CANSI Founding Father and Key Sport Builder Passes Away Posted on Jan 6th, 2008


Cross Country Canada regretfully announces the death of one its very dedicated sport builders. Heinz Niederhauser died suddenly while skiing at Duntroon on January 5th, he was there doing what he loved to do: coaching young athletes in the finer points of XC ski racing. Heinz spent his past 35 years as a passionate contributor to coaching and athlete development at all levels of our sport. He was a builder of clubs, the key developer of the Ontario Team, a valued mentor to a strong Coaching community and a leader in Canada's National Ski Team program.

On behalf of Cross Country Canada I wish to express our heartfelt condolences to Heinz's wife Blanch and to his children Sven and Jana, we are all very proud and grateful to have had his hand in shaping our sport.

Heinz with Jane Vincent at the 1986 Canadian Junior Championships in Whitehorse,Yukon

Heinz's strong voice and passionate energy will always resonate in our sport. The following is a brief account of his key contributions.


  • Developed and coached the SOD X-C Ski team program with year-round training camps including week long summer camps at provincial parks such as Algonquin and Killbear.

  • Instructed and examined CSA Instructor and Coaches courses.

  • Conducted clinics for HS teachers and athletes at all HS from Aurora to Huntsville.

  • Developed a small Training Centre for the SOD team in Raymond.

  • Initiated the "Bracebridge Langlauf" the " Raymond Invitational" and brought Seneca College, King City, into the loop of SOD Cup races.

1977 to 1980
  • Technical Director, X-C CSA, responsible for Nat. Ski Team program and coaching development.

  • Assembled the first National ski team sports science committee at Laurentian University.

  • Developed Nat. Junior Team Program.

  • Involved in the implementation of the national Coaching Certification program.

  • One of the " 3 Founding Fathers " of the Canadian Association of Nordic Ski Instructors ( CANSI ) and subsequent instructor for future course instructors and examiners.

  • Held first Glacier Skiing training camp for the Nat. Team in Canada ( Bugaboo glacier ).

  • Started and coached the Ottawa Racers Ski Club and developed the Mooney's Bay Facility in cooperation with the City of Ottawa to a X-C facility for training, mid-week racing and a ski-school using existing field lighting.

  • Worked as Ontario Master Coach training Divisional coaches.

  • Ontario Team Coach.

  • Member of National Ski Team Committee.

  • "Chief of manual grooming" at 87 pre- and 88 Olympics.

  • Founder and coach of Mt. Pakenham Nordic Ski Club later changed to Lowney Lake Nordic and relocated to our Campground where we developed trails including lighted ones for evening training.

  • Involved with NCD program.

  • Coaching with Lowney Lake Nordic, Kanata Racers, NCD and Ontario Team

  • First recipient of the CCO Heinz Niederhauser Coaching Award in 2006

Source Cross Country Canada



Paul Graner January 7th, 2008

I have no end of fond memories of Heinz as I was a young ski coach working under his wing in the 80’s.

I will miss him.

Paul Graner

Linda Landry January 7th, 2008

Heinz - a Canadian legend in xc skiing. To be remembered for his contribution to the sport in Canada. He developed skiers to be the best athlete they could be. He developed coaches to be the best leaders and technicians. He was an unwaivering role model, a vivid patron and a man who lived passionately.

May his Family find the strength within through this difficult time.

We will miss you,
Reg & Linda Landry

Cathy & Ed Cottell January 7th, 2008

In addition to his prowess as a coach and skier, Heinz was a dedicated friend of many and a loving partner to Blanche Drapeau. A little piece of Heinze remains in each of our hearts where he touched so many of us. Please join us to celebrate his life on Sat. Jan 12 at the Pilon Family Funeral Home in Arnprior. Friends and family will gather from 2-4 p.m. to share memories of Heniz. A memorial will start at 4 p.m. followed by a reception with light refreshment.

Dave Rees January 7th, 2008

I have known and valued Heinz as a friend and colleague in skiing since the 70's and in fact we endured the basement of a hotel in Banff together back then to design the beginnings of CANSI. His enthusiasm and dedication to his chosen sport of cross country skiing has been legion and he has touched so many across our country in his passion to make us all better skiers. He left us doing the sport he loved and he will be sadly missed by all. Our heartfelt and sincerest sympathies go out to Blanche, Sven and Jana and also to Lars, Tom and Glen who have lost a fine husband and loving father.