The Joy of 2 Million Vertical Feet of Heli-Skiing in Kootenay
Earlier this month Barb Fackelmayer, CMH's Project Coordinator had the chance to ski a few days at CMH Kootenay. She picked a good week to go, as long-time Kootenay skier Baur Whittlesey was due to hit 2 million vertical feet of heli-skiing with CMH and there was a festive atmosphere and fantastic snow conditions. After the trip, Barb caught up with Baur to dig into his Kootenay history.
BF: Baur, I was fascinated to learn that you’ve been skiing at CMH Kootenay since 1997. What is it that keeps drawing you back to Kootenay?
BW: There are four things that keep drawing me back to Kootenay:
- The terrain – Kootenay has everything from beautiful glacier skiing to steep and deep trees, and everything in between. There is so much to choose from! Every year I go to Kootenay and ski something new. This year we skied the Smokey Mountains, Pirate and a new section on the Mob Creek.
- The Guides – Kootenay has continuity of guides. I know them and I trust them. They always seem to pick out the best line for the entire group. They are caring, attentive and genuinely nice people.
- The Staff – When I go to Kootenay it’s like coming home in a way. Rob Whelan, Ken France, Cheryl, Maureen and many other staff have been there for years and it is like a family reunion when I come back each year. A big part of the annual heli-skiing vacation is knowing you can come and relax and be taken care of by such wonderful people.
- Every year I meet new people and they make up part of the experience that is Kootenay.
BF: What brought you to Kootenay in 1997?
BW: My wife gave me a birthday present for my 50th – it said “50,000 feet for your 50th”. She gave me a 5 day trip to Kootenay and it was the best gift ever. I have been skiing since I was 8 years old but never really thought I could justify the cost of heli-skiing. When my wife gave me permission to go – well, the rest is history.
Heli-skiing is such a wonderful indulgence and I look forward to it every year. Skiing at Kootenay is like Shangri-la – a permanently happy land, isolated from the outside world.
BF: It was such a thrill to ski with you last week in Kootenay and to see you hit 2 million vertical feet! How did it feel to hit that milestone?
BW: It was a wonderful feeling and done on such a beautiful day. Wow, I really did this!!
It was fascinating – everybody made it so special. Every part of the day was special including the pretend bubbly at lunch, Mikey, Patrick and Dan being there to congratulate me, and Rob and Mikey’s speeches at dinner time. It was a special occasion because I reached a goal that relatively few people do.
BF: How do you like the new suit?!
BW: Unbelievable – even better than the 1 million foot suit!
To learn more about the first loyalty program in the business, call a CMH Heli-Skiing Expert today at 1.800.661.0252.