Summer 2017 in British Columbia has proven to be filled with more smoke and haze than sunshine and rainbows. This is because the province has seen a record breaking number of fires, and a provincial wide state of emergency was declared earlier this month. Evacuations have been called in communities Williams Lake, 100 Mile House and Cache Creek to name a few.
Luckily ,our town of Golden and Heather Mountain Lodge have seen no serious fire threat, and the smoke has cleared, but we did see some drama playing out in our area. Our lodge and staff were a huge part of the firefighting effort. Last week, the lodge was used as a staging area for fire crews and helicopters to fight fires in Glacier National Park. When a fire flared up across the valley from our lodge in early July, Social Media host Muzza was there to capture the smoky skies and water bombers. This fire posed no threat to us, but the views do show how dramatic these fires can be. Happy to now have things back to normal and see the amazing response of the fire fighting efforts!
Executive Chef Josh Gaudet and his team were kept busy last week feeding the crews that fought the fires. The crews said it was some of the best eating they’ve seen.
A small fire was quickly extinguished across the valley. What a sight!
The helipad looking a bit different these days. Seeing those whirly birds reminds us of winter!
Our heartfelt thank you goes out to those fire crews spending their days and nights keeping us safe, and our condolences to those across the province whose lives have been forever changed by the fires. We are looking forward to winter again when we can look at the snow capped mountains and the smoke has cleared, and hey, there may be some new burn runs to explore.
We know the season has ended when we look out from Heather Mountain Lodge onto the heli-pad and see that the heli’s have flown home to Smithers, C.-B.. As bittersweet as that can be, we’ve always been a bit curious about what that flight looks like from our base of operations to the northern part of the province. So we sent Muzza, our amazing Social Media Host and Photographer who was chomping at the bit to accompany our pilot Mike Johnson on that 4 hour flight.
Here’s a recap of what that journey “home” and the view from heaven looks like.
Check out this video recap!
A message from Great Canadian Heli-Skiing President Greg Porter:
I really like people who have a passion, dream up a goal for themselves, and then get to work to live it out. Kevin Edwards was one of those guys. He loved powder skiing and when departing from Great Canadian Heli-Skiing he used to say “only 51 weeks until next year”. Like clockwork, Kevin would show up with a clan of kindred powder dreamers who he had met in various lift lines, and live out his passion, year by year, until he had heli-skied over 100 days, a true accomplishment only achieved by a handful. Cependant, skiing a lot of powder is not what I came to admire Kevin for…
On May 1st I walked into a boring conference room in Penticton, BC for the HeliCat Canada spring meeting with 100 or so heli and cat skiing guides, managers and owners. Our operations manager Rob Dalinghaus and I sat down with Terry Makos, one of Great Canadian Heli-Skiing past legendary guides, and he shared the sad news that Kevin had just passed away while skiing in Colorado. It was one of those moments where your thoughts stop and there is nothing to say, as the mind tries to wrap around the unexpected finality of so much spirit.
As time slowly passed that day, the sad news spread though the room between a web of people from various heli-skiing companies that had met him. The dots were connected between the people that had shared deep powder filled moments with Kevin and I was surprised how many people at that conference Kevin had impressed upon. It struck me that Kevin had already skied 10 lifetimes worth of powder, but more importantly he had succeeded to imprint his passion for life in so many people, so that their lives could be lived as full as his. Truly Kevin’s passing has been felt hardest by his family and tight crew of Boulder friends, but it has also been felt in the remote snow covered mountain peaks of BC. I can only hope that I live such a passionate life, but most importantly one that touches as many people as Kevin has.
It should be noted that I think Kevin would been more pragmatic at this point to suggest, “the good thing about all of this is that there will be more fresh tracks left for everyone else.” Although this may be true, he did consume a lot fresh tracks, Kevin was always willing to share with anybody willing to listen to a few of his epic skiing moments. That is what makes Kevin’s life so great and his passing so sad, he had already shared so generously, with so many, what was important to him, his life.
From all your Great Canadian friends you will be missed Kevin.
In this video from 2008, GCH friends Kevin, Brad, Cotton and Keith go heli hucking with some commentary from Kevin that shows his love for the snow.