2019 recipients: Jessica Roy, Dylan Berger, Devon Smith, Andrew Hill, and Mitch McCambly.
2020 recipients: Gabe Carpendale, Mike Wigley, Scott Beauchamp, Tristan Kodors, Fannie Dufour, and Tara Morris.
2021 recipients: Based on recommendations from industry professionals we were able to fund two worthy candidates in 2021 with $1000 each towards their backcountry skill development. Congratulations to Melissa Saarinen and Ryan Schiebout.
Here are some updates to let you know how they’ve been doing and what they’ve been up to in their backcountry endeavours.
Gabe is a born and raised Nelson local that has been skiing in the Kootenays since he was four years old. After high school, Gabe spent two seasons as a volunteer ski patroller at Whitewater Ski Resort where he found his passion for working on skis. This led him to do the Adventure Guide diploma program at Thompson Rivers University where he spent two years getting training and certifications in all aspects of guiding and adventure tourism. After graduating, Gabe moved back to the Kootenays, where he now tail guides for Selkirk Snowcat Skiing. Gabe just recently passed the CSGA Level 1 exam and is looking to do the CSGA level 2 in a couple of years.
I’ve taken my Bluebird funds and put them towards my CAA Operations level 2 last winter. This helped me get towards my next goal for getting my next courses of being a lead/assistant guide. Taking my CAA 2 before my CSGA 2 will help me in the course and the sponsorship helped with that.
As the winter rounds out, I’ve had a good season guiding and learning from other lead guides I worked with through the season. I’m not ready for it to end! Unfortunately, I’m back to full time work so the weekends would be my time to get back to the mountains and be free, and that time is spent lately with my daughter and wifey.
To the Nyle Bluebird Day Foundation. In the 2018/2019 season I was sponsored by the foundation to help pay for my CSGA 2 course. This sponsorship had several meaningful implications for me. Firstly, endeavouring on becoming a backcountry guide is an amazing and engaging process but comes with a price tag. The financial aid was greatly appreciated. What hit home more for me, being a close friend of Nyle, was achieving this certification was a landmark goal in our careers. It enabled us to take the front seat of a snow at (or heli) and lead guests around, under our own decision-making processes. (Within the communication and support of the lead guide.)
Nyle was enrolled in this program for the spring in which he passed away and was obviously going to be a standout successful candidate. Completing the CSGA 2 with the sponsorship of the Bluebird Day Foundation was more than a certification for myself. It felt like a wayyy up there high five from my bro, and I could feel his stoke, smiles and encouragement.
This season, I am continuing my educational progression and going through the ACMG Guide Training Ski Program (On my splitboard of course.) and hope to complete the Apprentice Ski Guide Exam, which will essentially allow me to work as a splitboard guide in a self-propelled touring context as well. Having completed the CSGA 2 allowed me to gain the applicable leading experience that played a major roll in my acceptance into this program. It brings me a bunch of joy knowing Nyle is looking down and making fun of me looking into hard boots and lightweight carbon gear, counting grams, etc. But would be super pumped and proud.
As a final note, I am beginning the process of becoming a practitioner member of the CAA so that I can instruct AST courses in the future, as a way to keep my skills sharp through mentorship, keep up the due-diligence, and pay it forward to the Bluebird Day Foundation. Thanks team!
I’m Michael Wigley, an avid splitboarder and mechanized guide for Baldface Lodge and Keefer Lake Lodge. I resided in Rossland BC for 13 years before relocating to Revelstoke and now Golden. I’m currently enrolled in the ACMG program to pursue a career in ski guiding. My dream is to be a splitboard guide and take people to their dream locations or down their dream run. I love being in the mountains more than anything, from pushing up the mountain to your goal, to soaking the quietness that nature gives. Being present in the mountains, being aware of your surroundings, and enjoying the moment.
Receiving this sponsorship has given me encouragement, support, and a sense of connection within a community of dreamers who are constantly perusing and aspiring. Recently, I have been continuing my development through the CSGA and CAA, while staying current in the field within my objectives. Working locally, adapting, and making connections with others has brought me closer to my ideals. Keeping the dream alive one skin track at a time.
Hey team! Thanks for reaching out, it’s great to hear from you. It’s indeed weird and uncertain times and I’m looking forward for some sort of gathering or event to get to meet you all and thank you in person for the financial help you gave me.
After 8 years of training and working in the mountains, following courses to educate myself as much as possible about avalanches and mountain safety, this winter is a very special one for me. I finally reached this ultimate goal of mine which was to enter the ski guide program with the Association of Canadian Mountain Guide. Known to be a hard course to get into, as they only accept candidate that have an impressive resume, getting in this year was a great accomplishment to me. This is my chance to be doing my dream job, and I’m not letting go of it. This course comes at a (pretty substantial) cost and getting financial help from the Nyle’s Bluebird Foundation was much needed and appreciated to get me closer to my goal. Especially giving the current circumstances, it’s been hard to make money as a touristic guide this last summer… I have been spending this fall and early winter training and going out in the mountains in order to crush it on the exam, which will happen in the spring. Finger’s crossed. Here is a photo taken during the “guiding mechanized skiing” portion of the course last week, after my group and I got dropped somewhere in the Monashee mountains by a helicopter. Thanks again guys!