The Adventure

4 Fabulous Women-Only Heli-Hiking Trips with CMH Summer Adventures

Posted by Sarah Pearson on Mon, Jan 23, 2012

We've always known that women are an adventurous bunch: extremely capable and committed to physically challenging themselves with unique and authentic experiences. We also know that while they love to get outside and stretch those muscles, building and maintaining meaningful connections with their girlfriends, sisters, mothers and daughters is equally important. Blend together those two elements with a cozy lodge, great food & wine and a whole lot of laughter and you've got yourself the perfect girlfriend getaway. CMH is pleased to unveil an expanded summer line-up of four fabulous Women-Only trips focusing on fun, mountain adventure and that all important shared sense of camaraderie.

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NEW: Bodacious BOLD! in the Bobbie Burns (August 23-26, 2012). Join Margo Sutter and Cindy Pocza for “Core & Cork” in the Bobbie Burns. Climb the Mt. Nimbus Via Ferrata and/or Heli-Hike in the inspiring Selkirk Mountains. Après hiking learn some core strengthening tips from Margo and Cindy, then celebrate your amazing day in the mountains with wine tasting at cocktail hour.

NEW: The Ultimate Mother-Daughter Getaway with Marybeth Bond (August 5-8, 2012). Award-winning National Geographic author and editor of 11 books including best sellers 50 Best Girlfriend Getaways in North America; A Woman’s World; and Gutsy Women, Marybeth Bond is America’s preeminent expert on women’s travel. Hosted by Marybeth and her own daughter, this getaway will be a celebration for all women-- mothers, aunts, sisters, and friends alike.

Bodacious in the Bugaboos - The Classic (August 17-20 and August 20-23, 2012). Back by popular demand, join trip hosts Ellen Slaughter and Angie Smith for epic and guided heli-hiking, ridiculous laughs, alpine inspired cocktails and invigorating yoga...and some special Bodacious surprises.

Stretch n' Stir - Yoga & Cooking  (August 23-26, 2012) This alpine experience mixes up yoga, cooking and heli-hiking in one over-the-top recipe. Escape with morning mind-body yoga with your personal instructor, Julie Sagan, followed by exhilarating days of heli-hiking and fresh mountain air. Return to the lodge for cooking lessons with the very saucy Chef Sandra Davis from Edmonton’s The Saucy Gourmet.

To learn more about this great options for reunions, birthday celebrations or just a great weekend away, check out this clip and give CMH Summer Adventures a call at 1.800.661.0252.

Tags: Bodacious in the Bugaboos, Adventure Travel, Yoga Retreat, girlfriend getaway, Bobbie Burns Lodge, heli-hiking, Bugaboos, Canadian Rockies, Canada, yoga, CMH Summer Adventures, Bugaboo Lodge, hiking

Anyone want to be the first to go heli-bouldering in Canada?

Posted by Topher Donahue on Thu, Dec 22, 2011

Bouldering is the latest rage in mountain sport.  For one, it doesn’t take much gear or experience, just a desire to climb, a pair of climbing shoes, and a pad; yet it provides a yoga-like zen and as much challenge as anyone could ask for without quite as much risk as the more high altitude or high objective hazard genres of mountaineering.  And second, while most of the world’s most spectacular peaks have been climbed, there are literally millions of spectacular boulders scattered around the globe that are yet to be discovered.

helicopter bouldering canadaIn my three decades of globe-trotting in search of mountain adventure, the most impressive untouched bouldering area I have seen is smack in the middle of the rugged wilderness of CMH Summer Adventures near the CMH Bobbie Burns Lodge in a rugged part of the greater Canadian Rockies called the Vowell Range.  The granite wonderland is just north of the world-famous Bugaboos rock climbing area, yet the Vowells see only a few visits, at most, each year. 

We were there during the summer of 2005 to climb the first ascent of the east face of Snafflehound Spire, visible in the background of this photo, but the thing that stands out most in my memory of the trip is the hundreds of truck- to house-sized boulders scattered along the moraines below the glaciers. 

Like a lot of other valleys in the area, access is the only thing keeping the area from being a popular and well-known world-class adventure travel destination.  To get there, we chartered a helicopter which dropped us just outside the Bugaboo Provincial Park boundary. 

Using a helicopter to access big climbs is nothing new, and CMH Summer Adventures uses helicopters almost daily during the summer months to access hiking, climbing, mountaineering and via ferrata adventures in the area.  But nobody is yet using helicopters to go bouldering.

On our trip to the Vowells, we didn’t have a crash pad - the sturdy, closed cell foam pads boulderers use to cushion the landings - and we were not willing to risk sprained ankles when we had bigger climbs in mind, but I really wished we had brought one. We did a little bouldering, as seen in the above photo, but didn't even begin to scratch the surface of the potential climbs in the area.

helicopter bouldering crash padCrash pads are awkward to carry, and don’t leave much room for sleeping bags, tents, food or the rest of the essentials for a remote wilderness adventure.  For this reason alone, heli-bouldering might just have a place in the future of adventure travel, and there is nowhere better set up for it than the wilderness playground of CMH Summer Adventures.

Nobody has yet called the CMH Summer Adventures office asking about using helicopters to go bouldering, and CMH Summer Adventures doesn’t (yet) offer a program with bouldering, but maybe some day boulderers looking for adventure will realize what is possible with a helicopter and heli-bouldering will become part of the fabric of CMH just like the heli-skiing, heli-hiking, via ferratas and heli-mountaineering that have made CMH a visionary icon of the adventure travel world for the last 45 years.

Photos by Topher Donahue of bouldering near the CMH Bobbie Burns and a boulderer in Rocky Mountain National Park demonstrating why crash pads would be ideal for helicopter transport.

Any readers out there who would want to go heli-bouldering?

Tags: Adventure Travel, Bugaboos, Canadian Rockies, Rockies, CMH Bobbie Burns, yoga, CMH Summer Adventures

The Sweetest Season for Adventure Travel

Posted by Topher Donahue on Fri, Nov 18, 2011

Fall is one of the sweetest times of the year to visit wilderness destinations, and adventure travelers are starting to figure it out.  This year, Yellowstone National Park saw their second highest October visitation on record with 175,000 visitors.  While that may sound like a lot of people, it is still a quiet time compared to the peak month of July when nearly a million visitors pass through Yellowstone.

Yosemite quiet season

Being a rock climber, Yosemite is one of my favourite National Parks, but the high season is almost unbearable.  The campfire smoke and automobile exhaust hangs in the deep valley, giving a muddy hue to the otherwise spectacular views.  An air quality website gives Yosemite an air quality score of 1.5 out of a possible 10 - with 10 being the best.  Not so pristine.  I used to visit the park every year to climb on the big walls and countless smaller cliffs, but the urban flavor of the area eventually cut into my enjoyment of the place and I found myself seeking less popular destinations.

Then a couple of years ago I visited Yosemite in November.  We spent a week on a vertical camping trip while climbing the legendary 1000-metre wall of El Capitan.  The mist that clung to the valley floor in the morning wasn’t tinted brown, but rather the perfect white of an Ansel Adams photograph.  The sounds floating on the breezes weren’t the noise of cars and tour buses, but instead the sounds of birds and waterfalls.  The nights were cold, but a big sleeping bag and down jacket felt like a worthwhile trade-off for the experience of savoring Yosemite Valley without the acrid flavor of tourist season.  

Even if school, work, or family doesn’t allow you to choose the ideal season for adventure travel, there are a lot of overlooked places where you can travel during the peak travel months, and still experience a wilderness adventure without competing with thousands of other people.

Canada summer hiking destination

Western Canada is one of those places.  Sure, during the summer, the most popular destinations around Lake Louise and Banff can be as crowded as Old Faithful on the 4th of July, but the lesser-known destinations of the Canadian Rockies are as quiet and beautiful during the peak summer months as Yosemite 200 years ago.  Take CMH Summer Adventures, for example; thanks to helicopter access and guided expertise, it is possible to explore a valley as spectacular as Yosemite with as many people as you can count on one hand - or less. 

Photos of escaping the crowds in the off-season for a yoga session on Yosemite's Taft Point and a busy day at CMH Bugaboos by Topher Donahue.

Tags: Adventure Travel, weather, yoga, CMH Summer Adventures

Bodacious in the Bugaboos – Yoga Rocks hits the Bugs!

Posted by Jane Carswell on Sun, Jul 18, 2010

Article by Ellen Slaughter

Angie Smith, our yoga instructor, and I are just back from hosting the first “Bodacious in the Bugaboos” girlfriend getaway of 2010. And all I can say is...WAHOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!

Bodacious girlfriend getaways

In response to requests from last year’s “Bodacious Babes” for more of Angie’s soul-soothing yoga on a future trip,our “Yoga Rocks” firlfriend getaway was born. With all the classic elements of our popular “Bodacious in the Bugaboos” getaways – guided alpine hiking, sunrise yoga, laugh-out-loud fun and friendship intact, we added daily après-hiking yoga to this trip. So, late each afternoon we flew back to the lodge, and led by Angie, we quieted our minds and stretched our bodies. Everyone agreed it was the perfect complement to our high-octane days of hiking.

Flowers at CMH Bugaboo LodgeLittle did we know that our CMH mountaineering guides in the Bugaboos had a big surprise in store for us. On our third day after a spectacular ridge hike in the morning, the “Bodacious Babes” geared up with climbing harnesses and helmets and pushed their limits on the brand new breathtaking Bugaboos via ferrata. What a thrill for each and every one of us!

A night of wacky celebration was the icing on the cake as the Bodacious ladies, lodge guests and staff danced, “limbo-ed” and “hoola-hooped” the night away at the “Tight ‘n Bright” party.

Add to all this Chef David Weslowsky's scrumptious meals, Guylaine’s mouth-watering baking, welcoming hospitality from all the staff and guides and a BIG dose of ROTOR FEVER and voila, we all came home with big smiles on our faces and memories to treasure!!

Stay tuned for news of two more “Bodacious in the Bugaboos” girlfriend getaways this August. A couple of spots are available on our August 26 – 29th trip. I invite you to come and live large with us in the Bugaboos! For more information please call 1.800.661.0252.

Ellen Slaughter
CMH Bodacious Trip Host

Tags: Bodacious in the Bugaboos, girlfriend getaway, yoga, Via Ferrata

Heli-Yoga? Yes, but so much more...

Posted by Jane Carswell on Thu, Jan 28, 2010

by Angie Smith

I am a yoga teacher, a yoga student and co-host of Bodacious in the Bugaboos with my dear friend Ellen.  
Angie Smith by M Welch
Is this for real? Is this truly my life?  There are times when I pinch myself and think only in my dreams would I have a life that allows me to share my passion of yoga and philosophy with dynamic inspiring women every year with Canadian Mountain Holidays.

The setting could not be more inspiring, uplifting and beautiful.  With the comfort of the lodge, the mountain views from our yoga room, the friendly staff that make everyone feel comfortable; it all adds up to making the yoga experience that much more special.  The lodge acts as our home away from home and sets the tone for us to relax on this 3-½ day trip.  Leaving our busy lives behind to revel in the beauty of our surroundings, and most importantly – to be present.  

Our days begin with Sunrise Yoga.  I wait in our yoga room watching many of our group enter the studio carrying in cups of tea or coffee.   We delight in the beauty of the sun coming up over top of the magnificent Bugaboo Spire and Howser Towers – the light is cast, and a magnificent reflection is projected on the lake.  This is a wonderful way to begin our day together.  

Usually I ring a bell to begin the class amidst chatting in the room. We put down our warm drinks and step onto our yoga mats.  Om… The class begins…We do sun salutations, mountain pose, tree pose, breathing in the fresh air and sharing energy amongst one another.

Yoga has many different translations from Sanskrit to English.  The word yoga means union / to join; or to use my teacher’s definition – “intimacy”.  We don’t just do yoga on the Bodacious in the Bugaboos we experience yoga.  Watching the sunrise, walking up the mountain, flying high above the mountain peaks and alpine meadows in our helicopter taxi. You may chat with a new friend and be wholeheartedly attentive and present in the conversation.  Sitting in silence, breathing on top of Gemini Mountain beside a waterfall.  These are glimpses of what you may experience throughout your trip to help extend your yoga practice.

With a guided morning class, the energetic flow of the yoga practice sets a tone for our day.  We experience yoga in the now!  We experience the present moment, and to me this is yoga.  Of course, we get a little help, and inspiration, from Mother Nature.

Many people ask me – what makes Bodacious in the Bugaboos so special?  My answer is simple.  Bodacious trips are the perfect combination of pushing your own personal limits, connecting with new and old friends, being connected to nature and being or becoming connected to SELF with the aid of yoga.

In my mind, Yoga is anything that you put your heart and soul into – this can range from a practice on a mat to skiing or hiking.  Yoga is about being present.

On Bodacious in the Bugaboos I am considered a teacher, but what I LEARN from being part of these journeys every year is quite remarkable and humbly immeasurable.

Angie Smith

Tags: Bodacious in the Bugaboos, yoga, CMH