Leveraging Canada 150 for tourism

As most everyone knows, Canada turns 150 on July 1. Such a milestone calls for a big celebration and Canada will be hosting events across the country this summer, the two largest being in Ottawa and Charlottetown, PEI the home of Confederation.

Destination Canada predicts 2017 will be one of the most successful tourism years on record, as the New York Times, Lonely Planet, the Guardian and the Telegraph all listed Canada as the top place to visit this year. With Banff National Park and its area campgrounds already sold out for the summer, this provides opportunities for other destinations to step up and take a large part of the tourism market.

As a tourism operator, it is the perfect time to take advantage of the increased interest in tourism to your area, as well as the funds available through your DMO’s (Destination Marketing Organization) co-op marketing programs. Proper strategy and planning leading into the 2017 ski season could make for a very successful year for your operation and the industry as a whole.

In addition to paid marketing campaigns, here are just a few ways your business can connect with Canada’s 150 celebrations:

  • Use the #Canada150 hashtag on your social accounts, where relevant

  • Find Canadian-themed stories about your organization to share on your website and social platforms

  • Share Destination Canada content that is relevant to your organization on your social platforms

  • Celebrate and share your company history in alignment with key dates in Canadian history

Increased spending

The federal government has made a permanent investment of $37.5 million per year to Destination Canada, with an additional $8.6 million over four years to support the development of Canada's unique and authentic Indigenous tourism industry as well as the Aboriginal Tourism Association of Canada's five-year Indigenous Tourism Strategy.

Both the BC and Alberta governments have increased investment in tourism spending for 2017. Destination British Columbia’s $50 million annual budget will be increased by up to 2% per year with the Alberta government investing $60.8 million for tourism development and marketing, including $49.2 million to support tourism marketing through Travel Alberta and $10.8 million to Alberta Culture and Tourism in support of industry development.

With so much investment happening around the country, 2017 really is the year to visit Canada — so let’s make sure we spread the word!

-HeliCat Canada

A day in the life of a Canadian ski guide

As the end of December draws near, there’s a buzz of excitement in the air. And it’s not just the impending arrival of Santa and his reindeer.

In the middle of the Christmas festivities, helicopter blades start rotating and snowcats are revving their engines to take guests from around the world to some of the most pristine powder on the planet. And helping those guests create iconic memories and keeping them safe are some of the luckiest folks around — ski guides.

Today we peek out from our cubicles to check out a typical day in the life of a Canadian ski guide. One hint: there are no photocopiers.

Really early

Wake up. Drink coffee.

Also early

The morning meeting may be the official start to the day, but there is an expectation of advance preparation. Guides are required to come prepared with a full review of weather and avalanche conditions to discuss with the team.

More coffee.

Morning operational meeting

Safety is the number one priority for HeliCat operations, from snow conditions to weather reports and equipment maintenance. All of this is covered at the morning meeting. Every day is different. Did the weather change overnight? What will the forecast mean for the day ahead? Avalanche conditions are reviewed and discussed. All of this goes into determining the run list for that particular day.

But it’s not just about the skiing — there are so many other elements to discuss and finesse for the day! Over another cup of coffee, the team works through logistics such as van transportation, road conditions, incoming/outgoing guests, new guest training, staff skiing…the list goes on.


Bacon and eggs anyone? Or oatmeal…we won’t judge.

First flight/cat leaves

All guests are required to receive training, which takes approximately one hour. Those already trained up and ready to go, hop on their chopper or cat and head out to the field. The rest remain for mandatory Mountain Safety Training before loading up and heading out.

Ski…over and over again

It’s all about the powder for the next several hours until approximately one hour before sunset. This buffer allows for any unanticipated events, such as an injury, to allow enough daylight to adequately respond with a helicopter. As the days get longer in the spring, operators work closely with guides and pilots to ensure adequate rest time to avoid fatigue.

Après ski

The incredible powder days and mountain vistas are only part of what makes ski guiding an incredible experience. The guests make up the rest. Having a chance to meet people from around the world and showcase a true Canadian experience is like no other. That’s where après ski comes to play! Guides and guests mingle and chat about the day.

Evening tech meeting

A debrief of the day is just as critical as the morning operational meeting. The team shares specific observations regarding conditions, rates the hazard and submits relevant data to the CAA InfoEx information exchange program. This program is designed specifically for operations to work together, sharing conditions information with the priority of a safe experience for all.

If you’re interested in guiding, check out some of the latest job postings on our website!

-HeliCat Canada