the time, but unfortunately, eventually you had to eat some of them.”

He recalled the family’s labrador retriever dog who became attached to two colts. The trio would follow each other around, and even sleep together.

It was also his family’s farm work that first introduced Piggot to his wife.

“I first met my wife when she was eight years old. My uncle used to purchase cattle from farmers down the valley,” said Piggot. His uncle brought him along to help purchase the cattle and transport them.

“So we went down there, and across this yard there was this eight-year-old girl running around.”

It would be a few more years before they would officially meet as teenagers. Piggot’s friend wanted to go on a date with a young girl, but the girl’s mother wouldn’t let them go unless Piggot went along. The girl brought along her friend and it turned out to be that same eight-year-old girl.

“We had a lot of fun together. We did a lot of touring around the country, a lot of camping, hiking, skiing,” said Piggot.

“I skied in the mountains here a lot, just backcountry skiing. We have three boys, and two of them were racing, so we were going to Lake Louise all the time.”

Backcountry skiing was a big part of Piggot’s life. After learning to ski from his friend Sid Fuez, the pair would explore and ski all around the area, including what is now the ski resort.

“The hill up there was originally started by a group of local skiers. We were all involved in that, building the first runs and roads, all of that. It was fun, it was really exciting,” said Piggot, who has had a season pass every year the hill has been open.

Piggot had a variety of summer hobbies as well, including scuba diving.

“There was eight or nine of us in town here who used to scuba dive. We’d practice on the lakes around here, and usually make one trip a year down to the coast for a week, or so, diving off boats,” he said.

“A few times I got called by the RCMP for assistance with someone who had gone into the lake or river−looking for remains. I never really liked doing it, but you do it because it’s one of the things you can do to help.”

In his years belonging to this community, Piggot has raised three sons, has several grandchildren and one great grandchild, has worked multiple jobs, and has truly taken advantage at the natural splendour Golden has to offer.

“I was content here. All my friends are here. I like to ski, I like the backcountry. We do lots of hiking and climbing. I’d look around and think: where else would I go?”