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Rapt In Awe


by David Barry, CEO, CMH Heli-Skiing & Summer Adventures

Rapt in Awe by Andrew Wexler

“He who can no longer wonder and stand rapt in awe, his eyes are closed”   - Albert Einstein

After five weeks in the field Einstein’s quote seems to perfectly capture the natural beauty of the Columbia Mountain ranges and the CMH experience. In my many conversations with guests a common theme has come to light. As the first decade of the 21st century concludes, curiosity abounds about the future of skiing.

What will the next decade bring?

To quote Steve Martin…we live in “a wild and crazy” time. Everyday we become more and more capable of doing just about anything we want. And the more our options and capabilities increase, the more difficult it becomes to decide what is worth doing. Bigger skis, faster lifts, top-to-bottom terrain parks, clothes that breathe, gloves that heat, HD helmet cams, more comfortable boots, smart phones that follow you around the mountain – all of these are possible today. Seems to me the world of skiing will continue to evolve dramatically in the next ten years. Which of these inventions will make or break the future of skiing? Or is it something else altogether?

Skiing is, always has been, and always will be, an adventure in lifestyle. The experiences we have, the people we have them with and the memories we create - on the glaciers, in the trees, in the lodges, gathered around a bonfire at night, standing at the landing “rapt in awe” at the top of the world – these are the suns around which the universe of skiing revolves. And, as we head into the next decade, we are reminded once again that the more things change the more they stay the same.

They tell me that the universe is expanding. But to me it seems like it gets smaller everyday. The Hubble telescope beams back pictures from hundreds of million of light years away. Planes carry us swiftly to destinations it took our ancestors months to reach. E-mail arrives in Banff eight hours before it was sent from Paris. And, my friends and I play host to guests from around the world, all of whom we come to know better and better every day. Our “customers” stopped being customers long ago – they are guests, our guests. And, as with any guest, our opportunity to treat them to the experience they want is contingent on our knowledge of, and relationship with them. Authentic; honest, complete with warts and blemishes, rolled up with a passion for skiing and the mountains we love.

New technology and hard and soft goods improvements will all serve to enhance the skiing experience. We will all benefit from these developments.

More importantly though, at CMH we believe our success is tied to:

  • Knowing and communicating with our guests on a personal level.
  • Treating our guests to a personal, “backstage pass”, mountain experience.
  • Creating and maintaining a familial, caring, “be there” staff.
  • Operating soundly as a business while projecting, living and sharing a lifestyle.
  • Understanding that our product is the experience and the memories it creates.

The future is staring us squarely in the eyes. Hopefully we will be willing to stand “rapt in awe”, to keep our eyes open, to keep our ears open, to listen to, learn from and communicate with our guests.

Skiing is a magical feeling; floating, weightless, blessed with speed and the benefit of gravity, we are flying with only a surface of untracked snow ahead of us, surrounded by beauty.

Skiing is not recreation, it is re-creation.

Photo: Bugaboo Spires by Andrew Wexler


This is very well writen. You acheived the transmition of not only the image we capture in our minds when we ski, but the feeling we get in our heart from doing it. Skiing is such a wonderful passion that brings good folks together creating experiences to treasure for ever. CMH does captures that and excels in creating these memories for their skiers. I am gratefull for experencing a couple of those myself. 
Thank you. Marie-France Lessor
Posted @ Saturday, January 01, 2011 10:17 PM by Marie-France Lessor
Interesting thoughts, lovely descriptions, good message--well done. Thanks.
Posted @ Monday, January 03, 2011 10:39 AM by Richard Phipps
It's hard to put into words the feeling that CMH envokes - the "family" feeling you get from staff and strangers alike and when those strangers become your friends in those wide open snowy spaces. Nicely written David.
Posted @ Thursday, January 06, 2011 10:30 AM by Becky
Well said!! Friendships initiated on a CMH experience often have the potential to be live long!! The experience can be that awe-inspiring.
Posted @ Thursday, January 06, 2011 8:20 PM by Ted Ritota
"Life long" (not live long).
Posted @ Thursday, January 06, 2011 8:22 PM by Ted Ritota
Great words. Read this just now while training in Kona for a week in the Gothics. First remote lodge experience after 25+ years skiing Kootenay and Revelstoke where I met two lifelong friends. We get together at CMH and elsewhere.
Posted @ Thursday, January 06, 2011 8:28 PM by Chuck Marsh
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