A Life So Fascinating

From poor and weary post-WWII Europe to the wild and free moun­tain wilder­ness of west­ern Canada, Leo Grillmair’s life story is one of ter­rific adven­ture. Arriv­ing in Canada from Aus­tria in 1951, Grill­mair and his life-long friend and busi­ness part­ner Hans Gmoser seized on the oppor­tu­ni­ties their newly-adopted coun­try pre­sented them and intro­duced Cana­di­ans to a whole new way of climb­ing rock faces. Brim­ming with opti­mism and indus­tri­ous­ness, Grill­mair applied an unwa­ver­ing work ethic to help build a sea­sonal ski tour­ing busi­ness to a 10-lodge heli­copter ski­ing empire, which changed the face of back­coun­try recre­ation in the west­ern hemi­sphere. As man­ager of Buga­boo Lodge, the world’s first heli-skiing lodge, in the world’s first and still largest heli­copter ski­ing com­pany, Cana­dian Moun­tain Hol­i­days, Grill­mair was instru­men­tal in nur­tur­ing an entire indus­try that con­tin­ues to employ hun­dreds of moun­tain guides, cooks, house­keep­ers, main­te­nance work­ers, pilots, engi­neers, mas­sage ther­a­pists and numer­ous other office and lodge staff every year. Plumber, climb­ing pio­neer, novice lum­ber­jack, skier, pro­fes­sional rock col­lec­tor, moun­tain guide, first-aid whiz, lodge man­ager, singer and sto­ry­teller extra­or­di­naire, Leo Grillmair’s life is the stuff of which great sto­ries are born. The Alpine Club of Canada is proud to cel­e­brate its 20th Moun­tain Guides Ball with Leo Grill­mair as Patron.

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