Dave Irwin came from a family of skiers. His grandfather started the Amber Ski Club in Princeton, BC and several of his relatives skied competitively. At age seventeen, Irwin joined the national ski team for the 1970-71 season and became known as one of the most intense members of the “Crazy Canucks” (so named because of their daring, fearless manner of racing on the edge and sometimes over it).

Irwin was voted Canada’s “Most Improved Skier”, in 1972. In 1975, he became the second Canadian in history to win a wen’s World Cup downhill race, claiming victory at Schladming, Austria.

Irwin placed eighth in the downhill at the 1976 Winter Olympic Games in Innsbrück, Austria, after sustaining a major crash with concussion. Again suffering from concussion and broken ribs, he placed eighth in the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid.

That same year he went on to win the US national downhill championship in Squaw Valley. Later, he skied 48 World Cup races, placing in the top-ten nine times. Just before his retirement in 1982, he placed third in the World Cup downhill at Whistler, BC.