If you're a connoisseur of the high and wild, just hearing the name Bugaboos is enough to make you feverish with wanderlust. Topher Donahue captures not just the landscape but the people and dreams that shape these otherworldly peaks. ―John Flinn, Executive Travel Editor, San Francisco Chronicle
Bugaboo Dreams is a marvellously detailed account of the evolution of heli-skiing and -hiking in the Canadian Rockies. More importantly, however, it is the story of the remarkable man behind the business, Hans Gmoser, whose passion and commitment to mountain environments led to a lifetime of bringing others to recreate in these places he loved the most. ―Rebecca Martin, Executive Director, Expedition Council, National Geographic Society
The stars were aligned to create this remarkable story: a vast mountain wilderness of rock spires and undulating glaciers and a visionary individual who inspired others to help transform his Bugaboo dreams into reality. Topher Donahue has captured the tale in an engaging manner that makes for a great read. ―Bernadette McDonald, author and former Director of The Banff Mountain Film and Book Festivals.
It was an honour and one of the highlights of my youth to be part of the beginnings of the Bugaboos. Skiing with Hans Gmoser and the wonderful guides who joined him became an indelible experience, not only for the ultimate thrill of skiing in deep powder through the trees and vast open areas of untracked territory, but it also gave me an insight into the true qualities of leadership. Topher Donahue beautifully captures the essence of the experience and the hearts and souls of the pioneers who have made helicopter skiing a passion for so many. ―Isadore Issy Sharp, founder, chairman and CEO of Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts and Companion to the Order of the Canadian Business Hall of Fame.
Take the snowiest mountains in Canada, add two Austrian immigrants, an army of adrenaline-addicted skiers (kings, queens, billionaires, average people and everyday ski bums) and throw a helicopter into the mix for an unforgettable story of mountain adventure.
The tale begins when two childhood friends-Hans Gmoser and Leo Grillmair-leave postwar Austria and travel to Canada in search of adventure. They stumble upon employment taking skiers across the vast glaciers and through the thick forests of Western Canada. When skiers start asking the immigrant mountaineers if it would be possible to use a helicopter to reach the best high-altitude powder, the two find themselves catapulted into a project brimming with more adventure, success, tragedy and fame than they could have dreamed.
Complete with archival and contemporary photos, this is the inside story of the people, thrills, accidents and innovations behind the evolution of a sport from a dangerous, ramshackle and lawless enterprise into a multi-million dollar industry offering reliable access to one of the world's most exciting forms of recreation.