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Calgary's Women in Winter Event Educates, Inspires

  
  
  

There's no question that participating in winter sports is a great way to stay fit and enjoy the long Canadian winters, but sometimes choosing the right gear and learning how to ski or snowboard can be intimidating for many women. 

Women's Ski and Snowboard Event, Calgary“Being active outside during the cold months is a great way to work in fitness, stress relief and fun,” says Ellen Slaughter of CMH Heli-Skiing. “But learning about a new sport, and how to fit something else into our already busy lives can be overwhelming. We created Women in Winter as a way to get women in Calgary together to learn about winter sports in a fun, engaging place.”

Women in Winter aims to inspire women to stay fit and active and have fun throughout the winter, and to connect women with other women looking to get out into the mountains and play. This innovative event is the brainchild of the Resorts of the Canadian Rockies (RCR) in partnership with CMH Heli-Skiing and Ski Cellar Snowboard, and hosted by Calgary media personality Nirmala Naidoo.

Women in Winter, encompasses many elements of winter sport; from fashion to gear fittings, as well as learn about various programs available at independent operators. Attendees will also be entered for a chance to win thousands of dollars in prizes, including ski gear, winter clothing, vacation packages from RCR and a grand prize of a complimentary spot on the CMH Girl Po(w)der 101 ski trip this March 14 - 18 in Revelstoke, British Columbia.

“The goal of Women in Winter is to get women out to share a fun afternoon with friends, to meet new friends, to be encouraged to put themselves and their health first by staying active and fit,” explains Jean Hunt, Manager, Ski Cellar Snowboard . “Too often women put themselves last - they often spend their time ensuring that their kids are participating in winter sports without discovering the pleasures and benefits of our spectacular mountain playground for themselves."

Women in Winter takes place Sunday, October 14, 2012 from 1:00pm to 4:00pm at Mount Royal University in the Ross Glen Hall. Parking is free, and the $5 admission fee at the door will be donated to the Canadian Avalanche Foundation. Space is limited – participants must register online at www.cmhski.com/womeninwinter by October 9, 2012.

The Coolest News in the Ski Industry

  
  
  

CMH Heli-Skiing + K2 Skis = CMH K2 Rotor Lodge

What happens when two of the coolest ski industry icons get together over a few beers in Nakusp, BC?  CMH K2, that's what. CMH K2 is a revolutionary Heli-Skiing operation that accesses the deep powder stashes of British Columbia’s famed Kootenay region.  With a revamped lodge aptly named the CMH K2 Rotor Lodge in Nakusp, BC, CMH K2 offers passionate skiers great skiing combined with K2's legendary mad-cap style of fun and excitement. What's more, every CMH K2 skier will get a free pair of their favourite K2's.  Sign me up, you say?  Read on!

Destined to join legendary names like the Bugaboos, Cariboos and Monashees as a world renowned heli-ski destination, CMH K2 will have heli-ski programs to suit any skier starting with K2 athlete hosted trips and ski testing with K2's in-house design team.

Kicking off in January, K2’s top athletes will host individual heli-ski trips, including:* 

Steep Shots and Pillow Drops- Learn from the best, in the best conditions.
• Jan.3-7 with Collin Collins
• Feb. 18-23 with Andy Mahre

Athlete Ski Trips- Perfectly sized groups for optimal group dynamics and plenty of fresh lines and fun to be had by all.
• Jan.7-12  - athlete to be announced
• Jan. 12-17 with Reggie Crist and Zach Crist<

Film School- Fine tune photo and film skills while capturing the most adrenaline-filled face shots to share with jealous friends at home.
• Feb. 4-9 with Pep Fujas

Women’s Trip- Where girls can be girls and get after it.
• Jan. 21-26 with Kim Reichhelm

* Each professional skier is committed to the trips as listed, but sometimes injuries or other circumstances may prevent their appearance on the trip.  Should that occur, CMH K2 will do the very best to have another prominent K2 athlete attend the trip.

CMH K2 Heli-Skiing

CMH K2 Demo Days Are Back!

In March CMH K2 Demo Days are back.  These sessions provide heli-skiers a chance to test a variety of prototype K2 powder skis. K2 designers will be there to offer demos and receive feedback that they will use to fine-tune the final product. As with all Heli-Ski trips at CMH K2, guests will earn a free pair of 2013-14 K2 skis. Demo-Days are scheduled for March 4-7, March 7-10 and March 10-13.

“Partnering with CMH presents K2 with not only with a world-class winter playground to test powder skis in the most ideal waist-deep conditions and endless terrain, but also gives our athletes and us a chance to connect with a broad range of skiers,” said K2’s Mike Gutt. “Specifically during the Demo Days, the skier’s feedback is applied to the development of the our powder and softer snow oriented skis.  It’s “Serious Fun,” the guests can focus on having “fun” and K2 focuses on the “serious” side of getting consumer feedback.”

“We're so excited about expanding our relationship with K2” said CMH's Marty von Neudegg. “The real beneficiaries will be our guests who are lucky enough to experience CMH K2 for themselves.  K2 will bring their leading-the-way technology, fun people and genuine love of skiing to CMH K2.”


After dreamy days of skiing endless powder throughout the 1,155 sq km heli-ski terrain offered within the Selkirk and Monashee ranges, skiers return to the CMH K2 Rotor Lodge to chill or partake in some K2-influenced fun. With easy access from Calgary, Kelowna or Spokane, the CMH K2 Rotor Lodge is perfect for passionate skiers looking for a quick heli trip with great terrain and funky, retro accommodations. 

And don't be surprised if you climb into the helicopter to find a Sasquatch stole your seat.

To learn more about CMH K2 and to book, check out www.cmhski.com/k2  or call 1-800-661-0252.

Freedom and adrenaline: the girls ride the Bugaboos

  
  
  

Bugaboos snowgirlsPhotographer and writer Andrea Johnson got to live her dreams in the Bugaboos last winter.  Here's what she had to say about the realization:

I’ve dreamt of the complete freedom and incomparable adrenalin rush of helicopter skiing & snowboarding for the past twenty years.  My expectations were high, yet these visions were exceeded by my CMH Heli-Skiing experience in the most surprising ways.

I learned to ski at the age of 9 from my grandfather, Andy Hennig, who was an Austrian Ski instructor at Sun Valley, Idaho until the age of 77. He was a legend in his own right teaching the Hemingway family and countless celebrities while working with Warren Miller in the early days of the adventure ski films. This lifestyle made an unforgettable impression, so in my mid 20’s I took a job at a snowboard company, hired photographers for marketing campaigns, and watched endless ski and snowboard films to fuel the fire.

Fast forward 15 years and my dream had nearly slipped away.  I used the same excuses of lacking time, money, and fitness that most of us justify in delaying such adventures. Additionally last summer I lost my snowboarding partner of 15 years, Dale Johnson, who died in a tragic accident before he had the chance to heli snowboard – #1 on his bucket list. As life teaches us through unexpected circumstances, I found my dream reignited through the inspiration of Fred Noble.

Fred has heli-skied over 7 million vertical feet with CMH as their North American Agent, choosing to use his commissions in trade for heli-ski time during the past 38 years. This trip was his most challenging yet – 18 months ago Fred was diagnosed with ALS and he has lost all mobility in his legs. He was determined to celebrate his 75th birthday at the Bugaboos with the first descent on a sit ski, and I was there to help capture the event for a documentary film on his life (see next blog entry for this story). The experience was bittersweet, his unquenchable spirit contagious, and by watching Fred overcome obstacles of this magnitude I realized my excuses were miniscule in comparison.

Bugaboos skiing resized 600

In reality all of my concerns vanished the minute the helicopter dropped us off besides the magnificent Bugaboo Spires. CMH invented heli-skiing at the Bugaboos over 45 years ago and they’ve perfected the experience. The first day our group of 10 women, one man, and two guides had countless fresh tracks on a perfect bluebird day offering unlimited access to the high alpine glaciers.

On the second afternoon when many guests opted for a rest I had the chance to join a group of guides, staff, and several skiers with over a million vertical feet at CMH. At first I was intimidated, but soon found that my level of riding rose to the occasion. Cannon Barrel run was in perfect condition to rip with unrestrained speed: In a few minutes our group traveled over 2,000 vertical feet, stopping only once for a brief rest. I can still hear the hoots and hollers of my fellow skiers, tele-markers, and riders – we made three epic runs that are seared in my mind as my most unforgettable riding experience.

My fellow skiers were fun and relaxed, and our camaraderie was always high. Though we had both expert and virgin heli-skiers, we were a very compatible and tight knit group. I enjoyed not having to fight for my turn to go first and the shouts of encouragement as everyone continued to gain confidence and improve. As a tomboy, I’ve been accustomed to fighting alpha males for position in adventure sports. I had honestly never considered the fact that I could have more fun joining a group of women who would push my limits – but in a joyful, non-competitive way.

bugaboo girls

Mid week a series of storms dumped 1-2 feet of fresh snow each day. These conditions were ideal for extensive tree runs with the lightest deepest powder I’ve ever encountered. One morning I rode with the chef, another snowboarder, enjoying the long easy lines through the trees. Each of us paired up with a buddy and made our own unique call to each other as we traveled; I can still hear the yodel of Seth, our Austrian guide, echoing through the forest.

Everything at CMH is world class, and after a long day on the mountain nothing beats a soak in the hot tub. This was my daily ritual, and on the days when my body gave out I indulged in a 45-minute deep tissue massage expertly applied to the areas most in need of recovery.

Bugaboos hot tub resized 600

It’s tradition on the last evening of the week to dress up in costume, share stories and skits from the most entertaining parts of the trip, and join a dance party after dinner. My only regret from my experience was not conditioning better in advance – next time I’ll be prepared for the endless activity!

This trip broke nearly every stereotype and concern I had of heli-skiing. Groups ranged in age from 30 to 75 years old and from expert to first time heli-skiers of varying fitness levels and expertise. Over half our group were women, and though I was the lone snowboarder much of the time, the guides were careful to take me on alternative routes to avoid flats or let the group break the trail when traverses were unavoidable. The one thing we all shared was an unquenchable thirst for skiing or snowboarding; sharing the week with like-minded, passionate adventurers is an incredible experience I’m now addicted to relive as often as possible.

Photos and story by Andrea Johnson.

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