- by Serge
- Tuesday December 16, 2014
Awesome Canadian Heli-Skiing
Greg Golovach — Head Guide Profile
Greg Golovach loves to blow people's minds.
“I just love taking people and bringing them back safely from wild and amazing places,” he says.
As a boy in Montréal, Greg enjoyed winter sports including snowshoeing, winter camping, and, of course, playing hockey. When he was five, his dad introduced him to skiing at the Montréal landmark, Mount Royal. Instantly, he was fascinated by sliding over snow. But first he had to get up the slope. “My dad wouldn't buy us ski passes until we learned how to ski, so we had to walk up the hill,” Greg recalls.
Now in his 25th season with Great Canadian Heli-Skiing, Greg has definitely found more efficient, and more fun ways to get to the top of a ski run. He migrated west while at CEGEP (college) studying mechanical engineering, drafting and psychology, after friends who were living and working in Banff suggested he'd like the mountains. He never looked back. While working in landscaping and construction for Guenther's Landscaping, some friends began training for their assistant guide exams with the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides. By then captivated by rock climbing, mountaineering and backcountry ski touring, the light went off. “I realized that work was cutting into my outdoor time,” Greg says. “So, if I became a guide work would be my outdoor time.” Fortunately, Guenther granted him time off to complete his exams to become an ACMG/IFMGA Mountain Guide.
While early guiding experiences taught him “how much I didn't know,” he also discovered when his guests needed assistance, he had the skills to provide just that. When fellow guide Rich Marshall, then working for Great Canadian, said they needed a French-speaking guide (Greg also speaks Russian), he seized the opportunity.
Now GCH head guide since 2000 — the position grants him longer hours and the most comfortable chair in the guides' building - Greg loves everything about working for Greg P and Maaike's small, family-owned business. “They are a pleasure to work for,” Greg says. “I fell in love with everything about Great Canadian right away.” The most valuable thing he's learned guiding heli-skiers, he says, is patience. The toughest thing about his job is being away from his children, Hunter, Bryce and Tia.
For guests new to skiing with a guide, Greg advises they listen carefully to instructions. “If you're unclear as to what they said, ask for clarification,” Greg says. That won't just help the guide, but the whole group to have a great day. And Greg adds, they are all great days. “December thru April, I love the whole season,” Greg says. “And I love every run I'm on at any given time — I just love skiing.”