What do your heli-ski guides do in the summer?
If you live anywhere north of the equator, and not in Western Alberta (where it has been snowing for the last week), you have probably noticed that the white blanket covering the surrounding mountains is slowly starting to disappear. For many of us, this is simply a transition from winter to summer. We turn the heating in our offices off, and turn the air conditioning on. Not much changes in our day to day lives. I mean sure, we can no longer ski or partake in other winter activities, driving becomes substantially less stressful, and we start to wear less clothing, but our day to day routines are, for the most part, the same.
Now this is all fine and dandy, but what about our faithful ski guides? Their day to day is dealing with that blanket of white stuff we all love to ski and snowboard on. But what on earth do they do when the snow melts away? Do they just stand in their ski boots and wait for it to snow again? Do they move to the other side of the world where it is snowing? Or do they go in to hibernation like bears in the winter?
A couple of days ago, an email came through the office asking the guides what their plans for this upcoming summer. I was lucky enough to be included in this email and all I have to say is that I am absolutely amazed at the lives that these guys lead! And just to give you an idea on how amazing these guides' lives are, they started out each of their responses with: Nothing too special, Regular life stuff, and Pretty mellow... YA RIGHT!
Steve Chambers, manager of CMH Revelstoke, moves south. And not so far south that he finds snow again, but just south enough that he finds himself in Los Angeles, California. In L.A. Steve takes over more of the parental duties while his wife (who is expecting the newest addition to their family in September) works as a film editor. When he isn't doing his fatherly duties on land, he takes to the water. Plans for this summer include "surfing as much as humanly possible" and joining fellow Revelstoke guide John Luttrell and family on their around the world sailing journey in French Polynesia. And finally, in preparation for next winter, Steve will be doing some work removing an old fuel cache and installing a new one up in Revelstoke so that us heli-skiers can get more skiing in next winter!
Jeff Bodnarchuk, guide with the Nomads Program, is hoping to be out heli-hiking in both the Bobbie Burns and Bugaboos. He is also planning to get out mountain biking and relaxing after his nomadic winter. His major expedition for the summer will be getting in as much family time as possible and raising his little boy.
The last guide we talked to, Mike Welch, hopes to be up at the CMH Galena lodge where he is lodge manager. He will be overseeing some potential renovations to the guest rooms. In his spare time he will be mountain biking and dirt biking around local trails. Lastly, Mike will be out in the wilderness sharpening his eye for photography and pursuing photo opportunities so that he can share some amazing pictures from Galena with you next winter!
All I know is that it sure would be great to live a summer in any of these guys shoes. I guess when you have such an adrenaline filled job in the winter, it pays to "sit back" and "relax" during the summer.
Personally, I am going to be hanging out around the head offices here in Banff, working on tones of exciting things for the upcoming winter. I hope to get up to one of our lodges to do some heli-hiking at some point. I have also set a personal goal to summit a mountain every weekend this summer (wish me luck!). Mountain biking, photography, and barbequing are also all in the plans.
What are your plans this summer? Will I be seeing out at one of our lodges for some summer adventures? Or maybe out on the trails in the backcountry?