Where were you in your career when you won a SAMMY, and big moments since?
It was such a super exciting time for me and the industry (2000). I was working on the first two large-scale re-development resort projects in North America—Kimberley Alpine Resort and Fernie Alpine Resort. Working with the community, team and guests to create a ski-in and ski-out village, new lifts, expanded terrain. Sharing these amazing stories about these incredible places and their meteoric rise to popularity, and the immense growth in visitation to the Powder Highway (famous for the largest density of ski resorts, cat skiing operations, ski touring lodges, and heli skiing in the world, and aptly known for the over 50 feet of snow a year!). Also, getting the green light for what was at the time the largest rural airport project, working with community leaders, provincial and federal government on a dream to create a gateway to the world, Canadian Rockies International, and starting the first non-stop flight program from a major U.S. city to a mountain runway in western Canada.
I am fortunate to have been involved in many important capital and tourism infrastructure projects. But the most important for me is sharing the incredible good times of the mountains with super-passionate people of each of our communities, amazing teams, and all of our guests.
When I won my SAMMY, I was very fortunate to have had both a legendary mountain guide who had a vision to bring this incredible portfolio of amazing ski resorts together, combined with the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work with the smartest, hardest working, most inspirational and innovative entrepreneur, financier and business leader, Murray Edwards.
Best Day/Worst Day/Most Memorable in the business?
Always the best [are the days when I'm] sharing high fives with our guests and team!
Worst: Too many to list [but here are some] ...Setting up a golf meeting for the owner, and I agreed to a friendly bet on the game. Now I know why those guys did not warm up at the driving range, and thank goodness for a lightening storm cutting short my misery. BTW, during that same golf game I almost knocked out a Super Bowl winning quarterback! Another one that ranks right up there on the “don't do” list is throwing a bun across the restaurant at the owner and breaking his wine glass, with an explosion of juice onto his suit that probably had more value than my first car.
Most Memorable: So grateful for all the passionate people who I have been fortunate enough to spend time with.
Who was/is a memorable mentor?
I have been very fortunate to have many. Murray Edwards shared the importance of focus, intense passion, and always take care of those on your rope.
Did you ever almost leave the industry, and why? Why did you stay?
Four times, for sure—for good: A grizzly bear, crevice, avalanche, and the Arctic.
If you could work in another industry doing something completely different, what would it be?
This was my vision from a young age, to share the goodness of the outdoors. Skiing is my life and I have been so grateful for the incredible people I have met through it, for the family tradition it has provided, and for the amazing benefits of spending time outside in magical and sacred places.
When was the last time you actually purchased a lift ticket?
I never have. I was a fat kid whose life was saved by a chiseled face, big life smile ski instructor who shared “freedom” with me. Thanks mom and dad for making this all possible, as they paid for my first “racer pass,” and from there the rest is ski bum history (I can't share all of my secrets).
How many days do you go without washing your ski / snowboard socks?
You wash your ski socks?
What's the last thing you searched on Google?
Best powder snow.
I love powder. Mountains. Rivers. Getting lost in British Columbia with my friends and family.
Where do you keep your SAMMY Award?
I lost it the night I won it. I think it went home with the cab driver, I don't know. Heck, it was a super fun night, great people and craft beer.
Thoughts on the future?
Disruption, that's one. We are not doing enough of it.
“Ski-bumming” has all of the elements of the sharing economy, but we need to do more to integrate this into today's travellers' experience—every mountain town has passionate people ready to share adventure, skis, or après experience. We need to tap deeper into this “local” and make it come alive for the everyday person to book these nuggets of life.
Another thing is, we need to dig deeper to share beyond the constant hucking, slicing, and thrashing, to having stories about the amazing, powerful, and magnetic pull our winter wonderland can have on people of other ethnic backgrounds. I have brought many first timers [out skiing], and when they feel the kiss of snow for the first time, that watermelon-wide smile they have is so contagious! Less of the same and more of the wild nuggets that captivate, and ultimately brought me into this tribe in the first place—crazy people having a super good time outside. That's it. Real simple.