The dreams of a young Austrian in wild Canadian high country
Early in the1950s, a young Austrian named Hans Gmoser immigrated to Canada with little money and big dreams. These were the glory years of mountaineering, when the highest, most challenging peaks all over the world were being conquered. Hans, too, was eager to put himself to the test. Not discouraged by the flat prairie landscapes of Edmonton and Calgary, where he first lived and worked at odd jobs, Hans counted pennies and looked longingly west to the mountains.
From mountain guide to mountain business
By 1953, Hans had saved enough to move to Banff and begin his career as a guide in the wilderness surrounding Mount Assiniboine, Canada's Matterhorn. As Hans recalled, "I longed to share the natural beauty of the majestic mountains in Western Canada with everyone I could." Inspired by a new dream, and building on years of backcountry guiding experience, in 1959 Hans formed a small company named Canadian Mountain Holidays (CMH) . His business prospered as he led thousands of skiers and climbers on thrilling mountain treks.
The birth of Heli-Skiing. . .
In April 1965, Hans was intrigued by an idea that, although fanciful, seemed practical. He began using helicopters to transport skiers high into the Bugaboo Mountains. Heli-Skiing was born and became an instant success. CMH was soon providing mountain adventures to hundreds of skiers each year, and building comfortable mountain lodges to accommodate them.
. . . and Heli-Hiking
While Heli-Skiing was tremendously successful, Hans was not as quick to consider helicopter-assisted hiking. World-renowned American tour operator Arthur Tauck finally gave Hans the push he needed when Tauck arranged to take a group of guests into one of CMH's now-famous mountain lodges for a summertime hiking adventure. Another new sport, Heli-Hiking, had arrived.
The largest Heli-Skiing company in the world
CMH has evolved into the world's largest Heli-Skiing and Heli-Hiking company, operating 11 lodges in the winter and 2 in the summer, and working in partnership with Alpine Helicopters. Over 7,000 guests join us each year, and the vast majority of guests return.
The Greatest Heli-Adventure Company on Earth
CMH was voted "Best Heli-Adventure Company on Earth" by National Geographic ADVENTURE Magazine. Learn more »
Mountain holidays and adventures for all
Our mission is simply to offer every person, of any age and any ability, the opportunity to experience an incredible mountain adventure in style and comfort. We are committed to the highest international standards of eco-tourism. Through our programs, partnerships, and sponsorships, we are dedicated to maintaining the wildlife and rugged beauty of the mountains in pristine condition for visitors to enjoy for decades to come.