50+ Years Making powder dreams come true since 1970.
In 2019/2020 we celebrated our 50th season. It was a monumental milestone and the intriguing and inspiring journey to get here, warranted celebration. Born on a farm in post war Austria, Mike left for Canada in 1959, in search of freedom and the world’s best powder. His quest led him across North America – working first in eastern Canada, then Sugar Bowl Calf., and eventually to Banff and Lake Louise during the late 60’s. Thankfully for all powder lovers, in 1970 Mike began this heli-skiing dream in the heart of the Cariboo and Monashee Mountains. Eventually, Blue River was where Mike’s vision of a heli-ski resort would flourish, and where more memories and legendary moments in ski history were made.
tight pants and tight sweaters The 1960's
Within this decade, the passion of heli-skiing was ignited. During the late 1960’s Mike and Bonnie began developing the ski school and the race club in Lake Louise and Banff. It was during these years that Mike also began exploring the surrounding mountain ranges. Ski tour after ski tour, Mike knew there had to be a more efficient way to get into the mountains and spend more time skiing. The dream had begun.
When synthetics ruled the ski slopes The 1970's
In 1970, Mike took his first test flight in a Bell 47 to Mount Sir Wilfrid Laurier – the highest peak in the Cariboo Mountains. It wasn’t too long after, that Mike was guiding guests around the mountains from Valemount. Throughout the 1970’s, the rest of the world began to share in the excitement of heli-skiing. Following Warren Miller’s legendary filming visit in 1972, a lifelong friendship was created and heli-skiing began its introduction to thousands of powder skiers. After further exploration of the Cariboo and Monashee mountain ranges, Mike learned of the little town called Blue River – where the snowflakes fall down big and straight. From analyzing years of weather data for the area, Mike decided to move Mike Wiegele Helicopter Skiing from Valemount to Blue River in 1974 and the plans of a full-service ski resort dedicated to heli-skiing was created.
Neon onsies dominated The 1980's
The early 80’s, saw the development of the first guest handcrafted log chalets. 1980 was also the birth of the first Powder 8 World Championships and Warren Miller’s “Seven Days in Paradise” was filmed. Skiers were beginning to arrive from across the globe and every guest to arrive were welcomed into the extended Wiegele family and lifelong friendships were made over ski turns.
Throughout the 80’s, the powder was deep, the skis were skinny, the snowboards were showing up and the resort was still developing. It was the late 80’s when the main lodge containing the Powder Max Dining Room, the Silver Buckle Lounge, Massage Therapy clinic, and Fitness Centre was opened.
Grunge ski wear hits the slopes The 1990's
A decade later, guest arrivals increased and the vision continued. The Thunder Ridge Center, the Guides Haus, the Grizzly Hut, and the Eleanor Lake House were added to the resort. It was also in the 1990’s that a special relationship between MWHS and Atomic Ski began over discussions of making a better ski that would be powder specific. This was the beginning of the Atomic Fat Boy ski that literately had skiers fighting over them in the ski shop.
Innovation & Technology The Turn of the Century
As Mike Wiegele Helicopter Skiing continued to make powder dreams come true, the development continued into the 2000’s. MWHS received approval for the Saddle Mountain Resort – a powder ski resort that combines alpine lift and heli access. The 8 Peaks Plan was also developed during this decade, to include a future development of premium terrain close to the MWHS base. Then in 2004, the beautiful Albreda Lodge was built just 45km north of Blue River. The following year MWHS celebrated 35 years and shared a joint celebration with Warren Miller Films and their 50th anniversary. The 25th anniversary of the Powder 8 World Championships was also recognized. More recently, MWHS continued its promise to provide the best ski experience, with a terrain expansion into the Rocky Mountains to provide skiers a grand tenure total of 1.5 million acres to explore.
Making Dreams Come True Our Guests
Whether it is the first visit or tenth visit – when you come to Blue River it is like coming home. It is the friendships, the powder stories and the memories that make it such a special place – a place like no other in the world. This season we are celebrating powder and the people it brings to Blue River. From humble beginnings and big dreams to now welcoming guests from the entire world, we strive to bring everyone’s powder dreams to life. We are privileged to have been a part of these special times and we look forward to creating more in the years to follow.