At CMH Heli-Skiing we have one of the largest and most experienced teams of mountain guides in the world. On average, over 100 plus guides have been with CMH for 14 years: a few of them more than twice that! But mixed in with the grey hair and battle-scarred wisdom we have some bright shining stars that are the next generation of mountain guides. One of those many guides in the early years of their career with CMH Heli-Skiing is Dani Loewenstein. I connected with Dani earlier this month while he was down south on a surfing trip and he shared some insight into being a new kid on a team of veteran heliskiing guides.
JC: How did you know you wanted to be a mountain guide?
DL: Strangely enough I knew that I wanted to be a Mountain Guide before moving to the mountains? There were a few big catalysts that helped though. When I was a young kid growing up in South Africa, I came across a landscape book titled "The Canadian Rockies" The photos really made an impression on me especially the one of Mt. Assiniboine. From that point on, I knew that I needed to check out the Rockies. My family immigrated to the flat lands of Ontario. I awkwardly began skiing on the humps and bumps in a vertically challenged province and fell in love with skiing. One thing led to another and I started ski instructing and guiding wilderness canoe trips. I developed a passion for the outdoors, skiing and people. I new what I wanted to but didn't know how to get there. Dropping out of university to teach skiing in Whistler was the best decision I made. Everything has flowed seemlessly and and things are better than I could have imagined. Still a couple of exams to go and I will follow my newest passion. Plumbing.....
JC: Dani, why CMH? What was it that attracted you to CMH Heli-Skiing?
DL: Ever since I first heard about CMH I knew it was the best organization that I could work with. The longest history, vast terrain and most cumulatively experienced guide teams that a keen newbie could be lucky enough to work with. I am also fascinated by CMH's rich history of persistance, characters and lessons both good and bad. Super grateful to some key people that gave me the opportunity to work with CMH.
JC: As far as CMH Heli-Ski guides, you’re kindof the New Kid on The Block. How does it feel to be working in the company of legends like Kiwi Gallagher, Bob Geber, Roko Koell and Kobi Wyss?
DL: Being new to CMH and relatively green to guiding I landed with my ass in the butter. To work alongside some of the wisest goats around is a massive privilige and I owe a huge thanks to those characters that have offered wisdom and guidance. I have learnt tons from these characters. Some of the greatest lessons were those that I observed. The long standing passion and respect that these folks have is obvious and provides a great deal of learning for me.
JC: What advice would you offer to a first-time Heli-Skiier?
DL: If there was one piece of advice that I could offer to first time heli skiers it would be to Relax and Breathe. Trusting that their experience will be a good one will make the learning curve much more enjoyable and relaxing. It is so great watching folks enjoy the process of getting accustomed to the mountain environment and heli skiing. If it is too hard to relax than just breathe! Everything will work out.
JC: What is on your wish list this Christmas?
DL: My wish list is pretty simple: Snow, Snow, Snow.
Photo: Heli-Skiing CMH Bugaboos, Route 66 - Dani's home turf.