April 08, 2014

Spring Skiing In The Bugaboos

Skiing Leo's Line on a fine spring day in the North Frenchman.

It's hard to believe that another heli-ski season is coming to an end. In a few days, I'll head back to the lodge for the final two week shift of the year. Once over, I'll have worked almost sixteen weeks between guiding and training. When I think back to where I was last year at this time, - hobbling around with a walker, living on narcotics, battling nerve-pain and unable to do a single push-up, it's hard to understand how the body healed itself to this point. But I'm glad it did! 

Dani L skiing in Rory Creek with the Howsers in the background.

Rachel and Hilary admiring the view from Dome in the Quintets.

The Panda and the Unicorn.

Dani L amongst the Larch in the home drainage.

Coming in to perfect conditions on Route 66 in the 4 Squatters area.

Looking back towards the Spires from Route 66.

March 17, 2014

2 Favorite Flying Videos

A worthy way to spend the next 4 minutes.

A worthy way to spend the next 2 minutes.

And speaking of flying low. Skiing on Pearl in the East Creek Drainage of the Bugaboos.

February 28, 2014

Canadian Snow and Ice

Jeff Mac skiing Wolfin at CMH Bugaboos with the Howser Towers in the distance.

Well, it's been nearly 2 months since I posted anything so here's a few shots from the time in between. There's been: lots of heli-skiing, lots of snow, some warm days, some really cold days, a long time without snow before the snow, some ice climbing and even the occasional speed flight!

It's hard to believe that the season is over half way through. When the alarm went off at 7am this morning, there was the faintest light in the sky and the silhouette of the Bugaboo Spires on the skyline. Spring is on the way.  

Eirik S skiing Ole.

Snow safety on Frenchman High.

J Mac checking out Dogleg in East Creek

Pineau Nico airing it out on the tele sticks in Rory Creek.

Eirik going down on the French Tickler

A snowy day in the home drainage! Dani Loewenstein Photo.

J Mac skiing in East Creek.

Sweet Sara climbing Moonlight in Evan Thomas Creek.

P. Delaney and guest half way up the climb.

Hey Mom! Look what I climbed!

January 08, 2014

Heli Skiing in the Bugaboos 2014

Nico P unhinged on Kickoff. Not a bad way to end a 17 day tour. It's funny that we've moved away from leashes in ice climbing, but most of us still ski around the hills with heels leashed firmly in place. Seems a little funny. So if you ever find yourself getting bored with the same ol alpine turn, maybe it's time to step it up and unhinge the heel. What's the saying? Unhinge your mind and the rest will follow. Something like that.

It's no secret that it's been a slow start to the season. But after a few big dumps in the past few days, you'd never know. With a return to zonal flow, it looks like 2014 is starting to put out.

Looking back at 2013, I'm glad to see it go. It's not that there wasn't a great deal of positivity that came out of the year, it's just that, well, I spent a lot of it in a drugged out stupor on the couch. And the couch sucks! So really what I'm saying is that I'm stoked to be back at it, cruising around the hills, getting face shots and planning future adventures. Infact, I often find myself in a state of disbelief to be moving around like a normal person. Every time I walk around the helicopter, or climb a flight of stairs, or get out of bed without a mountain of effort, the action is laced with a drop of wonder. Is it for real? Am I really back in the arena? Or is this the post crash dream? Hard saying some days. The only thing I can say for certain is that I'm lucky to have the perspective. Here's to a 2014 full of soft landings, good health and much love.

Bryon W skiing Rory Creek. 

Kenny B - affectionately known as Kendra after a week of skiing with the all ladies powder into - checking the ski quality on FM. 

J Mac The Sac proving.that the skiing is always good for the guy out front.

J Mac going down on Grumpy's.

Psycho Mike P riding The Queen in Rory Creek.

NYE 2014. 

December 25, 2013

Start of Another Winter Season

Bryan W skiing on the run Allouette in Rory Creek - CMH Bugaboos.

There is something about starting another heli-ski season that highlights the passing of time. Where did the last year go? How did it go so fast considering that a good chunk of it was spent convalescing on a couch? Whatever the case, I feel fortunate to be back at work, pounding it out on the snowy battlefield, loading skis, digging pits, eating too much food and getting blasted by arctic rotor wash. This probably sounds tongue in cheek but it's not. Sometimes, there's nothing like a big wreck to remind you how good the everyday really is. Happy Holidays!

Josh Briggs revving the engine for the ride in to Professor Falls in Banff National Park.

Josh B on one of Professors many pitches.

The final pitch of Professors. 

Another view of the final pitch. Two days later, I guided a long time client Jim F up the route. It was a bitter cold day with temps dipping down to -22C at the base of the route. This made for a cold morning bike ride.

Jim F climbing in to the cave on the final pitch.

Bryon W doing snow safety on a beautiful day in Rory Creek.

December 18, 2013

Apple iPad Commercial And Behind The Scenes With The Baffin Island Pirelli / Base Shoot

A couple of good videos / commercials for a snowy day in Canmore. I worked safety / snow safety on both these shoots and it was great to team up with the Camp 4 Collective each time. This style of shooting is quite intense with potential for big reward or catastrophic failure, and you never really know how it's going to turn out until the last minute.

In the Apple commercial, we spent six days in the area but were only able to shoot for two days due to weather. We spent about fourteen hours strapped to the Central Howser Tower to get ten seconds of footage for the commercial. On the first day of shooting, the weather turned and the winds picked up and we almost had to spend the night on the summit. On the second day of shooting, the clouds closed in right at the level of the potaledge and we had to haul it to a higher level and set it above the clouds. In the end, the sea of clouds made for some spectacular scenery.

As for the Baffin Base / Ski Shoot, the challenges are pretty well documented in the piece below. Looking back, it's funny how the biggest problems end up creating the best results.

The Apple iPad shoot from the Bugaboos is now live. Our section from the Central Howser Tower is the final 12 seconds.

Premontato from Adrian Moat on Vimeo.

Behind the scenes look at the Baffin Island Base / Ski shoot from last year. 

December 02, 2013

Kootenay Mountain Culture - ACMG Ski Guide Exam in the Bugaboos

A photo from the latest Kootenay Mountain Culture that I took during the 2011 ACMG Ski Guide Exam. This was taken from the Crescent Traverse. The prominent ridge in the background is the NE Ridge of Bugaboo Spire. I was lucky enough to be working in the area all winter and have been doing so every winter since. Not a bad place to work!

December 01, 2013

Bugaboos Apple iPad Photo Shoot

Hilaree O jugging to the top after the shoot.

A few months ago, I posted some climbing shots from the Bugaboos. At the time, I couldn't say too much about the project because it was still on-going. But now that the commercial is out, there is no need to remain tight lipped.

The shoot was for the new Apple iPad and the guys running the show were the Camp 4 Collective - the same team that put together the Baffin Island Pirelli Tire project. The basic storyline went something like this: girl in tent is flipping through her ipad and then the camera pulls out and you realize that the tent is actually a portaledge strapped to the side of a massive, rimed-up wall. In the end, we got really lucky with the weather and everything worked out - read: we got the shots and didn't have to bivy on the summit of the Central Howser Tower. But it was close! In the end, this style of shooting is always an adventure and I look forward to doing more in the future.

Here are some behind-the-scenes shots from Jimmy, Renan and myself.

Day 2 of the shoot after pulling the ledge above the clouds to get the shot. Jimmy Chin Photo.

Me and Jeff R hanging out on top and trying to stay out of the shots. Jimmy Chin Photo.

Jimmy and Renan getting the indoors shots.

Renan going over the edge on Day 1.

Jugging with a heavy and expensive camera!

Hilaree and Renan on Day 1.

Cool plug for the Bugaboos.

Flying around on the morning of Day 2.

Pilot Paul making it look good with Pigeon in the background.

Hilaree O jugging to the top on Day 1. The weather took a nasty turn at this point and I think we all thought we would be spending the night out. Thanks to Paul M who plucked us off despite the strong winds. This was the most impressive piece of flying I've seen.  Renan Ozturk Photo.

October 30, 2013

Radical Reels at Banff Mtn Film Fest 2013

Chasing Summits from shams on Vimeo.

The paragliding movie Chasing Summits was one of a few great films at Radical Reels. 

It's been a time since I last went to Radical Reels at the Banff Mountain Film Fest. More often then not, travel or apathy are to blame. But this year the stars aligned and I found myself at the show. Josh Dueck, of sit-ski back flip fame, did a great job hosting the event and the line-up of films was awesome. 

Of course, every one is going to have their personal likes, but to me, there were two stand-outs. The first was the paragliding film Chasing Summits. Basically, three Euro guys went to Pakistan's Hunza Valley and flew paragliders amongst some of the highest and most bad-ass mountains on the planet. From a pilot's perspective, this was a really impressive journey and in typical Euro style, they pulled it off with many laughs and a good look in to the local culture. They made the adventure as much about the local people and culture as it was about their flying and I find this style very refreshing after getting bombarded by some of the North American look-at-me-being-rad films. Plus, the soundtrack was pretty good.

Chasing Summits seemed to be well-received by the audience, but I couldn't help but wonder if the film was lost on the crowd as a whole. Do you need to be a paraglider yourself to appreciate how far-out this sort of activity is? I remember watching people fly around before I got into the sport and it just looked like a bunch of fat, old, lazy dudes bobbing around in the sky. Not terribly exciting. But after learning a bit more about the sport, you quickly realize how little there is between you and the ground. 

 The Sensei  - replete with wisdom, laughs, great climbing and a tight narartive.  

The other film that really appealed to me was the climbing film The Sensei. In short, this was the story about the teacher / student relationship between aging Japanese rock-master Yuji Hirayama and the super strong - if not a little unpolished - American climber Daniel Woods. A great look at the contrasting styles between East and West, age and youth.

And if you're looking to eat up a few more minutes of your day, here are two worthy videos from the flying world.