The Adventure

Erik Weihenmayer auction features CMH Summer Adventure

Posted by Topher Donahue on Thu, Jan 24, 2013

Last weekend Erik Weihenmayer, the famous blind adventurer who has summited the highest peak on each of the seven continents, held a fund-raising “Dinner in the Dark” and auction at the Hotel Madeline at Telluride’s Mountain Village in Colorado. CMH Summer Adventures generously donated an auction item, a deluxe trip for two to either the Bobbie Burns or the Bugaboos in the wilds of Western Canada during the summer of 2013.

Proceeds from the event go to support No Barriers, a non-profit organization that helps handicapped individuals, including soldiers injured in recent conflict, get out and experience life-affirming adventures ranging from skiing, to climbing, to hiking and mountain biking.

telluride Erik Weihenmayr

I attended the event to present the CMH Summer Adventure; little did I know that Dinner in the Dark with Erik would be the most powerful dining experience I’ve ever had.

To begin, we were led by our hosts, some of whom were blind themselves, into a dark room. And I mean dark. The kind of darkness where you can’t see your hand in front of your face.

Instantly, all of my trust landed squarely on the shoulder of the person in front of me. This woman, who a mintue earlier was was a total stranger, became my best friend. My hand on her shoulder became my eyes. I became aware of the texture of her shirt, of the sounds of other guests finding their tables around us, the sensation of man behind me gripping my shoulder harder as we walked slowly into the blackness of the dining room. Finding our seats went surprisingly smoothly, and soon we were all exploring the plate of savory food layed out in front of each of us.

Erik announced the menu, a selection of foods to stimulate both taste and touch. Sushi rolls, lamb chops, salad and scallops were arranged carefully on everyone’s plate. A glass of wine was within reach.

Fingers quickly became the utensil of choice and my napkin quickly became messier than my plate. I tried using my fork, but after three empty forks in a row, I went back to using my fingers.
    “I think I’m using my skirt as a napkin.” said one woman.
    “I think I’m using your skirt as a napkin too!” joked the man sitting next to her.

Dinner conversation proceeded happily, and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves immensely.  After everyone had time to eat, the lights came on on slowly and we all looked around, blinking and enjoying our restored vision. A few glasses of wine had been spilled, but nobody was complaining. It was the kind of experience we’ll all remember for the rest of our lives.

“For you, that was Dinner in the Dark,” said Erik, “For me it was just dinner.”

Then he went on to give a riveting presentation of his experiences and insight into people breaking their own barriers.  Soldiers who had lost most of all their limbs exploring the wilderness, paraplegics climbing big walls, Erik climbing the Seven Summits and kayaking - all accompanied by Erik’s brilliant and humorous narration.

Perhaps it was the mood of the audience after Dinner in the Dark. Perhaps it was the spectacular setting of Telluride, Colorado. Or perhaps it was the promise of a CMH Summer Adventure giving people a chance to have a wilderness experience that is comfortable while being adventurous, remote while being accessible, and as thrilling or as relaxing as you want it to be. Whatever the reason, the CMH Summer Adventure raised more money for No Barriers than anything else on the auction list.

In the end I was struck by the feeling that mountain adventure gives each person just exactly the right experience. For Erik, it gave him a chance to live life to its fullest and help others to do the same. For guests of CMH Summer Adventures it gives them a chance to be in the heart of the wilderness without the commitment or fitness required for most remote mountain adventures.

bugaboos in the dark

Here at CMH Summer Adventures we're honored to have been invited to be a part of the No Barriers program, and excited to host the auction winners at the Bobbie Burns Lodge or the Bugaboo Lodge this coming summer.
Photos of Telluride, Colorado in the light, and the Bugaboos, British Columbia in the dark by Topher Donahue.

Tags: Adventure Travel, Bobbie Burns Lodge, heli-hiking, Western Canada CMH Summer Adventures, Bugaboo Lodge, British Columbia

CMH Summer Adventures' guest satisfaction rating nears 100

Posted by Topher Donahue on Thu, Oct 11, 2012

At the end of each summer, we look back and take careful note of how our guests tell us we’re doing.  In fact, that’s how we design our programs in the first place.

This year, if there is one emotion to describe how CMH Summer Adventures guests tell us they feel, it would have to be this: satisfaction

From the informal feedback we get while sitting around the dinner table with our guests after a gourmet meal, to our feedback cards where guest can rate their experience with us, to online forums like TripAdvisor where gusts review and rate their travel experiences of all kinds - the conclusion is obvious - our guests are satisfied. 

The Net Promoter Score (NPS), an industry-wide customer satisfaction benchmark, asks the simple question: How likely is it that you would recommend (the company) to a friend or colleague?

The average NPS score in the tourism industry is 74 out of a possible 100.  Last summer in the Bugaboos, our NPS was 97.  Of course numbers don’t tell the whole story, but we’re particularly proud of that one. 

satisfied couple

The direct feedback from some of our guests is perhaps the most telling:

“My favorite thing was that the entire experience exceeded all my expectations.  That may not sound like much but I had done loads of research, talked to lots of people, devoured the web-site, etc and I had very very high expectations for trip (in some ways, almost guaranteeing that I would be disappointed because I was so "psyched" about how cool this trip was going to be).  To my delight and astonishment, the trip exceeded all my expectations despite how huge my expectations were going in!  I remember walking into the lodge after our last hike on the last day, almost with tears in my eyes, and telling Nina that "I'd rather do this than spend a week in Paris" (my favorite place in the world).  The other favorite thing was that everybody was first class and professional, be it the incredible guides, the pilots, or the lodge staff.  I described it as ‘the Nordstrom’s of hiking’.”

“When I first decided to take a trip to Bugaboo Lodge I was warned that it leaves a permanent imprint, and I now understand what that means. It took a while for the experience to fully sink in, but I do know how glad I am that I went, and I want to let others know about this "hidden" treasure.   The memory I'll alway savour is sitting in the rooftop hot tub with friends after an exhilarating day of hiking, holding a cool drink, overlooking one of the most spectacular scenery I've ever experienced and watching a gorgeous sunset.  Life doesn't get much better.”

best hot tub view
“All the meals were outstanding.   I was blown away by the family atmosphere at the dinner table, and our guide made us feel so welcome.   Every morsel was spectacular, but if I had to choose a favourite meal, I'd point to the scallops -- they were sublime.”
“The unexpected thing was the value of the guides - not only for the obvious reason of knowing the trails and where to go but for completely putting everyone at ease.  For the first time in my life, I was able to hike without any cares - I didn't have to worry about weather, food, safety, time of day, animals, etc.  That was an incredible gift and made it so much easier to relax quickly and enjoy each day.  I think this was even more true for my wife who is more of a worrier, she had an incredible time and never had to worry about logistics or safety.”

And one of many rave reviews from the TripAdvisor website:

“We just returned from the best vacation experience ever! We do a lot of traveling but this was the best experience ever! From the booking process ( flawless ), accommodation (this was my idea of roughing it-soft bed,hot shower and private rooms!), food (5 star Boston restaurants are not as good as the food here!) , the people(outstanding) and the outrageously fun hiking via the via ferrata and the Conrad Glacier!”

To summarize the experience of CMH Summer Adventures is difficult, for the very reason that it is different for everyone.  We like to make everyone’s trip exactly what they want it to be.  If our report card from this summer is any indication, we’re doing just that, and our guests are going home having had their own, personal, perfect vacation.

We’re sad to see the summer slip into fall, as beautiful as every season is here in the mountains, but we’re thrilled to have been able to be a satisfying part of so many people’s favourite summer adventure.

Tags: heli-hiking, Western Canada CMH Summer Adventures, CMH Summer Adventures, Bugaboo Lodge, hiking, adventure

What kind of boat is like a helicopter?

Posted by Topher Donahue on Thu, Aug 09, 2012

Let’s say you want to explore the islands.  So you go on a cruise.  The ship is comfortable, but when you get to the islands, all you can do is look at them from the deck of the ship, or visit the port where a cruise ship can dock. For this reason, a cruise ship is more like a passenger jet, albeit a huge and luxurious one. 

To really experience the islands, you need something smaller, more maneuverable, that can take you into the secluded bays, near the natural wonders of the islands, safely navigate shallow water, and land you on the most pristine beaches.

dream beach

The best boat for exploring the islands is, without a doubt, the Zodiac.  The rigid inflatable boat allows for safe passage in rough water, easy maneuverability to reach the trickiest beaches, no hull hanging into the water to hit ground, and powerful enough to get back to the ship against the tide or swell. 

The helicopter is to the mountains what the Zodiac is to the seas.  It gets you right where you want to be, easier than any other machine. All it needs to land safely is a space the size of the helicopter.  

During CMH Summer Adventures, we use a twin-engine Bell 212 helicopter, called the safest helicopter ever made, each morning to transport you and your friends and guide to your destination for the day, and to return you to the lodge at the end of a great hike, climb, glacier trek, photography session, nap, picnic, or whatever is your ideal day in the mountains. 

helicopter fun

The ride isn’t like a cruise ship, but neither is it like a jet ski.  Somewhere in between the two, the helicopter is designed to be the most versatile, maneuverable method of air transportation.

For many CMH guests, some of the highlights of the trip are the helicopter rides.  The helicopter flies slow enough to really see the terrain as you pass by, and low enough that you are often just below the summits of the highest peaks while still above the glaciers and valleys.  

This low-altitude perspective is truly a bird’s eye view.  In an airplane you gain so much altitude so quickly that even the most striking geography looks flat.  In a helicopter you fly along the valleys, looking up to see the summits, gazing into the forrest below where sometimes a moose or bear can be seen peering up at the strange mechanical bird.

helicopter view

The photographic perspective out the window is alone worth the price of admission and, surrounded by windows, every passenger in the helicopter gets a fantastic view.  Make sure when you take photos from the helicopter (or a plane for that matter) that you remember the following techniques:

  • Use a high shutter speed - ideally 1000 or faster - to compensate for the vibration of the machine.
  • Put the camera near the window to minimize glare off the plexiglass.
  • Don’t touch the window with the camera because the vibration is much greater when the camera is touching the machine.
  • Turn off the flash when shooting out the window to avoid the reflection of the flash.
  • Set up your camera before you get in the machine so you’ll be ready when the flight is underway.
  • Use the flash when shooting your family or friends inside the machine - the bright mountain sun outside will trick your camera even if it is not pointed out the window.helicopter photography

During a 3-day CMH Summer Adventure, thanks to the helicopter, most of our guests will see more mountain splendor than they have in the rest of their lives put together.

That’s why a helicopter is the the Zodiac of the skies.  Visit Hawaii and only use an airplane, and you’ll see Maui and some nice beaches.  Visit Hawaii and take a tour with a Zodiac and you’ll see some the most pristine island destinations on the planet.  

Visit Western Canada with a plane, bus or a car and you’ll see a few famous views.  Visit Western Canada with CMH Summer Adventures and you’ll get a world-class tour of a sublime alpine world very few people have ever laid eyes upon.

Photography by Topher Donahue.

Tags: Adventure Travel, heli-hiking, helicopters, adventure

Six Favourite Climbs in the Bugaboos

Posted by Topher Donahue on Thu, Jul 19, 2012

There are a few mountains and ranges on this planet that are so compelling as to be almost beyond belief.  The Fitzroy Range in Patagonia.  The Tetons in Wyoming.  The Matterhorn in Switzerland.  Half Dome in Yosemite.  The Karakoram in Pakistan.  The Bugaboos in British Columbia. 

It doesn’t really matter how one visits these areas - be it by car, bus, boat, plane, helicopter, foot or bicycle, hiking or climbing - it’s all (better than) good.

There are others as well, but these half a dozen mountain ranges are in many ways the crown jewels of topography on planet Earth.  At CMH Summer Adventures we consider ourselves extremely lucky to be able to explore in and around one of these jewels: the Bugaboos. 

After a rock climbing adventure in the Bugaboos, I stopped by the CMH Bugaboos Lodge and talked with a group of heli-hikers twice my age who had just spent a couple of glorious days on comfortable hikes along low-angled ridges and between turquoise lakes with postcard views of the Bugaboo Spires while heli-hiking with CMH Summer Adventures. 

We compared notes: 

  • They did things they didn’t believe were possible for them; I did things I didn’t believe were possible for me. 
  • They stepped onto summits looking over vistas of fairytale mountains; I stood on summits and looked around at the kinds of mountains climber’s dreams are made of.
  • They had a few of the best days of their lives; I had a few of the best days of mine.

In the end, we realized the mountain experience is the same for everyone - we just all find it in different places.  It’s one of the things that makes mountain sport so special - anyone can do it.  And of all the planet's alpine crown jewels, the Bugaboos is certainly the best suited for everyone to experience.*

With this fact in mind, here are six of my favourite technical climbs in the Bugaboos, places where I’ve spent the best days of my life.  As you look at the following photos remember that the Bugaboos has something to offer everyone and can make climbers, hikers and sightseers feel the same euphoria and elation that I felt during and after climbing on these beautiful spires. 

The West Face of the North Howser Tower:

west face howser

As the biggest wall in the Bugaboos, the West Face of the North Howser Tower is about a thousand metres tall, the same height as Yosemite’s famed El Capitan, but in an alpine setting.  Climbs are mostly 5.11 or 5.12 in didfficulty, and both long and extremely committing.  Of course, just looking at the peak is a complete mountain experience.

West Ridge of Pigeon Spire:

west ridge pigeon spire

One of the best rock climbs in the world, and at a moderate grade of 5.4, anyone who can climb can do the West Ridge of Pigeon.  In this photo, a climber in yellow near the summit is dwarfed by the massive peak.

The West Face of Snowpatch Spire:

furry pink bugaboos

The West Face of Snowpatch Spire gets high marks, not so much for the superior climbing but for the outrageous position overlooking the rest of the Bugaboo Spires, views down both the Vowell Glacier and Bugaboo Glacier, and an incomparable pointed summit to complete the ascent. 

Crescent Spire:

energy crisis bugaboos

One of the least committing climbing objectives in the Bugaboos, Crescent Spire, offers a climbing option for everyone, from 5.4 to  5.12.  Here, a climber stretches for the safety of a gear placement on Energy Crisis, a sustained 5.11 that follows a clean corner for 70 metres. 

The East Face of Snowpatch Spire:

snowpatch east face

Arguably made of the most beautiful stone in the world, the East Face of Snowpatch is worth hiking underneath just to stare upward at the black and white streaked rock framed against the blue sky and the white glacier.  If I could have a house that looked like a mountain, this would be it.

The East Face of Snafflehound Spire:

Snafflehound spire bugaboos

A lesser known and rarely visited spire in the Vowell Range just north of the main Bugaboos Group, the smooth East Face of Snafflehound Spire is home to the cleanest cracks I’ve ever seen.  Unfortunately many of the lines are not continuous to enough to make for climbs of reasonable difficulty, but our ascent of the face may have been the first 5.13 in the Bugaboos.

For those of you who are not familiar with climbing ratings, the “5” indicates that the climb is 5th class - meaning a rope and protection devices are usually used to secure the climbers in case of a fall.  The number following the decimal point, like the “10” in 5.10, gives climbers a subjective idea of how difficult the gymnastics of the ascent may be.  In the mountains, the grading can be viewed like this: 

  • 5.1-5.5 is considered beginner terrain
  • 5.6-5.8 is considered intermediate terrain
  • 5.9-5.11 is considered advanced terrain
  • 5.12-5.13 is considered extremely difficult terrain. 
  • The world’s most elite climbs are 5.14-5.15, but no climbs of this difficulty have yet been climbed in alpine environments like the Bugaboos. 

*The Bugaboos are the most suited for everyone thanks to CMH Summer Adventures with their unique helicopter access and diverse holiday programs for all ages and abilities in the area surrounding Bugaboo Glacier Provincial Park

Tags: heli-hiking, Bugaboos, Canada, climbing, photos

New glacier hike ready to rock

Posted by Angela Widmer on Tue, Jul 10, 2012

Summer has officially begun at CMH.  Both Bobbie Burns and the Bugaboo Lodges are geared up and ready to rock this summer. Speaking of rock – Dave Cochrane and guides in the Bugaboos are excited to offer a brand new glacier hike based out of the Bugaboo lodge. This stunning trek allows hikers to get up close and personal with the world famous granite spires that dominate the view from the lodge.  Guests will fly by helicopter to the boundary of Bugaboo Provincial Park where they will unload and prepare for an epic hiking adventure right into the heart of the park. Traveling across a blanketed glacier and winding beneath towering granite rock spires, the day is accompanied by unmatched panoramic views. The spires and surrounding glaciers that carved them out are a geological marvel, making this hike a mind-blowing experience.

Finishing up the last of "lodge training" this week, CMH staff were able to experience this hike first hand.  Exhilarated from the day, one of our returning lodge staff said, “This is one of the most amazing hikes I have ever experienced. Spending a day exploring the glacier and wandering beneath these peaks, it was as if I was a privileged guest in Mother Nature’s most magnificent Cathedral. Those towering spires left me completely breathless and awestruck. You really have to experience it to understand how overwhelmingly powerful it is. I will never forget today.” Check out this picture and more photos, taken by CMH guide Lyle Grisdale. 

CMH staff in Pernicular Pass 

CMH Bugaboos: CMH staff taking a break on a Bugaboos glacier walk in Pernicular Pass. The two towers are located in Pernicular Pass. July 8, 2012. Photo credit: Lyle Grisdale

This guided hike requires no previous experience, just a descent level of fitness for a day of solid hiking. With the Bobbie Burns already welcoming guests and the Bugaboos first trip beginning on July 12, there is still time to add this adventure into your summer schedule. Don’t miss your chance to explore these amazing mountains.  Our guides are really excited to share the amazing new areas they have scoped out. When they are jazzed up, you know it will be an amazing summer.

For more information or questions about an exciting summer adventure trip, visit our website or contact CMH Reservations at 1-(800) 661-0252 to book your space.

Tags: Adventure Travel, heli-hiking, Bugaboos, Bugaboo, Staff, CMH Summer Adventures, Bugaboo Lodge, hiking

How a 97-year-old grandmother inspired the birth of heli-hiking

Posted by Topher Donahue on Tue, Jul 10, 2012

In 1978, a bus tour operator named Arthur Tauck, who had joined CMH in the winter for helicopter skiing, realized a summertime tour of the same remote part of the Canadian Rockies, with easy helicopter access, comfortable lodging, and first-rate cuisine might appeal wonderfully to his elderly guests on bus tours.

helihiking bugaboos history

In 2001, CMH produced a coffee-table photo book titled, “Heli-Hiking and Mountaineering” in which Tauck penned an intro that reveals much about the sublime world of heli-hiking, his vision for its origin, and why heli-hiking is so ideal for older guests. 

Besides the obvious beauty of the remote mountains he'd seen while skiing, Tauck was curious how he might be able to take tours to other places besides the more popular Canadian Rockies tourist destinations.  He wrote:

“There was another question in my mind, too: would the senior citizens we cater to appreciate a mountain program given the frailties of age?

"Coincidentally, about the same time, I happened to visit my wife’s ailing grandmother, who was in a home living out her waning days.  It was a sad visit.  She was failing fast.  Among her last words to me were, ‘Arthur, inside this baggy old body of bones, I’m still 25.'  I cried, and later realized she had answered one of my questions.

"We had always designed tours around out perception of our elderly clientele’s  physical limitations.  Maybe that was a mistake.  My grandmother-in-law convinced me that we should let our clients determine their own limitations.  We should design tours that would engage their spirit and tenacity, that would leave them with renewed pride in themselves.

"I tracked down this guy Hans Gmoser (founder of Canadian Mountain Holidays).  I wanted to talk to him about my idea of introducing my clients to his lodges and letting them partake of the magic and purity of an alpine experience geared to their wishes and capabilities.  I envisioned a program like Hans’ heli-skiing where each day guests are divided by ability and heli-lifted to four or five different venues they could explore with a guide."

bugaboos lodge helicopter hike

Tauck gave CMH a call, and heli-hiking was born.  (Above, an early heli-hiking group prepares for liftoff from the Bugaboo Lodge.) It worked perfectly.  For decades Tauck Tours included a CMH heli-hiking segment during bus tours of the Canadian Rockies with elderly travelers. Tauck concluded: 

“The result was  a renewed sense of pride.  They met the challenge of satisfying their inner spirit at a time in their lives when they were beginning to accept the more sedentary life that comes with age.  It was a joy to watch them fanny-slide down snowy slopes, frolic like kids with snowballs in the midst of summer, and push themselves along ridge lines and up the slopes far above timber.  They learned about the flora, fauna, and the power of glaciation.  They embraced the mountain environment... and they bonded with one another and wished they could adopt the CMH staff that made it all possible. 

"Then, upon departure, while waiting for the helicopter to return them to reality, I would witness reflection, sometimes tearful.  Maybe it was about their accomplishments and the fact that they may never have such an experience again.

"I too, have found myself with moist eyes seeing their emotion.  I realized Hans and I were the authors of an experience that enhanced and sometimes changed the lives of many.

"We have watched, awestruck, amputees navigate the meadows and the glaciers.  We have seen the more fit eagerly reach out to embrace the challenges of mountaineering.  And we have witnessed families unite with teenagers, parents and grandparents, each at their own level of participation, but each sharing the same emotion.

"My original goal of creating Heli-Hiking to take advantage of added rooms in the Rockies for financial gain has long since faded in importance.  As it turned out, my personal gain is the realization that Heli-Hiking has rekindled the dreams that reside inside so many of us.  My only regret is that my wife’s 97-year-old grandmother never had a chance to live the experience she inspired.  God bless her.”

heli hiking wheelchair access

Since then, CMH Summer Adventures has hosted seniors, kids, world-class athletes, handicapped travelers (shown above in a wheelchair on Grizzly Ridge near the Bugaboos), families, famous mountaineers, and everyone in between.  CMH Summer Adventure programs have diversified to include safe-but-thrilling adventures for adrenaline-seekers, photo workshops and family adventures, but perhaps the most incomparable value in CMH Summer Adventures is still heli-hiking for elderly travelers who can experience Mr. Tauck's vision of engaging their spirit and tenacity once again and leave with renewed pride in themselves.

Photos courtesy Canadian Mountain Holidays archives.

Tags: seniors, Adventure Travel, heli-hiking, Canadian Rockies, Canada, Family Travel, High Flying Adventure, Western Canada CMH Summer Adventures

The world's most comfortable adventure?

Posted by Topher Donahue on Tue, Jul 03, 2012

REI Adventures describes a stay with CMH like this: “...a high mountain adventure of helicopter rides and spectacular encounters with nature, combined with private rooms in remote, alpine lodges and fantastic food.”

comfortable alpine adventure

Indeed, there are few outings in the adventure travel world that combine such lofty adventures with such comfortable and relaxing hospitality.  By day you can explore pristine alpine areas, under the watchful eye of an experienced mountain guide, where you can’t find even a single human footprint, trail, or road - and by night you can relax in a hot tub overlooking paradise of the wilderness kind. 

heli hiking splendorThen the next day you can be lifted by a Bell 212 helicopter, known as the safest helicopter ever made, to a place that would be among the most photographed viewpoints on earth if there was a road to get there.  From there, you can wander across tundra overlooking white glaciers, steep black mountains, and enjoy a lunch where the only difficulty is deciding which way to sit to take in what part of the 360-degree panorama.

That night you’ll enjoy a massage, a gourmet meal shared with knowledgable mountain guides,  and a fine bottle of wine. 

When it’s time to leave the Lodge, you’ll be happy if you’re one of the lucky ones who booked the Lodge-to-Lodge adventure, because while the rest of the group is going back to the real world, you’ll hike across an easy ridge and the CMH wizards of logistics will take the rest of your travel kit, suitcases, and clothing to the neighboring CMH Lodge

That night you’ll be comfortably at home in a different lodge, with a different world-class view, but the same hospitality and incomparable wilderness comfort of CMH Summer Adventures.  The CMH Lodges were built to provide easy and comfortable access to some of the most difficult to access mountains in North America. 

Imagine Yosemite with only a couple dozen people in the entire park or the Tetons where the nearest paved road was 50 kilometres away.  Then imagine a comfortable lodge that feels more like home than a hotel, with a staff that is passionate about adventure, hospitality, and wilderness.  Combine the two visions and you'll just begin to understand the CMH flavor of wilderness adventure.

spa with a view

Upon waking in the morning, it will be as if you are in your own personal National or Provincial Park - the second in less than a week.  Mountain guides will accompany you on relaxing adventures (or tough hikes, climbs, or Via Ferrata ascents if you prefer) and share their vast knowledge of the geology, glaciology, and ecology of the area - as well as keep your holiday safe, easy and stress free.comfortable alpine lodge

Most of the world’s travel options that provide the kind of adventure found with CMH Summer Adventures require weeks rather than days, athletic fitness rather than everyday walking ability, and third world travel logistics and complications rather than a short flight to Calgary and exemplary service that allows you to just relax and enjoy yourself. 

In fact, here’s a challenge: does anyone out there know of anywhere else on earth that offers both adventure and comfort equal to CMH Summer Adventures?

Photos by Topher Donahue and Andrea Johnson.

Tags: Adventure Travel, heli-hiking, Canada, Western Canada CMH Summer Adventures, comfort

Adventure travel lodges - a photo essay

Posted by Topher Donahue on Thu, Jun 28, 2012

Some of the most famous lodging in the world treats you to extravagant comforts and luxury while others require nearly roughing it in canvas tents.

In trying to describe the experience of staying at a CMH Lodge, the usual descriptions of lodging don't really fit.  Instead, the CMH Lodge experience is more of an emotion, a verb, alive. 

It is a combination of the feeling of the day’s adventure into the wilderness of Western Canada - adventures for world-class athletes, octogenarians, and everyone in between - and the intimate comforts of a remote mountain lodge with all the amenities an adventure traveller could desire. 

To capture what CMH Lodges have to offer, one could make a long list of features, from spas to bars, but what really makes them special is the feeling they inspire.  To communicate this, I felt photos were the best way to explain the emotions of a CMH Lodge. 

From the first moment of the day, with a fresh cup of coffee and a view out your bedroom window of the alpenglow on the Bugaboo Spires...

Travel lodge view siting in the sun, waiting for the helicopter to whisk you and your family safely into some of the most remote mountains in North America...

summer family vacation the view out the helicopter window as you leave the lodge for one of the most memorable days of your life...

bugaboo lodge spires returning to the lodge with your guide to complete the CMH Summer Adventures experience with all the comforts of home - and more...

coming home bobbie burns dinner with friends and family overlooking a wilderness wonderland...

bugaboo lodge dinner reflecting on the day over a three-dimensional map of the area...

bugaboo lodge commons a glass of wine on the deck with your best friend...

alpine wine tasting a quiet night a long, long way from the nearest highway and town...

bobbie burns lodge stars

...the emotion of the CMH Lodge is one of intimacy, adventure, beauty, comfort and complete escape from the complicated world in which we live.

Tags: Adventure Travel, Bobbie Burns Lodge, heli-hiking, Western Canada CMH Summer Adventures, CMH Summer Adventures, Bugaboo Lodge

Family Adventures: Bonding in the high alpine

Posted by Angela Widmer on Wed, Jun 27, 2012

Kids discovering nature close upCalling all families! Wanting your kids to turn off the television, shut off the x-box and step into nature’s ultimate playground? CMH Summer Adventures is offering family focused heli-hiking trips consisting of a three day escape into Canada’s pristine alpine meadows. Experience untouched wilderness feet-first in the Canadian Rockies.

With ‘nature deficit disorder’ on the rise in children, their mental and physical health is at stake. A CMH Family Adventure means you and your kids can have fun and stay active, while being completely immersed in the great outdoors. From sliding down snow-covered hills, to dipping toes in glacier fed lakes, there is no shortage of excitement. Guaranteeing big grins and glowing faces, our CMH Family Adventure leaders ensure each child is experiencing an engaging and educational trip. By incorporating games and activities throughout the day, your child will see nature in a new light. Family trips aren’t just for the youngsters. Teenagers, and those with a penchant for adrenalin, will have the opportunity to zip-line across river gorges; traverse a two story tree-top ropes course; rope up for some glacier trekking; or clip in to a via ferrata and summit a mountain peak.

If breathtaking mountain views, carpets of glacier lilies, and the tranquility of the atmosphere aren’t enough to fill your imagination, think of the quality time you will enjoy as you embark on this exceptional adventure together. You and your family will unwind, spend time exploring the land, connect with nature and create memories to last a lifetime.

CMH Family Adventures are available at both the Bobbie Burns (July 24 - 27 and August 8 – 11) and Bugaboos (July 27 - 30 and August 11 – 14). So put down the cell phone, pull up your hiking socks, and head outdoors this summer for a family adventure of a lifetime.

To learn more about CMH Family Adventures give us a call at 1-800-661-0252 or visit Nature’s playground awaits.

Tags: Adventure Travel, heli-hiking, Bugaboos, Canadian Rockies, Canada, Family Travel, Western Canada CMH Summer Adventures, CMH Summer Adventures, families, Educational Travel

Private CMH Summer Adventures - Canada’s best kept secret

Posted by Topher Donahue on Tue, Jun 26, 2012

You and your partner want the ultimate remote getaway?

You and your family want to share a bonding experience of the most powerful, lasting kind?

You and your friends or group want to craft the perfect mountain retreat, tailored precisely for your level of fitness and enthusiasm for adventure?

helihiking custom relaxation

If you answered yes to any of these questions, a Private Summer Adventure Trip with CMH could be your ticket to the best holiday of your life. 

Here’s how it works:  

By booking a Private Summer Adventure Trip, CMH will reserve a private guide just for you.  This means the plethora of CMH Summer Adventures will be yours for the choosing, with helicopter access, at your pace, your level of difficulty, and with only the people you want to be with.  Daily options include:private helihiking

  • Easy hikes on across the tundra in the most spectacular alpine terrain imaginable.
  • Deluxe picnics in impossibly beautiful locations.
  • Simply relaxing in a postcard-perfect setting.
  • Playing on cool snowfields during the heat of summer.
  • Taking photographs of an alpine paradise at your pace with a helicopter to get your lenses up there.
  • Challenging all day treks to summits looking down on glaciers and a sea of mountains stretching as far as the eye can see in every direction.
  • An airy via ferrata climb near the world-famous Bugaboo Spires.
  • Mountaineering and rock climbing adventures at your choice of difficulty and commitment.
  • Glacier treks across ancient ice caps and between huge granite walls.
  • Ziplines across a wilderness canyon.
  • Design your own adventure!

CMH Private Summer Adventure Trips are a holiday that can be the most relaxing, easy, beautiful days you’ve ever had - or the wildest, most breathtaking, exciting but safe adventure you can imagine. 

What do you want your holiday to be?


Tags: Adventure Travel, heli-hiking, CMH Summer Adventures, Via Ferrata, Ziplines, photography, private