The Passing of MWHS Founder and Ski Industry Legend Mike Wiegele 1938-2021
July 15, 2021
Blue River, British Columbia
Mike Wiegele, whose passion and gritty determination both created and fulfilled the world’s heliskiing dreams for more than 50 years, has died aged 82.
The entire team of Mike Wiegele Helicopter Skiing (MWHS) extend their deepest sympathies to the Wiegele family, most notably Mike’s wife Bonnie, their daughter Michelle and their grandson Charlie.
Mike’s close and enduring relationships stretched to a broad community of colleagues, guests and friends from all walks of life, whose kinships were regularly forged on skis, on bikes, and on hikes up mountain trails. On behalf of the entire staff of MWHS, we extend condolences to all those connected to Mike across Canada and around the world.
A humble farm boy from Austria, Mike emigrated to Canada in 1959 to chase his ski dreams. Arriving with no English, he first was employed as a carpenter-builder, a harbinger of things to come. After working as a ski instructor at Mont Tremblant and Sugar Bowl, with ski racing and “real mountains” in his DNA, he soon moved West. Mike went from instructor to director of Lake Louise Ski School at lightning speed. It was there he met and, in 1967, married Bonnie Derome, an accomplished athlete and astute businesswoman who would be pivotal in building their future enterprise.
At the heart of it all was a visceral love for skiing. In 1976, Bonnie and Mike started the Banff Quikies which evolved into Banff Alpine Racers, growing from seven young racers to 500 over the first five years. His coaching at Lake Louise Ski Club produced six National Team athletes. This enthusiasm for all things skiing was at the core of Mike’s long life.
“When I raced in Austria and later in Canada, I always went skiing after the race was done,” he relayed to one those students, World Cup and Olympic medalist Ken Read, on receipt of the Honoured Lifetime Builder Award from the Canadian Rockies Ski Racing Hall of Fame. “At the end of the season, my friends would call me to come to the year-end banquets where I would receive all these trophies, because I had missed the awards ceremonies as I was out skiing after every race. I just loved it so much!”
His passion for life on skis, combined with being a fearless entrepreneur, led Mike to the mountains of British Columbia—the perfect place for the new sport of helicopter skiing. In 1970, Mike offered his first heli-skiing trip in Valemount, BC: despite attracting no guests, he remained undeterred. “I thought he was a little bit cuckoo,” said Bonnie of his early plans. “He was always a bit of a dreamer, and it was his dream to ski in these mountains.”
Mike would soon establish Blue River, BC as base for Mike Wiegele Helicopter Skiing, an enterprise which, over five decades, he marshalled into an industry leading, internationally renowned resort. In 1978, he launched the Powder 8 World Championships and a decade later was instrumental in bringing fat ski technology to the people. His drive and innovation established many of the foundations the heliski industry, and his commitment to safety led to the establishment of many industry standards and an important avalanche research programme in conjunction with University of Calgary. In 1990, he established the Canadian Ski Guides Association, opening the door for Canadians to train as heliski guides.
Among numerous commendations awarded him: The Bravery Award from the Governor General of Canada; The Marshall Award for Excellence from Canada West Ski Areas Association for outstanding contribution to the betterment of the ski industry; the Honour Roll of Canadian Skiing for outstanding contributions to the growth and development of skiing in Canada; Hall of Fame from the Canadian Ski Instructor Alliance; Banff Sports Hall of Fame; Austria’s prestigious Goldenes Verdienstzeichen Gold Medal. In 2019, Thompson Rivers University awarded Mike an Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree.
In 2019, under Mike’s leadership, MWHS celebrated its 50th anniversary. In advance of this milestone, Mike hand-picked and trained a management team to lead the company into the next 50 years, ensuring his dream, his passion for safety and his high standard for customer service would continue.
Competitor, coach, pioneer, entrepreneur, husband, father, and man of the mountains. We remember the motto by which Mike lived his life, and we carry it with us in our hearts and into the mountains.
“Let’s Go Skiing”
To share memories and condolences, see below.
The Mike Wiegele Avalanche Association Fund
In lieu of alternative expressions of condolence, and to ensure Mike's legacy and dedication to safety in the mountains continues, the Wiegele family has established the Mike Wiegele Avalanche Association Fund. This fund will support safety and loss prevention through avalanche research by either funding or supporting individuals or groups advancing meaningful research to benefit the avalanche community. It will be administered by a Board of Directors made up of members of the Wiegele Family and senior MWHS Management. Mike's family would appreciate you honouring him through a contribution to this fund.
Image resources are available to download here:
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Submitted by George Stern on Tue, 07/20/2021 - 11:51
Was it staying at the Venture with Big Vern’s inedible food and Mike saying “one day this will be the finest resort”? Or was it the day we made a fire on Diamond Head in the rain and Mike gave Ricky D and Dr. Robin suits as compensation? Was it the first time we ate in the Lodge and saw a part of the dream become reality? Was it when we first stayed in one of the “new Chalets”? Was it when Mike rescued “Cartwheel” off the cliffs of Cedars North? Was it the time in the dining room where we were sending shots back and forth with the Bavarians and I said “SHUT UP MIKE!”? Was it one of those early December trips where Mike guided us and made notes all the time regarding any improvements we suggested (and within a few weeks the changes were made if he agreed with them)? Is it when I gaze at one of the Don Harvey Originals in my office? Was it when we first joined the Bruderschaft (number 45)? Was it the first time we got into an A-Star? Was it the first time I brought my son and Mike gave us a photo that he signed with his trademark tagline “lets go skiing”? It was all of those and more! So many more amazing memories and to top it all off, the thrill of meeting a man so passionate, so driven, and so much fun all rolled into one. We have been lucky to have met a man like Mike who changed our world and made it a much better place. I was 32 my first trip to Blue and am 69 now and basically have not missed a year of skiing with Mike and some Years twice. I know the landings, the runs, the mountains, and many of the amazing Guides and staff that Mike trained and guided to make each guest’s visit special and memorable. Great skiing, great accommodation, fabulous food but best of all was knowing Mike and watching him grow the dream. It was his dream. He made it come true, and everybody; guests, staff, friends and neighbours all are better for this one man’s vision. To say he will be missed is shallow at best.
Submitted by Chris Thoms on Tue, 07/20/2021 - 09:45
RestInPowder Mike. My condolences to the whole Wiegele family.
I was fortunate to meet Mike, Martin, Genevieve, and others on my week trip to Wiegele World in February of 2004. For this week and the many memories, I hold dear Mike's powder playground.
Please continue his legacy of the best skiing in North America, along with the amazing hospitality the whole Wiegele family extends to its guests, and honor his moto "Let's Go Skiing".
Wayne, IL USA
Submitted by Bill Gardiner on Tue, 07/20/2021 - 09:25
Mike allowed me to enjoy one of my bucket list life experiences. He will be missed but not forgotten.
A true good person
Submitted by Michelle Janze on Tue, 07/20/2021 - 08:49
I worked in the Blue River office one ski season. It was 1980 or 1981 I believe. It was a wonderful experience. Only a few of the cabins had been built. You've now grown to 220 employees! We were 2 in the office and ski guides. It was such a warm family like working atmosphere. Mike was a terrific person to work for. I would very much like to be at the memorial.
My deepest condolences to Bonnie, Michelle and Mike's extended family.
Submitted by Sylvia, Nichol… on Tue, 07/20/2021 - 08:44
Wir haben Mike am Kitesurf Beach auf Maui kennengelernt und viele interessante Gespräche geführt, während er auf Bonnie gewartet hat. Mike war weltoffen, humorvoll und großzügig. Er hat gerne seine Erfahrungen und sein Wissen geteilt. Wir werden ihn sehr vermissen.
Submitted by Guntram Weisse… on Tue, 07/20/2021 - 07:57
I noticed in your article you did not mention that Mike, along with 7 guests, broke the world record for most vertical feet skied in a week in 1982. My father Guntram Weissenberger, also an Austrian born immigrant (to the US), skied with Mike that week in which they skied 243,000 vertical feet in 6 and 1/2 days. While for todays standards it does not seem like much, this was before the days of fat boy skis and other technologies. I believe the record held until fat boys came along. Mike was a dear friend of my fathers and we send our condolences to his family - he provided many people with many great memories!
all the best,
Submitted by Peter Bellos on Tue, 07/20/2021 - 07:21
Mike Wiegele Tribute
Reading through the many wonderful posts celebrating Mike’s life, I am reminded of his graciousness and keen awareness of the individual. I knew Mike from ski racing in the late 60’s and early 70’s, yet several years later while returning home from BYU to Kamloops for the Christmas holiday, Mike got on the same Greyhound bus. As he got on the bus he recognized my face among the many travelers in the dim light of that late night. I appreciated his company and interest in what I was doing as we rode from Calgary to Banff. Years later while working at Cariboo College Mike hosted my wife and me for a night stay in Valemount. I have skied many days yet not one with Mike but I will always remember his gracious awareness of the individual.
At times like this I reflect upon Mary Magdalene as she stood at the empty tomb doorway and thru her tear filled eyes she was the first to witness, for all of us, there is much more to life than mortality. John 30:11-17
With that hope I express my condolences to Bonnie, Michelle and family.
I will always remember Mike and his kindness to me.
Submitted by Susanne Fränkl… on Tue, 07/20/2021 - 03:08
We want to send a big ThankYou for so many great moments in Blue River during and next to the Powder8Championships. We always admired Mike for his love and enthusiasm for skiing in untouched nature, his generosity and friendliness. Our thoughts are with his family and we say goodbye from Ehrwald/Austria and Hamburg/Germany.
Submitted by Ute and Jörg Wolf on Tue, 07/20/2021 - 01:51
We met Mike in Blue River in February 2016 when our dream of heliskiing finally came true.
For us it was a fantastic and unique experience. Apart from great skiing we were absolutely impressed by the safety system Mike had developed. He was a pioneer in so many ways.
Our thoughts go out to his family and close friends
Ute and Jörg from Germany
Submitted by Dr. Scott Negri on Mon, 07/19/2021 - 21:06
Mike Wiegele was an extraordinary man, a dreamer and a kind man who loved for us all to go skiing with him. His ethics and commitment to safety and excellence are an example of utmost fineness, that all of us of any profession can only wish to achieve. I enjoyed his humble company many times and his guides and staff revered him, honored him and understood and loved him . I was blessed by incredbible days and weeks in his tenure of mountains. I relished in his honor and hugs as I was awarded a silver buckle. An average, adventurous skier, I had learned to excel in his mountains under his leadership via his guides and their coaching and encouragement. All because Mike created the opportunity for me to live out and experience a skiing dream. The quality of the experience with Mike and his family of employees will always outshine any measurement of success or vertical feet. It just feels like it was the entire universe. God bless Mike Wiegele, his family, guides, and staff. R.I.P. , my special skiing friend. Until we ride again.
Submitted by Mary Ann Gardn… on Mon, 07/19/2021 - 19:23
I too remember many days at Louise with Jane, Barb MacGoo Renner …we followed Mike on slopes we wouldn’t have ventured to without a trusted leader …and we learned. Well remembered. Condolences to his family.
Submitted by Cindy Cordonier on Mon, 07/19/2021 - 19:12
I met Mike some years ago. He was a very down to earth person that you ever want to meet. He asked about you, your interests and your family when he talked with me. Mike cared about everyone he was in contact with. I’ll never forget that moment with him.
My condolences to Mike’s family ⛷
Submitted by Dmytro on Mon, 07/19/2021 - 18:43
I am neither a heliskier nor did I know Mike Wiegele. I worked as lawyer in Kamloops, often doing duty counsel, representing people appearing in court without a lawyer. In the course of my work I represented two people, both of whom formerly worked as loggers in the Blue River area, both of whom were injured in work accidents, and both of whom were airlifted by MW helicopters to Kamloops. They both said that if not for Mike Wiegele they would not have made it.
Submitted by Daniel Tanguay on Mon, 07/19/2021 - 17:27
My condolences to the Wiegele family.
Submitted by Karen Connolly… on Mon, 07/19/2021 - 17:11
Our sincere condolences on the passing of Mike. Although we didn't meet you and Mike until you were walking at Origin, we enjoyed seeing you both walking daily too and stopping for a brief chat or wave. We also enjoyed skiing and know the feeling and love of sliding down the mountains. I hope your memories, family and mountains help you through this time.
Submitted by Tom Bunnell on Mon, 07/19/2021 - 16:57
Growing up and watching ski movies, I always was enamored with those red heli's with the MW logo. I always said "one day I will go to Wiegele's" It seemed an impossible dream, until one day I received a phone call from my brother in law. "I have three days at Wiegele's for you." Heart racing, I accepted. The catch was I had to get there on my own. Of course I made the eight hour white knuckle drive up the Blue River Hwy. only to arrive in the most welcoming, fun, amazing place on earth. My dream had come true and fortunately I got to go again the next year. I made lifelong friends on those trips and that is what skiing/snowboarding is about. Mike is the catalyst for that and for that I am forever thankful.
RIP Mike Wiegele, you nailed it!
Submitted by Ray Brandstaetter on Mon, 07/19/2021 - 16:49
Mike was my Uncle Val’s brother. At the age of 11, I was fortunate enough to spend one Christmas break staying with Mike in his cabin behind the Post Hotel in Lake Louise - this was pre-Bonnie. What a fantastic 5 days spent skiing with all the instructors all day long. He was definitely my ski hero and every night when we arrived back at the cabin I marveled at his assortment of skis and ski sweaters from every leading manufacturer of the latest equipment and skiwear. The moment that still stands out in my memory was during this stay the instructors and maintenance crew built a huge ski jump near the mountain lodge and setup a contest for the lunch crowd. I would estimate that all of the jumpers were flying 40-60 feet. When it came time for Mike he came over the jump and one ski was missing - no problem he flew through the air and landed on one ski and then proceeded to slalom through the trees and disappeared out of sight. My sincerest condolences to Bonnie, Michelle, Charlie and entire MWHS family.
Submitted by John Swenarchuk on Mon, 07/19/2021 - 14:16
I have lived and worked in the Wiegele world as a cook in Blue River for many seasons.
To have had the honour of being invited to ski with Mike on several occasions is a memory for the ages. Getting sort of lost with him on Saddle Mountain was priceless. He was always very complimentary of food that was prepared by myself and kitchen crews at both the Saddle, main lodge and Albreda Lodge. After working for other operations, and returning to Mike Wiegele, it is clear that it is the benchmark of excellence. This is no doubt because of Mike's pursuit of perfection.
My condolences to the family whom I have had the chance to interact with over the seasons spent at the resort.
You are with the snow gods now Mike. Happy Skiing!
Submitted by Norm and Shirl… on Mon, 07/19/2021 - 14:02
Thinking of you and your family in these very difficult times and sending our love. Mike was wonderful inspiration to us all. Love you Bonnie, Norm and Shirley.
Submitted by Jane Gallie on Mon, 07/19/2021 - 12:27
Mike taught me how to powder snow ski at Lake Louise many, many years ago. I will never forget his big smile, yodel and famous ski pole click!!!
Submitted by Ivan G. Somlai on Mon, 07/19/2021 - 11:42
Since our collaboration on a ski club at Lake Louise in the winter of 1969, Mike and I remained friends and in touch during my peripatetic academic and work life. We closely reconnected in the mid-80s when his office was in Banff and he asked me to develop a more comprehensive guiding manual. It was then that I gradually was exposed to his vision –perhaps I should say visions--of numerous possibilities in the development of mountain tourism, and especially heli-skiing.
Having decided to shift to a permanent base in Blue River, Mike and I collaborated on planning of improved professional training for Guides, as well as the introduction to the business of base staff, including food services, accommodation and related hiring and training. This time allowed for more intensive discussions and probing of Mike’s intentions and debates regarding realistic possibilities. We often (amicably) disagreed on his clear-sighted vision versus my more unemotional perspective; and just as frequently his foresight and inspiration trumped my previous hesitations.
As Mike’s dream flourished in the ensuing years, we continued occasional collaboration in avalanche research, ski association, human-wildlife interface and government relations, each aspect exposing his concerns and insights. As with any previous initiatives, his intuitive creativity stimulated his staff, invigorated the guiding profession and vitalized this unique tourism sector.
With the undeniably complementary and comprehensive support by his wife, Bonnie and daughter Michelle, “Dr. MW” succeeded in elevating a fringe activity to an internationally recognized, growing speciality.
May he rest in peace, may his family be consoled, and like leaves falling in Autumn, may his life contribute to an ever brighter Spring. Grüß Gott, Mike!
Submitted by Matthew Decore on Mon, 07/19/2021 - 09:58
Dear Bonnie, Michelle, Charlie and the entire Mike Wiegele Heli-Ski Family:
Big thanks to Mike for fearlessly pioneering his dream into reality so that we can all come meet to experience his wonderful dream together.
Our heartfelt condolences to you upon word of Mike's passing.
Sincerely, Matt and Lyndon Decore
Submitted by Al & Bonnie Michel on Mon, 07/19/2021 - 08:57
We wish to convey our deepest sympathies to Bonnie and family on Mike's on learning of this sad news. Al remembers Mike well from our ski bumming early days at Lake Louise, also remembering that our spouses shared the same name and we shared the same wedding date. When Mike was thinking of starting heli skiing in the North Thompson he would say " these towns are sleeping" referring to the tiny villages of Blue River, Valemount and Avola. Wow, did he ever wake them up!
Submitted by Melissa Silva on Mon, 07/19/2021 - 08:37
First I want to send my love and warm condolences to Bonnie and Michelle and Charlie. I am so sorry for your loss! And the loss for all of us. I want to say how grateful I am to Mike to have given me such an amazing opportunity for 8 years working there way back when. I had experiences in those mountains that brought me to tears many times just being in that splendor! Then he gave me away at my my wedding to Jake Lombard atop Wedding Peak! I will never forget the generosity of this amazing man and what he created for so many to experience. The stores are endless. I rejoice in your freedom! Love, Heli Meli
Submitted by Wolfgang Reischl on Mon, 07/19/2021 - 08:29
After nearly 30 years of skiing in your wonderfull area,I`m very sad to hear that Mike is now in his skier heaven.
A last "Servus" from Hooger Booger, making zigzag with his snowboard in cedar mountain!!
Submitted by Volkstumsgrupp… on Mon, 07/19/2021 - 08:17
The mountains, the snow, the helicopters, the resort and Mike alone would have been enough for anyone to enjoy life among the Monashees and Cariboos.
But Mike also wanted music from his Austrian homeland and as a friend of St. Anton am Arlberg he made it possible for our group D'Arlberger to make the trip to Blue River twice and experience some of the best ski days of our lives.
We are proud to call Mike Wiegele, the founder of MWHS and incomparable promoter of skiing, our intimate friend and were honored to have his wife Bonnie and him join the group as honorary members.
We are very sad to lose this friend now and will remember him together with good music on stage.
Our thoughts are with Bonnie and Michelle and all friends who will miss Mike as much as we do.
Keep on skiing in heaven Mike, you don't need helicopters there!
Submitted by Tourism Associ… on Mon, 07/19/2021 - 07:54
St. Anton am Arlberg, as the cradle of alpine skiing, and the powder paradise around Blue River, founded and led by Mike Wiegele, have maintained a deep friendship and efficient cooperation for many years.
All this has been carried over the decades from the Canadian side by Mike Wiegele personally, who with his enthusiasm and professionalism has not only led his own company to great success, but has also always supported St. Anton am Arlberg. For this reason, Mike was also awarded the golden tourism eagle of the region.
We lose not only a great person and an excellent connoisseur of winter sports but above all an irreplaceable friend.
Dear Mike, we will miss you!
Submitted by Captain Chris … on Mon, 07/19/2021 - 07:34
I met Mike only once when I was there skiing the 7 best days of my life on your 50th year anniversary. Mike came over to our table to eat dinner with the three skiers that I was there with (they are long-time MW. skiers) and Bob Sayer and it was a pleasure to meet a legend like Mike and to practice my Kartner Deutsch with him. I will never forget skiing in his paradise and getting the chance to shake hands with such a skiing legend!
In memory of M.W., I happily can say the same thing Mike would say in honor of him.....
Let's go skiing
Submitted by Peter Doering … on Mon, 07/19/2021 - 05:32
My 19 year old daughter had two weeks between exams in December, at McGill University and was feeling a little anxious. So I said "hey let's go heli skiing". She freaked out and thought I was nuts. We arrived at Blue River and she was on cloud nine the whole week. So was I. Mike joined us at our table for dinner one night where we also met Lee Zehngebot and we all had a wonderful time that week. I have loved skiing my entire life and every time I am in the mountains, I feel whole. Mike's dreams are what we all wish we could aspire to and we all wish we had the courage to strive for. His dreams were as pure as the snow. I will cherish the memories of that trip forever. My daughter and I send our sincere condolences to all of Mike's family and friends and all of his team at Weigele's .
Submitted by Skischool Arlb… on Mon, 07/19/2021 - 05:14
On behalf of the SKISCHOOL ARLBERG our deepest condolences to Bonnie, Michelle, Charlie and extended family.
With Mike we lose a very good friend and companion.
Mike was not only a pioneer in Heliskiing, he was also a pioneer in all things of Avalanche research and Avalanche safety.
We will very much miss the many wonderful hours and discussions we had together.
We hope you find the best powder for you - where you are now!
Rest in peace
Skischool Arlberg – St. Anton am Arlberg / Austria
Submitted by Luis L. Mestre on Mon, 07/19/2021 - 03:12
It is with great sorrow that I just heard of Mike's passing away. Mike was a Lion of a man! I feel very honored and blessed to have met him when I us to come to Blue River between 1999 and 2010. I am really grateful to my very good friends Charlie Bethell, Jerry Harrisson, Eric Schadinger and the Calypso Express that I was able to live and enjoy some incredibly great moments with Mike abd the whole family and team during those unforgettable skiing years. My sincerest condoleances and my prayers and thoughts are with you, Abrazo fuerter, Luis
Submitted by Tiroler Skileh… on Mon, 07/19/2021 - 03:02
Das Team des Tiroler Skilehrerverbandes bekundet sein Beileid. Der Familie wünschen wir viel Kraft in dieser schweren Zeit. In aufrichtiger Anteilnahme.
Submitted by Snowsport Aust… on Mon, 07/19/2021 - 03:00
Der oesterreichische Skischulverband mit Präsident Richard Walter trauert um Mike, dem Pionier des Helikopter-Skiing. Wir vermissen dich!
Submitted by Trond Henrikssen on Mon, 07/19/2021 - 02:20
I've just read the sad news that Mike's passed away. My deepest condolences to Bonnie, Michelle, Charlie and the MWHS family. I remember very well one of the first times I met Mike, and he asked me how I found Blue River and MWHS. After a short pause, I replied that it was the other way around: it was MWHS that found me. A wonderful and almost unreal place, of course due to nature, mountains and powder. But not least all the people and friends I've made there, including Mike and the rest of the MWH team. I must honestly say that some of my best moments here on earth I have had in Blue River and at MWHS. So Mike, thank you so much for what you have created for us ski and powder enthusiasts. I will never forget you. Rest in peace.
Trond Henrikssen, Bergen - Norway
Submitted by Shelley Giles on Mon, 07/19/2021 - 02:01
At the peak of my ski instructing career I was lucky enough to be invited to Mike Wiegele’s Powder 8’s World Championship in 2006. I had no idea what to expect so luckily my very experienced powder 8’s partner made sure we did a half days heli skiing the day before competition. Just as well as as I was like a kid in a candy shop. Not nervous at all, the excitement was far too great. I was in skier heaven.
We where there with friends and colleagues from all over the world in what can only be described as the most incredible skiing adventure of my life. Nina and I took home the trophy but we took home much more than that in the memories we created all thanks to Mike. Oh, and the T-shirt that goes on anytime I need inspiration at the gym.
My dearest condolences to his family, friends and colleagues.
Submitted by Steve Rietiker on Mon, 07/19/2021 - 01:41
It is with utmost sadness that I received the note of Mike's passing. Mike was -beyond being a great skier and legendary entrepreneur- a wonderful leader who could motivate and inspire the crowds. It means the world to me having been able to spend a number of years sking alongside Mike. I owe Mike a lot and will be grateful to him forever. May his legacy live on forever!
Also on behalf of the notorious "Swiss Lean Mean Ski Team" my heart goes out to Mike's family. May Mike rest in peace.
With my deepest sympathy, Steve
Submitted by Roberto AVENDANO on Sun, 07/18/2021 - 21:38
My sincere sympathy.
Every two weeks between 2002 to 2008
Brought people in the summer time for
Stay 1 night .
RIP. Mr. Wiegele
Submitted by Johanna Currie… on Sun, 07/18/2021 - 19:31
Many condolences to the extended Wiegele family. I loved how Mike would walk to the helicopter every morning with his skis over his shoulder and announce “another day at the office”! It was impossible not to smile at his enthusiasm and love of life - a real inspiration of how to live your life to the fullest!
Submitted by Chris Thiel on Sun, 07/18/2021 - 18:33
Let’s go skiing…😎🚁
Submitted by Tom West on Sun, 07/18/2021 - 18:30
I have enjoyed Wiegele World almost every year since 1982…I will miss seeing the “Emperor of Powder”. He will forever be in my Heart!!!!!
Submitted by Patti Smith on Sun, 07/18/2021 - 18:08
I grew up hearing of the Mike and Bonnie Banff stories and his adventure of trying out this dream in Blue River. He never forgot the people that helped him along the way just as he and Bonnie were always ready to lend a hand where needed. I remember at the Masters Finals In Whistler over 20 years ago when Bonnie was there to compete and Mike slid up to me in the start ‘ I haven’t skied on a groomed run in 15 years!’ Was his laugh as he cheered on Bonnie in her race. He did it to be there for her and he had no trouble cruising down to cheer.
So sorry for your loss. I hope these wonderful tributes and stories bring some smiles during this time. ‘Let’s go ski’
Submitted by Ross Butler on Sun, 07/18/2021 - 16:24
Spent layovers in Blue as I worked for CN Rail.
Did a bit of hiking around town waiting for a connection.
Many times crossed paths with Mike on his mountain bike .
He always looked you in the eyes and said hello . We chatted a few times .
For years I thought he was one of the maintenance workers .
Have heard he spent time in P.G. working in a clothing store .
Mike left his mark on many continents .
Tschuss Mike ,
Submitted by Marcus Molfenter on Sun, 07/18/2021 - 15:49
My deepest condolences to Bonnie, Michelle, Charlie and extended family.
There have been so many beautiful stories shared about Mike by friends and family. There is one story which has not been told that I would like to shed some light on. Bonnie and Mike created a family culture at Wiegele’s amongst staff and guests. Furthermore, they were match makers, bringing together like minded individuals who found their life partners in a town of 200 residents. I met my wife Patti in Blue River, which I will be forever thankful for. My oldest son, 11 years old, still holds the moose stuffy that Bonnie gifted us!
Mike created countless memories of guests and staff’s best ski day ever. The true ripple affect that he created is the continuous passion for the love of the mountains by his match making abilities. We are still close friends with four couples that all found their life partners in Blue River!
Submitted by Colin Chedore on Sun, 07/18/2021 - 15:36
So sorry to hear about the loss of Mike. He was a legend and a gentleman.
Rest In Peace.
Submitted by Scott Nelson, … on Sun, 07/18/2021 - 15:04
I first met Mike in ‘77 while shooting for Powder Mag with editor Dave Moe. I am forever grateful for the opportunities Mike gave me with photography and I remember fondly skiing with both Mike and Norbert in the early years. Mike, you are missed and loved.
Submitted by Philipp und Ju… on Sun, 07/18/2021 - 14:22
we are very sad about the priceless loss and we think of you!
Submitted by Andreas Brandner on Sun, 07/18/2021 - 13:04
Dear Bonnie, Dear Michelle and Family.
I would like to express my deep sorrow at the death of a great person and friend. I wish you much strength in these difficult days. Please continue Mike's life's work in his spirit. Stay save!
Submitted by Eric-Snowbird … on Sun, 07/18/2021 - 11:02
It is always hard when we lose a giant like Mike. I’ve spent my entire adult life, 23 years, working in the ski and avalanche industry. It was my childhood goal to work in the mountains on skis. Mike Wiegele was a person who guided those goals, he helped lay the groundwork for industry professionals by expanding and sharing his great knowledge of working in avalanche terrain. It was dream come true when I had the chance to train and guide for a week at MWHS. When I saw Mike’s operation I was truly impressed. MWHS operates with the highest of standards in avalanche forecasting and safety. As an avalanche community we owe so much to Mike and his operation. I am saddened at his passing, but I am at ease to know that he led a productive and fruitful life and that his legacy will live on forever. Enjoy your endless powder run Mike!
Submitted by George on Sun, 07/18/2021 - 09:22
Dear Wiegele family,
Our condolences from Georg from Carinthia with the Shirley, Lorenz and Juluis families.
Mike will always be remembered. He was a warm person and an excellent entrepreneur.
Submitted by Hal Woolley on Sun, 07/18/2021 - 09:00
Legendary would be an apt description of Mike.
When I arrived in Banff in 1980, my one year sabbatical somehow turned into seven of the most fun filled years of my life.
My first winter I worked at Mike and Bonnie's Quik Rent-a-Ski operation, processing tourists who, at the end of the day would return with two left boots, mismatched skis and poles and harrowing tales of their experiences on the bunny runs.
To this day, I don't remember laughing so hard as after one dinner with Mike and a group from the Banff Springs Tennis Club at Storm Mountain Lodge.
Mike was at the center of attention, telling stories that got better every time you heard them.
This all culminated with a game of 'Ha Ha' where everyone lay on the floor, with their head on someone's stomach and tried to control the number of times they laughed.
Mike was a natural leader who was comfortable in any situation, serious or fun, and while he might have seemed a bit quirky when you met him, he always left you with a smile and a bit of wonderment.
The world was a better place with Mike, for sure.