CANMORE – Puff, puff, pass.
Forty-nine years ago Don and Ron Sadoway were sitting on the then Standish double chair lift at Banff Sunshine Village when photographer Simon Hoyle snapped a picture of the fraternal twins sharing a joint.
The rebellious counterculture High in the Canadian Rockies poster was born.
“We did it as a lark because we thought it was fun and people would enjoy it,” said Don Sadoway.
He recalls the poster selling very quickly through the first 500 they had printed, and since then he has still been making reprints and receiving requests on-and-off over the years from around the world. He estimates more than 2,000 posters have been sold over the years.
“It’s fun. I’ve been able to correspond with people from every corner of the planet who want a poster of me and my brother up on their wall because it puts a smile on their face.”
In the past three years, Sadoway said there has been an increase in demand for the poster, which he credits to the legalization of cannabis.
“Now that marijuana is legal in Canada there has been a resurgence of interest from some oldies and some young people who see the poster and say ‘Hey this is cool. I want one,’ ” he said.
“There is less of a stigma compared to back then around marijuana. People are more accepting and I think that has had an impact on the popularity of the poster too.”
In the early '70s at Sunshine, Sadoway recalls the rebellious counterculture around cannabis. He said on most days there was an RCMP presence at the bottom of the Sunshine road looking for people with alcohol or drugs.
“There was always a sense of ‘Oh no, where can I hide that,’ ” said Sadoway while laughing.
He said there was a counterculture surrounding cannabis because it was against the law, and if caught, there was the potential to go to prison. At the time, being a pothead was seen as an insult and looked down upon, but Sadoway said the small community was full of friendly and respectful people.
“My brother and I worked hard, and we also had some fun too.”
The brothers worked at the Abominable ski shop – Don at the Sunshine location and Ron at the downtown Banff location. In the poster, the pair can be seen wearing matching ski suits with the Abominable ski shop logo.
On the hill, Sadoway said there were numerous spots to duck into the trees and have a puff out of the public eye.
He recalls a favourite spot way off to the right of the old Wawa T-bar in a cove of trees.
“That was a favourite spot because you never knew who would be there, but you could be sure there was always somebody there.”
In honour of the 50 year anniversary of the poster's creation, Sadoway has made 600 prints. The posters are for sale on amazon.ca and can also be ordered for Sadoway directly at 403-678-1498.