Posted 2019 aug 30 by Brooklynn Pickering
Manfred while having a Best Day Ever with us! “This is living” captured by our wonderful Front Desk Agent Rosa
After saving long and hard for over 15 years, Manfred B took a chance and booked a solo heli-ski trip. Following this trip, just about everyone who was around him, staff and guests alike, were talking about this amazing and inspiring guy they had met. “I didn’t intend on sharing my entire story.” he says, “It just kind of came out.”
Manfred is one of those people who takes every opportunity to appreciate his surroundings. The really remarkable thing is that he then shares his outlook with everyone around him, whether it be an old friend or someone he just met.
“I’ve been obsessing over ‘The next step’ since I first went to a real ski resort in the early 2000’s.” Meaning he’s been working for about 20 years to come heli-skiing. “Sent a few big lines out there and was hooked! I literally came from nothing. A single Mom with 2 kids… None of it seemed feasible back then.”
“I got kicked out of my house at 17. Needed a job that paid well BADLY!” He describes the brutally hard work of building basements as a young bricklayer, and the abuse he went through as the new kid on the jobsite. However… “I liked it! a Lot!!! The sense of accomplishment, the pride that came with it, the money….all of it drew me in. There were days I hated it, sure. I would tell the bricklayers I labored for back then that someday ‘I’LL BE BETTER THAN YOU!'”
Now, 15 years into owning his own thriving masonry company, his website reads “Happy Practicing the Ancient Craft”. This is referring to masonry, but it also applies to the way that he lives… “work hard, play hard, love hard”.
Defying the odds is nothing out of the ordinary for Manfred. In fact, he’s made it a part of his routine. When asked what some of the most meaningful, memorable times in his life have been, he gives an astonishing list of feats. The common theme was to work for years to make something big happen for himself and his family. Some examples? “Taking my daughters whitewater rafting for the first time including doing the Upper Gulley with my oldest daughter (the GNAR section of river)” and, “Buying my wife a new car IN CASH. I busted ass and saved for 4 years to make that dream a reality!!” and, “The day I hiked my first classic chute. The Center Chute at Mt Baldy inside Alta in Utah. Life changing!!” and, “taking my wife surprise skydiving for her birthday!” “Heli skiing with ya’ll!!!”
He finds a way, any way, to get the things he wants. He doesn’t play it safe or wait until it’s the most advisable time to do something. He said:
“I avoid the obvious answers like ….best day ever? …. the day my children were born. OF COURSE those were magical times in my life. But we’re talking about defying the odds, getting rad even when our doctors advise against it, even if we have to make monthly payments hahaha!!”
This is the way he lives. He turns hard physical labour in to a savings account, mixes that with the courage to take chances, and does amazing things. Over and over again.
When cancer entered the scene for battle over 10 years ago, it was no match against his passion for life. He never let this cancer story define him, or get in the way of his goals. And even after beating cancer numerous times, he says his biggest success is maintaining a loving relationship with the love of his life. “She is cut from a different cloth. She grew up wealthy, had everything… including stability. I grew up the exact opposite. Many people didn’t think we would last.”
Even when brawling cancer, Manfred took chances. He turned the tables on cancer by using his condition to contribute scientific research about the horrible disease. “This last cancer scare that came in March of 18′ was different. It was the third case. It was different as it came with a tumor on my head and my neck. They were telling me it is possibly in my bone marrow. It doesn’t take a Cancer care specialist to know that your days are numbered if it was. After 3 or 4 long months, and I don’t know how many tests… they finally told me its not. They were baffled as to why it was staying in my epidermis only and I agreed to delay treatment – my mom didn’t like that – and donate some of my tissue to science. It’s still being grown in a lab in Baltimore in immune deficient rabbits and mice so they can learn from it.” And, as if this isn’t noble enough… Fred also took a chance on his treatment. “I also agreed to be part of a study group. Where I’m taking an oral pill as well as getting infusion based chemotherapy injections intravenously. It comes with A TON of getting poked with needles and scans to provide big pharmacy with data to be able to make this drug called ‘Revlimid’ available to the masses. Instead of getting radiation and chemotherapy we can simply take a pill for 3 weeks, one week off, for 12 months. It’s currently $1000 (USD) a dose. As in, each day. It taxes my system, I feel like I’m constantly running on 85%, but it’ll be worth it to help people.”
85% energy? This guy empowered our entire Lodge! This is what he had to say about his heli-ski trip with us this year:
“I will forever remember the great people both working there, and the guests I was lucky enough to meet.” He actually takes the time to name individual staff members who impressed him, including Aly C for her avalanche briefing, Lauren J, John H, and his guide Stan. “They were all VERY instrumental in providing me an A+ experience!”
“Don’t forget to get that hard working staff of yours out in the mountains when you can! They deserve it! Seeing the stoke in their eyes was AWESOME!! It made the trip that much more special getting to experience that with them! I just wish I was 100% and not on these cancer killing drugs. Someday I’ll be back in the kind of shape I need to be in!” Next time we hope he’ll bring the wife and daughters (“who are also RIPPERS by the way!!!!”) who he clearly treasures above all else. When asked who he would bring on a trip given the chance, “My 15 year old WOULD LOVE IT!!! She passed me a few times in Big Sky this year on our family trip…..I couldn’t effing BELIEVE IT!! She is a huge inspiration for me. You’ll never meet a more innocent and loving soul.”
This kind of gratitude for life and all the experiences it has to offer is exactly the kind of people we celebrate. For more Best Day Ever stories from our team, guests and other amazing humans, visit bestdayever.co
Written by Brooklynn Pickering, Great Canadian Heli-Skiing’s Sales and Marketing Coordinator.