26June 2018

How a Crazy Idea Became Reality

“You’re crazy! We can’t do that.”

Have you ever let this phrase be a jumping off point for a brainstorm session:

“Wouldn’t it be great if…”?

Whether it’s about your work, your vacation, or that extreme birthday scavenger hunt you’re planning, you let your imagination have at it for a few minutes. No limits. No practicalities or the usual nay-saying derailing the game. Just so you can dream big for a minute.

I think it’s a really important exercise to try on once in a while. But it doesn’t always go somewhere the first try.

The grown-up, ‘come on, be realistic’ voice returns pretty quickly, at full volume.

And that’s exactly what happened the first time Jeff suggested the idea of micro heli-skiing.

Let me explain:

There’s a few days every year, at the very beginning and the very end of the season, where we only get the bare minimum number of guests together to fly. The extreme shoulder season. Well ahead of the rush.

But it’s a score for whoever showed up, because they lucked into a small group, a private helicopter dedicated to them for every lift, no critical mass of other skiers limiting the logistics and the terrain for the day.

It’s simple and swift, the heli is ALLLL about the leg room, and we can bounce around freely to wherever the best pow is to be found.

At the end of days like that, everyone feels blessed. Stoked squared.

They weren’t very profitable days, but they blew the doors off all expectations. It felt like that’s what we all imagine. Like the way it’s supposed to be.

So Jeff said to me one day… ‘Wouldn’t it be great if that’s how we operated every day?’

And I was like, ‘Yeah, ha, dreamer, back of the class, that can’t work.’

But post knee-jerk reaction, we stared at each other. We imagined it. There was a flutter.
What if:
  • All our heli-skiing was private heli-skiing, but made more affordable than typical private packages, with minimal overhead and a small, expert team?
  • What if we built only small groups, with two certified guides, rolling comfortably around the terrain in our powerful, spacious and nimble Bell 205?
  • What if we flew right from the base of Kicking Horse, so people could combine the awesomeness of the local inbounds skiing, the slick accommodations, the après-ski, the dining, the hot tub and the heli-skiing all in one place for one unforgettable holiday?
  • What if we took away every limit we could think of, and let only one group per day roam 2000 square kilometres of backcountry, guided only by the hunger for deep, fast turns?

It sounded amazing. It sounded like what we would choose, knowing everything we know.

When we picture the ideal way to heli-ski, this is definitely it.


Along with the excitement, we felt resistance. Guilt. Pressure. Shouldn’t we always try to keep growing? Getting bigger? Wouldn’t this be going backwards?

Heli-ski guide makes a massive wave of powder while turning

A week later, we re-visited.

We found a new layer of resistance. But this time, one we felt in charge of, instead of bound by.

We decided we would resist getting bigger. We would resist the typical business advice, to move as many people as possible, to be driven only by the balance sheet. The typical trajectory. We’d focus on what we could do better than anyone else.

Here’s the insight:

The things we care about most won’t survive by getting bigger and bigger. So instead, we’re going to distill those things into something smaller. Something where those values are always front and centre.

Expert guiding. Professionalism and safety. Personality and real connections. The love of powder skiing.

Because small is our strength. Once we let ourselves imagine what would be the absolute best experience, and threw out the fear of being smaller, it all clicked into place.

The heli is YOURS.

The terrain is YOURS.

The waist-deep pow turns, and LOTS of them, are ready for the taking.

The boutique accommodations will be only steps away.

Do you picture yourself as a private heli-skiing kind of person? Did you think you would ever book out a chopper for you and your friends, and have 2000 square kilometres of backcountry to yourself? Does that sound totally crazy?

Maybe it’s not.

Bedroom at Copper Horse Lodge

What about you?

What ideas or obstacles in your life could use some extra room to breathe?

Sometimes there’s possibilities we think we can’t consider. Directions that feel out of bounds. And so we spin around within the same small box, wondering why the solution won’t come.

But creative solutions are often left-field solutions. Ones that come from thinking BIG. Ones that sneak up on you right at the moment when you let your mental guard down. The guard that sticks to words like CAN’T. SHOULDN’T. etc.

Here’s the thing:

The one thing you have that nobody else does is YOU. Your voice. Your energy. Your story. Your vision.

Don’t limit that. We promise not to.

And so far, this crazy idea has been catching on.

After talking with our client base over the winter, it seems like you agree that this is gonna be GOOD. You want in.

This spring was such a flurry of people ready to jump on board, sight unseen, that February is already half sold out.

Want to see where crazy ideas have taken us, and could take you?




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