A veteran roots musician is making his way to Invermere for a show at Pynelogs next Thursday, October 26th, drawn here by his past as a snowboarding trailblazer.

Lester Quitzau spent much of his time in the late 1980s helping develop what eventually became the sport of snowboarding, and the friendships he formed then have brought him back to Invermere multiple times over the years.

“I’ve played in Invermere a lot over the years,” Mr. Quitzau, who has been a professional musician for three decades, told the Pioneer. “I love it there, it’s always been a good place for me. My first gig there was in 1989 and since then I’ve played just about every cafe, bar or venue in the town. It’s always evolving.”

Mr. Quitzau’s musical style has evolved as much through the years as has Invermere’s music venues.

“It started off as blues and has since expanded to encompass all styles of music. It makes a pretty colourful set,” he said. “It’s folk, blues, roots music for the most part, with a jazz approach. It’s open to interpretation and different every time since we improvise a lot.”

Mr. Quitzau is also known for his work as part of Juno award-winning Tricontinental, a world music trio comprised of him, Madagascar Slim and Bill Bourne.

He first became interested in music by listening to his older brother’s Led Zeppelin albums, but the more he learned, the more he was drawn to folk and roots sounds, saying “I’ve always been attracted to its honesty and simplicity, and its deep history.”

On a trip to the Valley last spring to play at the Easy Rider Cup and Safta’s, Mr. Quitzau shared about his early years as a snowboarding pioneer.

“I first got involved in snowboarding in 1986, when it wasn’t even allowed at ski resorts. It was an exciting time, for sure. Those were the days when snowboards had fins, boots were essentially just Sorels stiffened up with duct tape and ski boot liners wedged inside … Those first years were a struggle. We had to hike up ski hills because, due to insurance and liability issues, we weren’t allowed on lifts. The only place you could ride the life was Sunshine Village, I have no idea why they let us but nobody else did. Eventually the powers that be realized you could make money from snowboarding, and it exploded. But it was way more fun when it was underground.”

Mr. Quitzau kicks off Pynelog’s Love it Live concet series for his show Thursday, October 26th. Concert starts at 7 p.m. Tickets are $25 each, or three concerts for $60, and can be bought online at www.columbiavalleyarts.com. To learn more and listen to some of Mr. Quitzau’s music, visit his site at www.lesterq.com.