CMH Heli-Skiing is a team and family that includes the guests and guides, staff and support, first timers and veterans. Liz Richardson, the Guest Services Coordinator at CMH Revelstoke and a newcomer to the CMH family has been learning what CMH is all about. She shared her perspective on Heli-Skiing after spending a day out with the guides during the making of the early season Revelstoke video. With a wide-open beginner’s mind (although she’s no beginner on skis) she has an incredible perspective on snow riding, the powder paradise of Revelstoke, and CMH Heli-Skiing.
TD: I hear you’ve spent some time running gates and skiing around the world. Can you fill me in on your ski career?
LR: Yes, I was a ski racer, way back now. I grew up skiing and racing in Panorama BC, which is well-known for long groomers and generally hard icy snow. A great place to become a well-established racer but a long way from the deep powder Revelstoke is known for. I competed up until 2002 with the BC Team and the Canadian National Team.
After ending my race career and finishing my degree, I drove from B.C. to Panama and fell in love with surfing, eventually spending six years in New Zealand where I surfed everyday there was a wave. The Deep South of NZ captivated me. The cold, raw surfing was one of the only challenges in my life that rivaled skiing; it filled the void for a continuous challenge and adrenaline that was left when I quit ski racing. I moved to Revelstoke for friends and family – and because the skiing is amazing. Things naturally fell into place, and I ended up as the Guest Services Coordinator with CMH Revelstoke.
TD: Can you share a little on your philosophy on life and skiing after so much racing and travel?
LR: My philosophy is to take time to do what you love with who you love. To fully embrace life you must embrace every bit of it. Ups and downs all have their place, feel it all and roll with the terrain, trust your instincts and act on those instincts.
TD: What was it like, your first time out with the CMH guides?
LR: Within my first month back in Canada, after 7 years away from skiing, I find myself heli-skiing with three CMH guides and a cinematographer....it was surreal. (Read more on the day with the cinematographer.) They took me through the beacon safety training, etc., but it wasn't until I was sitting down and the helicopter fired up that I became overwhelmed with excitement. I was rubbing my hands together like a greedy thief who had just come across a stash of gold. Although I felt a bit of trepidation about how my legs would hold out and where we were going, the guides immediately made me feel at home and well taken care of.
The guides are such a great gang to hang out with, always up for a laugh and each and everyone is a genuine character. Then you witness them out in the field and they become so focused. The level of comfort and knowledge they have is exceptional and it was privilege to see them in action setting up for the season.
TD: Did you quickly feel like part of the team, or does it take more time to fit in with such a group?
LR: One thing that is so unique about the CMH Heli-Skiing experience is how quickly a bond of trust and friendship is formed with the guides and group you are skiing with. I think it is rare to form this sort of relationship so quickly with people. Even though this is daily life for the guides they were genuinely stoked to get me up in the mountains and share that experience. This bond is something that our long time CMH guests understand and a big reason why they return. This bond is something new guests are not expecting and something that cannot be fully understood without coming here.
TD: How did your first day of Heli-Skiing change your view of what CMH is all about?
LR: One thing that I was well aware of before coming to work with CMH is their history and reputation of being one of the biggest and best heli-ski companies in the world. My view of CMH has not changed but has been confirmed and strengthened. This is one of the most comprehensive, safety-focused and passionate companies in the business. And it is obvious. A prominent theme among the CMH guides is their loyalty to their guests. I have heard so many great things about the CMH guests in the pre-season meetings and set ups that I can't wait to meet them. It is obvious that the guests are the key reason why CMH takes so much pride in the business and why CMH employees are so dedicated to the CMH experience.
TD: How do you think the riding around Revelstoke compares to other places you've been?
LR: I grew up on ski hills around the Kootenays. To me the epic snow, mountain atmosphere and endless terrain is just normal. It wasn't until I travelled around the world with ski racing and my other travels that I realized what we have here in the Kootenays. Revelstoke has developed into the symbolic heart of this culture. My brother, from nearby Nelson, reassured me that I would meet so many solid people and wouldn't regret the decision of moving here (I may have been a bit hesitant to leave the waves so needed some encouragement). My brother was bang on.
In regards to the skiing, Revelstoke really has it all. It is accessible, abundant and diverse. As one of my good friends quoted my first day skiing, "Revelstoke is not a lazy man's mountain" and she was right. The Revelstoke terrain in general is steep, deep and makes you work. The skiing here can be as challenging as you make it, which is why I think you find such a concentration of accomplished riders here. It allows these skiers to take on the next challenge with a network of people around them who they can trust.
TD: As Guest Services Coordinator, what is your goal for this winter?
LR: I am so excited to be taking on the GSC position with CMH Revelstoke! I can't wait to meet our guests! I have several main goals for this winter:
First, listen and learn.
Second, assist the guests and CMH team with anything they may require. Erin Fiddick, the last RE Guest Services Coordinator, is a real gem. She formed strong relationships with many CMH guests and put her heart into the position. I intend to do her justice by working to strengthen these relationships and continue her momentum.
Third, I hope to enhance the Revelstoke guest experience by providing them a direct link between CMH, their travels and other external factors. Our guests come from near and far to reach us here in Revelstoke. There are many unexpected things that can pop up. My job is to identify and manage these things so our guests can focus on what they came to do: ride.
Finally, I hope to take a page out of our guest’s book: have tons of fun, ski and enjoy life in Revelstoke and with CMH!
Meet Liz in Revelstoke and join the CMH family this winter by calling 1-(800) 661-0252 and find out why CMH is the first choice among veteran and first time Heli-Skiers.
Photo of Liz Richardson ripping it up on her first day Heli-Skiing by CMH guide Kevin Boekholt.