Greg and Maaike met at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, where they were introduced by professor/adventurer Bob Henderson, who has now become a long-time guest at Great Canadian. Greg and Maaike were both studying kinesiology, or “gym”, as Greg likes to call it—an apt discipline for two people who’ve always been involved in athletics. Throughout her youth, Maaike competed at a national level in trampoline, and Greg competed at a national level in snowboarding, culminating in a bronze medal in half-pipe at Nationals in Whistler in 1991. But these two always have room for learning something new, and the young couple soon swapped introductions to their favorite outdoor adventure sports. She was a whitewater raft guide at Owl Rafting on the Ottawa River, and she secured Greg work there as well. He worked at a climbing gym where he introduced Maaike to climbing. Now, both continue to deepen their love of all things skiing (from ripping turns on resort to the quiet human power of ski touring to the thrill of heli-skiing); and regularly mountain bike and ultra-run in the summers.
After getting married, the Porters fed one of their other great loves: travel. With a shared belief that travel creates perspective, memories and connection, the two adventured around the world for a full year in 1997, and then traveled for another year in 2016, this time to share the experience with their two children. But at the same time, the Porters have a deep connection to a sense of place, having called Golden home since 1999. To this day, they maintain that the little mountain enclave, with its tight community that values the people and adventure in and around it, is the perfect place to recreate, raise a family and make a living.
Greg and Maaike have permeated Great Canadian Heli-Skiing with that same sense of community. The concept of “family” is a mainstay here, a feel created in part by the hyper-personalized ski experience. The Porters coined the now-popular term “boutique heli-skiing”, which means small groups of only four guests with a guide, making for an intimate day in the mountains. But much of the close-knit vibe also comes from the fact that Greg and Maaike also strongly believe that the success of the business comes from surrounding themselves with exceptional people who share their passion for the mountains, and for running the business with a “people-first” attitude.
And there’s also the simple fact that the company and the lodge are family-owned and operated. Maaike and Greg and their son and daughter are not the only family that love the heli-skiing lodge lifestyle. Sue Gould and her husband Rob Dalinghaus are both long-time guides here, Greg and Chantelle Scroggs run operations and hospitality at the lodge. Many of the current employees have been on board for the full 20-year journey, and their spouses, children and friends work in the business. Up here, it doesn’t just feel like family. It’s literally made of families.
We can’t wait to invite you into our community. Greg and Maaike Porter will be here with open arms, just like they have been for the last two decades.