The Heli-Ski Blog

Ski Heroes: An Interview with CMH Heli Skiing Guide, Dave Gauley

Posted by Jane Carswell on Jun 8, 2010 12:00:00 PM

Our founder, Hans Gmoser, was a passionate skier and mountaineer.  He was inspired at a young age by the local Catholic Priest, of all people, to spend time in the mountains.  This pasttime ignited a passion in Hans and he committed his life to persuing that passion. Now Hans is remembered as many things but most notably as the father of heliskiing and a founding member of the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides as well as a world-class climber with remarkable first ascents to his name.

Today our CMH Heli-Skiing guides share Hans' passions and dreams and are making history of their own.  I asked one such guide, Dave Gauley about his life as a skier and who were the heroes that inspired him.  Here's what he had to say:

JC: Dave, when did you start skiing and what got you into the sport?

CMH Heli-Skiing guide, Dave GauleyDG: I started skiing when I was about 6 years old in Rimouski, Quebec. I started because my friends were doing it and I got some hand-me-down equipment from one of my cousins.

JC: As a young skier, who were the athletes and skiers that inspired you?

DG: The skiers that inspired me were at first Scot Schmidt (the first ever professional extreme skier), then Trevor Peterson, Jean Marc Boivin, Pierre Tardivel and the likes.

JC: There are some pretty hot skiers out there these days that are pushing the envelope on technology and technique.  In your opinion, who are the skiers and riders that are the heroes for the next generation?

DG: Shane McConkey was an inspiration. I had a chance to ski with Shane a few times. He was very talented and always thinking of new ways to advance the sport. Many, if not all of today's  performance powder ski designs were his brainchild. That footage of him mounting ski bindings on waterskis, and ripping an Alaskan face to convince people that the spatula design was worthy is something i will never forget.

I am more inspired by the big mountain riders like Seth Morrison, than any jibbers. But Jon Olson is pretty impressive, in that he can dominate the jibbing world, and may compete in the next olympics in alpine racing.

JC: Did you always aspire to be a Heli-Ski Guide for CMH or like other young boys did you really want to be a fireman?

DG: I dropped out of university where i was pursuing a law degree, to move to Whistler to chase a dream. I watched ski movies, and wanted to be one of those people in the movies. I made that happen and had a career as a professional skier chasing first descents around the world for about a decade. During that time I had a chance to go to CMH for a photo shoot in the Gothics with Brad White. I saw what was going on and thought "This is a job?". I became a guide over the next 5 years, moved to Chamonix to guide for a year, then got started with CMH in 2000.

JC: And now, what do you want to be when you grow up?

DG: I don't want to grow up. I have achieved everything i have ever put my mind to. I just have to figure out what the next challenge is.

What about you?  Who are your ski heroes and where has your passion for the mountains taken you?

Ski with Dave: Dave Gauley is Assistant Area Manager at CMH Cariboos and the brainchild behind CMH's Steep Weeks held each April in the Cariboos.

Topics: Ski Heroes, CMH Guides, Steep Weeks