The ski world has lost one of the good ones. After decades of getting people up and into some of the most beautiful ski terrain on the planet, heli ski pioneer Mike Wiegele passed away at the age of 82 last week. From humble beginnings in Austria, to ski school in Canada, to starting one of the first full-blown heli operations in North America, Wiegele always had his eyes on skiing, and on spreading that addiction as fast and far as possible.
Wiegele helped convince people that skiing from a helicopter was even possible. He and friends had scouted and skied terrain all over western Canada, but when he figured it would be easier to access some of that terrain via helicopter, many thought he was crazy. When he organized his first heliski trip in 1970, not a single person showed up. More than five decades later, Mike Wiegele Helicopter Skiing is a reference in the ski world.
Skiing is full of zany ideas, first descents, and progression in the mountains, but few, if any, pushed the needle quite like Wiegele. We salute you, Mike. Thank you for getting us out on the hill, year after year.