What does an Olympic Decathalete know about heliskiing?
Quite a lot, it turns out! This guest post by Michael Smith is the first in a series that we'll be posting this winter to provide the perspective of professional atheletes on training tips, gear reviews and more to get you ready for heliskiing.
by Michael Smith
I am a multiple sport athlete – always have been, and probably always will be. In today’s environment we see young athletes focusing on just a single sport earlier and earlier in life. The 9 year old hockey player who plays 70+ games a year, kids playing pee wee football before they are even able to run without tripping over their own feet, batting practice for T-Ball? – you get the picture. I can definitely say I didn’t succumb to such early age focus. I was more of a generalist, playing as many sports as I possibly could which logically and karmicly (is that a word?) lead me to a professional sports career in track and field, specifically in the event of decathlon (10 events of track and field).
Even though this helped satisfy my need to challenge myself at several disciplines it didn’t completely cure me of my interest in far too many activities. One of my areas of interest, focused obsession, moment to be present in, is skiing – specifically the quiet far off reaches of heliskiing – preferably with a group of like-minded, slightly crazy, adrenaline seeking individuals.
It is mid-October and it is at this time of year that my interest begins to shift away from fly fishing and biking and in the direction of snow. I’ve had the pleasure of heliskiing with CMH on a few different occasions and have felt compelled to share my excitement and experience with a small handful of friends and associates. Over the years I have come to realize that there is more than enough snow for everyone so I’m glad to increase my breadth of influence among others who may like to share and experience what is known as the “deep powder grin”.
I will be sharing my interest of this unique activity during the upcoming season here on The Heli-Ski Blog and will bring in some fellow snow psycho’s to join in and comment along the way. I’ve recruited some fellow athletes along the way including Jan Hudec of Canadian Olympic downhill fame and Brad Chandler – owner and operator of Mountain Bike City in Calgary, Alberta – who is, as you can guess from the shop name, a fat ski guru. (Brad shares my multi-sport disorder). Others will inevitably join us along the way as we are well aware that this affliction is not ours exclusively.
Adhering to our multi event, multi sport, multi discipline philosophy, we look to share with you on The Heli-Ski blog throughout the ski season, training tips, ski technique, powder gear, big lines in heli accessible terrain in the Rockies along with experiences in business and sport - and how they can be similar and how they can be very, very different.
Look forward to it.
Michael Smith is a Managing Director in the Private Client Department at Thomas Weisel Partners / Stifel Nicolaus. Michael began his career in financial services after a successful 14 year career in track and field where he represented Canada at 3 Olympic Games (1988, 1992. 1996), multiple international competitions, and was ranked in the top 10 in the world for 10 years in a row in the sport of decathlon. Besides continuing to participate in several sports Michael enjoys working with and supporting numerous community and charity events.