By Connie MacDonald, Director of People, CMH
For the past 2 weeks I’ve been glued to my TV watching the Olympics. The competitions are so intense but I confess to being hooked on the athlete profiles. The big picture is always more compelling for me, when I get a glimpse at the personal side of an athlete.
I guest that’s why the coolest part of my job is getting to know our 475+ staff. The seasonal die-hards and steadfast office team combine to make an interesting cast of characters that never cease to inspire me.
One of those characters is Shop Guy / Artist extraordinaire – Ryan Bavin. When not tuning skis and selling clothes at the Bugaboos Ryan is an award-winning artist with a major skiing habit.
We talked with Ryan recently about his time at CMH and his passions…
CM: Your history with CMH and the Bugaboos goes way back giving you a special connection to this place…
RB: Yeah, I grew up right around here and have been visiting the lodge since I was very young. My family has lived in the Columbia Valley (Invermere) for about 100 years. The Bugaboos has always been a place where we have come to hang out in the mountains, whether going hiking, camping out or whatever!
There is a small lake up around Groovy Ridge called Bavin Lake. There is a small cairn and memorial plaque for my grandparents whose ashes are scattered there. This was a favourite area of theirs to hike and camp. The ridge walking and spectacular views of the Bugaboos and Septet mountains are amazing from this area.
My father built the trail up Chalice creek and over to Bavin Lake as a project for his Alpine Park Planning degree from Selkirk College in 1972. After this the family has usually made an annual trip in to the area every summer.
CM: When you're not working in the Bugaboos, where can we find you?
RB: I can usually be found down at my business in Invermere, Bavin Glassworks. And once in a while I’ll be found out and around in the surrounding mountains. Ski touring, hiking, fishing … It’s always good to have any excuse to head out for the mountains!
CM: What came first – you’re love of skiing, glass blowing or photography?
RB: I would say my love of skiing came first. I started when I was 2 years old. Both my parents were ski instructors at the time. I grew up hanging around ski shops that my parents owned until I was 17. After that I spent a couple seasons out in Whistler in ski shops there. Then to Panorama where I worked for Peter Lustenburger for 10 years at the ski shop there. Lusti was a shop guy for CMH back in the 70’s, so I heard many crazy CMH stories from him.
Next I guess would be photography. My grandfather was an award winning photographer and I spent a lot of time with him in the darkroom when I was young. I was given my first camera for my 12th birthday which just happened to be up at Bavin Lake. (I remember stopping by Bugaboo lodge on the way home the next day and Leo invited us in for dinner. Lynn Grillmair made me a peach crepe with a candle in it for dessert!)
I started glassblowing when I was 15. This has become my main occupation and have now been working for over 20 years making all kind of different glass objects. It is interesting trying to make a living as an artist, there are always new challenges to work on to keep you occupied!
CM: What's the best part of being Relief Shop Manager at the Bugaboos, apart from the skiing you get to do :)
RB: I get to blast in here for a week and just have a good time! For me, coming in for my week is like going on holidays, or at least I look at it that way. There is always something fun going on, so it’s a great atmosphere to be around. As an artist, this is a pretty inspiring place to be. I’m always working on new ideas that have been inspired while working in the Bugs.
CM Thanks Ryan…enjoy your next Bugaboo Holiday!
Ryan has created a number of commissioned pieces for CMH such as long-term staff awards, guest gifts and various pieces around the Bugaboo Lodge. His photography is also reflective of his love for the mountains and he recently won first prize for Best Mountain Landscape at the 2008 Banff International Mountain Photography Competition.
Photo: Watchtower, by Ryan Bavin