Snowboarding has come along way since it's
grassroots days of not being accepted in the ski world and resorts the world
over. Despite conquering many of those hurdles, it's only been in recent years
that snowboarding has been introduced to the mountain guiding community here in
Canada, and the man to break that barrier was Scott Newsome. At 34, with 27
years of snowboarding and a pro career behind him, he holds the title of Canada's
first Association of Canadian Mountain Guides (ACMG) certified snowboard guide. Growing
up in Lake Louise and now operating out of Eagle Pass Heliskiing in Revelstoke,
BC, I tracked down Scott to see what he's gone through to claim this title.
me about your pro snowboard career.
I started my professional career when I was 16 and never spent much time
in school after that. I worked through several sponsors, magazine shots
and video parts over the years, getting to live quite the lifestyle. Traveling,
partying, heli boarding, being a rock star...until I broke my leg and all of my
sponsors dropped me like a rock off a bridge. Ski and snowboard
industries are very cut throat when dealing with young people's lives and
livelihoods after they sacrifice time, education, and health to
promote a sponsors product, and in the end there's little or no compensation
was it like living in Whistler?
Whistler is fun when you just turned 18 and are all fired
up. I was there in the mid-90's when it was still developing and it was
less of a fashion show. We were dirt bag shred bums that could barely afford
rent, like everyone else that lived there. It was all about riding hard
every day and partying harder every night. It is a lot different nowadays,
more like an outdoor shopping mall with some moguls.
your pro career, when did you get the idea that you wanted to be a guide?
It was after I broke my leg and I realized there was really no getting ahead in
life living in Whistler, kissing sponsor ass. In 1999, Greg
Todds (RIP) and myself decided that after having spent a lot of time
in Revelstoke over the years, we could live in the land of pow and
actually afford to buy and own property. Shortly after
moving to Revelstoke I was faced with another reality when my
first son was born. Guiding and being in the mountains is in my
family history so I went to work for my uncle at Cat Powder Skiing here in
Revelstoke. From there I started gathering my industry days needed, working
with great mentors, as well any avalanche, first aid
courses I required along the way.
My friends and I have spent years splitboarding,
touring, and climbing the mountains of the Selkirks and the
Monashees, in and around Revelstoke/Rogers Pass, way before the ski
resorts ever came to Revelstoke or Golden. Being a guide you must be just as
efficient climbing up mountains as shredding down. Climbing mountains is
how you learn to understand terrain, exposure, and snow
is your family background in skiing and cat skiing?
My parents worked for the Lake Louise ski area for 14 years, and
my uncle owned and operated Cat Powder Skiing in Revelstoke, BC, for over
20 years. It was one of the original cat ski operations in the industry.
is guiding in Canada different then other places in the world?
It is modeled after the european standards with very high expectations of
experience, knowledge, mountain miles and hard skill sets, such as
rope/crevasse work, transceivers and snow pack understanding.
you the first snowboard guide to pass the Association of Canadian Mountain
Guides (ACMG) program?
Yes, after the second attempt.
are the pros and cons to guiding on a board?
I personally have spent many years of my life trying to show people that
their are no pros or cons to guiding on a board or skis. With the splitboard
I can become a skier and ski in any situation that may arise, and the
snowboard is just the tool I prefer to use while riding down the
you use a splitboard. How often are you in ski mode when you're out with
A lot. I use it operationally with the heli to hit pickups, traverses,
flats, certain ski cutting scenarios, and some times just to win
a bottle of nice wine on a bet from a skiing client.
recently got involved with Eagle Pass heliskiing ... Tell me about that.
Very short story so far. As of December 4th of this season, two
partners and myself purchased Eagle Pass heli skiing/snowboarding here in
Revelstoke. This is a dream come true for me, to have my own tenure/area
to operate in and be able to take my clients
heli ski/snowboarding. We want to become the next leader in heli ski
destinations for the new generation of shredders.
the terrain like there? What makes Eagle Pass different?
Our terrain is unbelievable, with every thing from steep spines, couloirs, big
wide open alpine bowls to the most amazing spaced tree runs with mad
stacks of pillow lines everywhere. What makes and will make Eagle Pass
different is the type of guides we choose to work with, using a mix of
excellent ski/snowboard ability and talent accompanied by mountain experience
and safety. Eagle Pass only uses A-star B2 helicopters, four
clients to one guide, so with such small groups it allows the guide
to choose different and more challenging terrain based on the
snow conditions that are present and group's ability.
Pass has had some interesting clients this year...
We had several high profile athletes and major media players this
year. With new ownership also has come many new exciting changes. We
have been focusing on a extensive media and promotional push, with some of the
industry's biggest media giants such as Transworld
Snow, Snowboarder, the Quiksilver
team, the Nike women's snowboard team, and the Art
of Flight film crew, Brain Farm Cinema, all making the trip. This year
we have hosted the biggest names in all of the ski and snowboard industries: Travis
Rice, Nicolas Mueller, Olympic bronze medalist Scotty Lago, Mike
Rencz, Eric Jackson, Danny Davis, Jack and Luke Mitrani, and European ski star
has been a lot of snow in Canada this year. Has it made guiding challenging?
Lots of snow has made flying challenging, but new snow makes guiding easy
you think you being a snowboard guide brings snowboard clients to Eagle Pass?
Is it an attraction for riders?
For sure. As well, we will be hiring other snowboard guides for next
year. I find it works best for the friends that are mixed groups of skiers
and boarders; that way the boarders don't have to feel uncomfortable with the
old ski guide stigma.
the ACMG accepting more and more snowboarders do you think times are changing
in the guiding industry?
Yes, and we have to adapt. The clients are changing; there is
a whole new generation of skiers and snowboarders that are
around my age that grew up looking at terrain way different
than their parent's generation.
special plans for future snowboard events/contests at Eagle Pass?
So far there are some, but we are keeping it top secret for now.
are your plans once the season wraps up?
I am off to Haines, Alaska, for a week, then I will take my kids spring skiing
at Lake Louise.
Everybody! You know who you are. Team Core and all my friends who have
left this life way to early.
Eagle Pass: www.eaglepassheliskiing.com
Still Shredding: Scott Newsome and Al Clark
Going DEEPER with Garry Pendygrasse
The Fourth Annual GT Memorial