For Great Canadian Heli-Skiing lead guide Rob Dalinghaus, the season ran like clockwork.
“I did leave my skis in the basket one day” he said. But who can blame him? Our guides are some of the hardest working alpine professionals in the world. They are hustling around the lodge hours before the first heli takes off and work well into the night making sure the next day runs perfectly. As the lead guide, Rob literally has a birds eye view on day to day operations, so who better to ask about what made this season so fantastic? But first we find out more about those missing skis!
How did you find yourself out in the field with a group, but no skis?!
Well, it was a combination of distractions. We added a group to training and I went somewhere far away. We were picking up weather stations and landing stakes. I looked in and thought the basket was empty. And in the interest of making it all work you want to do these things efficiently. You think you are doing things efficiently until you realize… I royally screwed up on this one! So the guests that day were saying “Well, we’re good to go! See you at the bottom!” And I just had to stand there knowing my skis are going to be back with the heli in 2 minutes, and I just have to live with the embarrassment.
What made this season special?
We were able to offer the “full package” of tree skiing, tree line skiing and alpine skiing. That was amazing for sure. It felt really good!
What were some highlights for you as lead guide?
It was a massive team effort. We had some new people lead guiding. Once they got their feet wet you could tell that they were going to be fine. For me thats kind of a relief because you’re constantly “on” when you’re lead guiding. You do everything from putting together the groups in the morning, the guides meeting, going out skiing, guiding for yourself, guiding for the other groups and for the new guides, air traffic control, so it was nice to hand that off at times. That made it a little easier to keep it going. I think last year I worked a little too much so it was wonderful to have that help.
Did you have a #bestdayever this season?
I know I did. I know it was a powder skiing day. The conditions were great. I have it in my notebook somewhere because we write down not only the runs but also the morning conditions and stuff we see. That day got a special note.
What makes a perfect ski day for you?
When it rolls out without a lot of banter on the radio. You’re just skiing, just riding, however you get down the mountain, and it just clicks. We go out there and we get some wicked runs and amazing powder. And a wicked lunch too! We get back to the lodge and you can feel the energy. At the après-ski, in the room everyone is just stoked, like “Wow! That was sweet don’t you think?!”
Where will you be during the off season?
I work year round and in the off season we are still busy. Summer is basically reporting our activities to the government. We put a snapshot of how the season went and where we skied. I always look at which run was ” winner” as in which one did we visit most. I’m not sure which one that is yet but previous winners have been runs like Eat Your Wheaties, Rocky and Smoke.
Thanks Rob! See you (and Sue) next season!