My Worst Day of Owning a Heli-Skiing Company
2013 winter is here in Golden already, in fact Mt Norquay has opened its lifts already for its earliest start ever. So we decided it was time to share some details about our awesome upcoming 2013 Great Canadian Heli-Skiing Season. Check out our update below on how we have already made first tracks this year, cabins are being built and for an extra little teaser we added a link to CandideThovex’s trailer for his new movie launched “Few Words” which was partly shot at Great Canadian Heli-Skiing.
It appears our heli-skiing guests have many inspiring stories to tell in addition to the ones they have created at Great Canadian Heli-Skiing. As response to our last newsletter “Bucket List Bagging Bragging…” many of you sent updates to stories mentioned and new ones to boot. So naturally we wanted to share a selection of some of the awesome stories sent to us in response to our last newsletter with you. Thank you to all of you who wrote to us. Check out our Bucket List Updates below, and find out that it doesn’t matter whether you are speeding across the finish Line at 300 km/hr or crawling across it at 1 km/hr, because there is always some 60+ year old guy ready to run solo for another 120 km or walk another 400 kilometres with stones in his pockets. Yes, you read it right, stones in his pockets with heavy consequences I might add.
Or, if you want some fresh stories check out some New Bucket List Stories from our Great Canadian Heli-Skiing guests and employees. Who knew that behind Deane’s kind and friendly voice there was a highway bent biker with a ‘rebel yell’, and who ever dreamed that “swimming with a vintage motor bike” or “vintage motor bike mud wrestling” is the latest bucket list trend of epic Everest proportions.
If those stories seem too inspirational for you maybe you simply want to read the dirt about my worst day of owning a heli-skiing company (spoiler warning the lodge didn’t actually blow up).
Whatever you do, keep living life and sharing your awesome adventures and inspirations with us, and maybe you will motivate someone else reading it to do something extraordinary with their life, like go heli-skiing for the first time. Better yet, if you know somebody that needs some heli-skiing in their life, or someone that has talked about going heli-skiing too long, inspire them to make it happen this year.
Dream Less Live More!
Great Canadian Heli-Skiing
2013 GREAT CANADIAN HELI-SKIING SEASON UPDATE
On Oct 12 mega ski star Callum Petit and his North Face entourage couldn’t wait any longer to get first tracks at Great Canadian Heli-Skiing so hired head mountain guide Greg Golovach and ski guide Kristina Metzlaff for a stealth film shoot for our first major snowfall. They scored the goods and it hasn’t stopped snowing since. It’s a good omen for Callum, Great Canadian Heli-Skiing and you if you are joining us this year.
Snow is great for skiing and since we get a lot of it at Heather Mountain Lodge, it makes a perfect location for cozy mountain cabins, ….except when you are building them. With the temperatures dropping, the snow covering the ground, and only 8 more weeks until the heli-skiing season starts, the time crunch is on. We will all sleep better once complete. In fact a better sleep is guaranteed this year at Heather Mountain Lodge since all our beds have been upgraded to new deep sleeping mattress heaven.
Candide Thovex. Movie. “Few Words”. 2:00 and 3:28 shot at Great Canadian Heli-Skiing, speak for themselves.
BUCKET LIST UPDATES
HARRY THE DREAMER MAKES OUR DREAM A REALITY:
GREAT CANADIAN HELI-SKIING IS NUMBER 1
Al aka “Harry the Dreamer” should be renamed “Harry the Dream maker”. This guy has a habit of going against the odds and making things happen! Check out the “Dream makers” update below about racing his Porsche in a nail biting bid for the Championships:
It has been an unusual year for #15 (still branded GCH by the way). We unexpectedly won the first few races and then even more unexpectedly blew the motor at the next race. We ended up missing 6 races waiting for the wonderful “rat” motor to be built. The car returned last month and immediately won the next two races with a rusty driver trying to figure out how to drive what is now an extremely fast, and believe it or not, much louder car. We found ourselves in second place coming into the last weekend in the Drivers Championship since every race we did run, we won. The problem was we needed to win bothof the last races AND the #414 car we were chasing needed to retire from one of the races before the halfway point of the race. We won on Saturday and the #414 was second. We had pretty much settled on second place on Sunday when we started the race since Porsche Cup cars are very reliable and the #414 has been strong all year. Well, at the end of the 1st lap I get a radio call that the #414 is in the pits. Then I get another call saying he is back out on track. One lap later I get the call that he is in the pits again retiring to the garage. We finished the race first again and took 1st in the Drivers Championship by 30 points. We will be going to Nationals in the fall…too funny! Air Power Racing rocks and has given me a very fast race car. GCH rocks, well, because you’re on the hood. And Porsche Cup cars rock, especially 12 year old ones with rat motors in them. We leave for Laguna Seca on Thursday for 2 days of fun racing to celebrate the year. Air Power is fielding 6 cars next weekend; expecting a wild time!
What Harry forgot to mention was 5 days prior to the last race he crunched his bumper as well as the target car! Ooops! During the last race Al did a GREAT job and he handed his Power Racing Team back a perfect, undamaged car at the end of the weekend; he reports no cars needed ramming.
I had the amazing opportunity to hang out with his team manager and awesome wife Sally (who also is known to rev up her Porsche or Mustang on the track) while watching Harry race last year at Laguna Seca at “PorcheRennsport Reunion IV”. While Harry has the real thing, I live vicariously with a model of his car made by family friend Graeme Mears, world renowned model maker. Thank-you Harry and Sally for sharing your adventures with us! You are very generous.
GREG PORTER 50K UPDATE
Perhaps you have seen the movie Chariots of Fire, where runner Eric Liddel’s triumphant moment is caught in slow motion as the chariots of fire music chimes away. Well according to my wife Maaike, the finish of my first “spare of the moment mid-life crisis 50 km ultra-mountain marathon” had a lot in common with the famous movie scene, except for the fact that while I might have looked like I was being filmed in slow motion there were no special effects nor music to glorify my suffering. The reality of the moment was sealed when I managed to spill a table of coffee cups on finish line well-wishers when I used it as a crutch while lowering myself to what I was hoping to be either my grave or bed (either would have done at that moment). So despite having supplied my wife with plenty of material to remind me of my recent induction into the “mature society of 40+ year olds”, I have now found myself standing fully erect and proud of the accomplishmentof finishing the race. Kudos to me.
So what’s my next goal? Get barreled by a wave while surfing! …Why let the fact that I am an intermediate surfer, living in the mountains 10 hours away from the ocean get in the way of a good idea. I will keep you updated.
WOUTER “GRIM REAPER” VAN ESSEN
So I am pretty proud of 50K, but behind a good story there is always the source of inspiration. My inspiration to even consider running an ultra-marathon came from my “uncle in-law” (my father-in-laws twin brother) who has made a habit of entering races named “Meet Your Maker” and another named “Canadian Death Race”. These races not only come with a grim names, they come with the grim distances 125 km and with 3 mountain summits of 17,000 feet of elevation gain to boot. I recently asked Wouter what inspired him to start racing these distances:
A brief summary of my reflection on the race and life itself….
Life is all about your bucket list and goal setting. In 2004 I participated as a relay member in the Canadian Death Race, a 125 km running race through the mountains around Grande Cache, Alberta. The solo racers were awe inspiring…. Then and there I decided to put this race on my bucket list to participate as a solo racer, when I would turn 60 in 2009.
Five years later and luckily in great health, I managed to take the time to train enough to complete the race and scratch it of my bucket list. It made me wonder what else I could accomplish and I dreamt to complete a 100 miler. However time, and now age, interferes and this may be a dream forever (after giving it one failed attempt in 2010). Setting goals have to remain realistic and as I turned 63 this year, I plan limiting myself to maximum 50-80 km running ultra’s through the mountains. You just enjoy life and challenge yourself the way you can!
“STONES IN HIS POCKET AND HE KNOWS WHAT TO DO WITH THEM”
Last newsletter I mentioned Tom’s inspirational solo pilgrimage to Spains “Camino De Santiago”. Tom was kind enough to send some pictures and his upcoming plans. Tom described the story behind the photo below:
The picture is a place where you bring a rock from home and deposit it there and sort of make a wish or probably more correctly make a commitment that you want to change how and who you are in some specific way. Apparently a few people have come this way and left rocks over the years. It is called La Cruz de Ferro and is the highest point on the walk – 1505 meters. You start at sea level and end up at 200 meters in Santiago.
What is really cool about the picture is that if you look closely you will see Tom is wearing a Great Canadian Heli-Skiing ball cap. So apparently, whatever hat you are wearing serves as a commitment as well because Tom comes heli-skiing with us every year with his family and always brings lots of his friends. Since Tom did the pilgrimage he said that 4 of his friends went, all completing it this past summer, and all crediting Tom with the inspiration.Friends inspire friends to do cool things. As far as Tom’s plans for the future:
I am going back on the Camino next May – this time coming up from Portugal and then going to the coast after I get to Santiago. Just a short jaunt – 400 km – so can do it in a couple of weeks. My birthday present to myself – turning 65 in January.
NEW BUCKET LIST ADVENTURES
So you think you know somebody and then they blow your mind by doing something out of the blue, at least out of the blue for you? The reality is that many dreams have existed for a long time and are only turned into reality by a moment of un-inhibited action (and a supportive spouse). Interesting, we all love Deane for who she is and the role she plays at Great Canadian Heli-Skiing, but it has been even cooler to get to know even more about her as she has shared her journey of free wheelin’ fulfillment:
2 months ago I bought a motorbike! A thing of beauty, 2007 Yamaha Vstar.
As a teenager I had a Honda XL 100 and I travelled the local backroads, with the wind in my hair, to visit friends. It gave me freedom and a sense of independence and exhilaration. My Dad owned a Honda dealership, so there were always bikes in our yard. Since then I have often suggested to my husband that we purchase bikes and travel. I saw other couples doing this and my heart would race, but it just wasn’t his thing. It wasn’t until he saw my little cruiser on the showroom floor that he supported my dream. He called me up on the phone and said “I am buying you a bike, you better come have a look at it”. I probably would not have just bought one on my own without his and my friends and family’s encouragement. They are all worried about me but when they see how deliriously happy it makes me….well, they support my crazy new hobby.
I have since passed the first two levels of testing to achieve my Class 6 license, one more to go! God it feels great to have the wind in my face again.
SWIMMING WITH MOTOR BIKES
Jean-Paul is obviously a guy with big dreams and doesn’t mind a challenge along the way. Not only is he a regular Great Canadian Heli-Skiing guest, he also seems to have a penchant for motorbikes, vintage motor bikes to be exact. But this is no showroom admiration. When I read Jean Paul’s description of his trip to the highest road in the world and saw the pictures I couldn’t help but think that is a classic adventure (and I don’t even ride a motor bike). I have hiked in Nepal and even the good roads are terrible. I can’t imagine how difficult this ride must have been.
Good to hear so nice news from you and your great celebrations…
I like to hear from you and still dream my time with you in the lodge and over the powder…
This summer I lived another dream: Riding the highest road in the world:
5600 m high in the Himalaya range: The Khardung-la pass…with a really old fashion bike:
500 cc ROYAL ENFIELD…
We were a group of 10 drivers, with 2 female drivers, from 30 to 60 years old, all experienced drivers as in these places, you need to know how to drive, as the roads have just the name of roads…I have never seen something like that…I send you another picture of a river we had to drive through..chilling…we sleep either in small guest houses or tents free in the mountain, the head under the sky, temperature close to freezing at night…JUST PURE FUN….
The company JP went with is called Vintage Rides. They provide local bikes as you can see: 500 cc ROYAL ENFIELD…ready to run in any condition, as you can see, even under one meter of water…but they had to be serviced quite every evening… there was a little local guy doing all this work every night on all the bikes…following us with all the luggage in a van…
What a cool dream to fulfill!
MY WORST DAY EVER OWNING A HELI-SKIING COMPANY –
JULIAN CASTELLI FINDS STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN
As many of you know we do not have many down days, in fact we average only 2 full down days a year. And so, to be frank, we are not great at down day activities because we always try and get out to heliski. But apparently, dealing with propane tank leaks qualifies as a down day activity…
Last winter, on one of those two rare occasion where our guests were in the lodge patiently waiting to get out in the abundance of snow that was falling to the ground, a strange wafting odour came from our maintenance yard. Well it didn’t take much detective work to discover the source as there was a 10 foot geyser doing the ‘Old Faithful’ out of one of our 5,000 liter tanks. To add to the adventure, of course our suppliers local technician happened to be in Calgary that day, three and a half hours away. So the guides Dave Rutherford, Greg Golovach, and I were there given the following advice, “don’t smoke near it” and “try taking a wet towel and wrapping it around the leak, it might freeze and slow down the leak”. Well the leak slowed down and so have all my brain cells ever since. By 8:00pm that evening the leak was under control, our generators were back on (turned off as a precaution), and I literally ticked off one of the worst days ever.
I was reminded about this soul crushing day a few weeks ago when Julian one of our guests that witnessed this glorious moment, mentioned that he had told the story of that day many times because it was an inspirational day. Of course, my chest puffed out a bit as he spoke and my pride elevated a bit ready for him to tell me how my heroic actions and my succinct leadership in the face of danger inspired him to lead his own business to great success. I have to admit I was slightly deflated and a little confused when he told me that on that very day Julian decided he was going to learn guitar, something that he had been conspiring to do for years. As I hadn’t put the pieces together yet, he told me that while I was out losing my mind about this propane leak, the lodge staff in the darkness of the lodge rallied all the guests up into the lounge with guitars, drums, pots, pans and voices, and did an impromptu jam session worthy in length of a Greatful Dead Concert. While the music was cranking and guests and staff laughing and singing, Julian leaned over to Kalon, one of our guitar strumming chefs, and asked “so how long have you been playing”, at which Kalon grinned and replied “6 months”. Julian went back to Utah, bought a guitar, signed up for lessons and is now ready to write, play and sing “Stairway to Heli-Heaven at Heather Mountain Lodge”, without the Pyro Technics of course.
What an amazing team of staff we have at the lodge. Not only did they inspire Julian just to go for it and play instead of dream and watch, they were even able to make me look good on one of my worst days of owning a heli-skiing company! Check the lodge houseband, unofficially dubbed “The Heathers”, jamming for our opening ski flick last year (right).
Dream Less Live More.