He is a truly dedicated and exceptional individual, a Paralympian athlete, a World championship medalist, a U.S. National Champion…and a fierce heli-skiier!
He is one of the truly extraordinary people we get to meet each season at Great Canadian Heli-Skiing.
This is his inspiring story.
James’ leg was broken in a snowmobile accident when he was 5 and had to be amputated below the knee due to complications. That never stopped him from doing any athletic activities during his childhood: he was able to water-ski by the age of 7, played hockey and enjoyed skiing above all other sports.
At the age of 21, James competed in the Michigan Disabled Ski Championships. He trained and competed in Colorado the following season earned his spot on the U.S. Disabled Ski Team in 1988. He competed in five Paralympic competitions and is a four-time Paralympic medalist: he brought two silver and two bronze medals back home to the U.S. He won both silver and bronze medals at the World Championship in 1990 and is a six-time U.S. National Champion.
Medals don’t just happen. It takes an exceptional person to be an Olympian and an even more dedicated person to be a Paralympic champion: one must be determined, focused, committed, physically and mentally tough, while depending on special equipment and prosthetic devices.
While no longer competitively skiing, James remains active in the community and his impact on the sport continues with his involvement in the US Olympic Committee athlete advisory council as a Winter Paralympic Representative.
He now works in the orthotics and prosthetics industry, designing attachments that allow amputee to participate in multiple sports, strongly contributing to the innovations that will make a difference in the reality of amputees and Paralympic athletes of tomorrow.
We salute your courage and determination, are truly inspired by your story and wish we could be surrounded by your above and beyond positive and friendly attitude all year round! You made it to the hall of fame of our heli-family and can’t wait to have you dropping rhymes again in our lounge after a great heli-day in the backcountry!
James (left) and his brother coming back from their heli-skiing day!
Harry & Sally have been part of our heli family since 2007.
Harry loved skiing in small groups so much that he even came back 3 times in 2008! He has made many great friends while heli-skiing, not the least of which is Justin, a fellow member of our heli family since 2006. They have not missed a year since.
As one of the few adventurous women in the almost completely dominated sport of heli-skiing, Sally quickly became friends with our talented pilot Cathy. She later confessed to Harry that many women seemed intimated by her and that Sally was one of the first to open up to her.
Sadly, Sally’s health did not allowed her to heli-ski alongside Harry after her first two trips. Since then, Cathy always made sure that Sally’s presence echoed in the lodge when Harry was visiting, from heli-briefing to apres-ski.
Every year, Cathy makes signs and accessories for Harry to get photographed with around the lodge and in the mountains so Sally can be part of his trip through pictures we send her.
Harry’s garage is now full of Cathy’s creations. Hope he’ll have enough room to hang this year’s banner…and that we’ll get to see Sally at the lodge next year!
Harry & the GCH guides sending Sally good vibes!
She’s a talented heli-boarder and a fearless rider. Her vibe is unbeatable, just as her love for pow turns. Like the rest of us, she’s living the dream of epic mountain days. When the winter returns and the trees turn white again, she calls our cozy heli lodge home. She’s one of the truly exceptional person you get to meet at Heather Mountain Lodge when you ski with GC Heli.
But this winter is like no other for her…as hopping on the heli with a 5 months belly is something to remember forever. Yes, you read right. K-Shae took her unborn heli-boarding for half a day yesterday!
We bet this little one will grow up to be a shredder and can’t wait to welcome this heli-baby in the family!
Judging by that smile, both mama and baby are happy in the backcountry!
Have you ever wondered what it’s like work (and live!) at Great Canadian Heli-skiing?
Working in the birthplace of heli-skiing, over the 2 mountain ranges that are the Selkirk and the Purcell, means that we get copious amounts of snow in the most amazing terrain! We can catch a few laps in our breaks and ride straight off our backyard! On lucky days, we take off in the heli and shred in the backcountry!
It’s extremely accessible, just off the Trans Canada Highway between Golden and Revelstoke, but we get to stay at the lodge and share a house with all our fellow powder passionate teammates!
The guides share their knowledge with us and train us on avalanche and backcountry safety. We get the best advice and in depth product knowledge sessions on outdoor gear directly from the companies’ rep!
Oh, and did I talk about the food? Our chef Dan and the whole kitchen team doesn’t only take pride in delivering mouth watering dishes to our guests. They cook food that tastes amazing, out of local ingredients, also for us! We even have wine and beer tastings!
We do work around the clock to deliver the experience of a lifetime, but we’re also having the experience of a lifetime! We can deliver the boutique experience we are known for, because we are living it too!
So make sure you follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest! We’ll be sharing the jaw dropping and awe aspiring GCH experience!
Staff house at GCHS
Skiers now have a valid excuse to book that epic heli-skiing holiday – it’s officially good for our health!
Researchers claim the pleasure gained from a skiing holiday is enough to improve a person’s overall happiness – even if they only get to the mountains occasionally! So now is the time to solidify that happiness in your life by booking your heli-ski vacation for next season!
Engagement is defined as the manner in which you lose yourself in an activity, and are almost oblivious of all else around you. Therefore, the skiers and boarders who get the most benefits are those who get “into the flow” meaning they focus on their skiing and forget everything else in their lives while on the slopes. So by booking now you get to enjoy the anticipation and motivation of getting in shape, and when you join us next season you reap the benefits of becoming engaged. Furthermore, it’s been proven on various occasions that adult playfulness can influence people’s happiness, while socially convening around a sporting activity such as skiing has positive psychological outcomes and contributes to overall well-being, sweet! I always knew those mountains at my doorstep were more than just a pretty sight.
Besides the mental euphoria that skiing elicits there are the obvious physical benefits attached too. You can burn upwards of 3000 calories a day skiing! There are three prominent health benefits associated with skiing and snowboarding which every person at every ability experiences:
1) Tones your stomach muscles – who doesn’t love abs?
2) Improves your cardiovascular system – i.e. your stamina
3) Helps you lose weight
So in other words, if you enjoy skiing or snowboarding don’t deny yourself the “health benefits” and get out and do it! And yes, I am aware that this is simply a way to justify all those hours and paychecks spent on mountaintops, that said I’m sure you all will agree!