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Scott Newsome: Canada's First Snowboard Guide
Posted On Apr 08 2011, 05:46 PM by Spencer Francey

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.

Tell 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 when injured.

What 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.

After 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 pack characteristics.

What 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.

How 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.

Where you the first snowboard guide to pass the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides (ACMG) program?
Yes, after the second attempt.

What 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 mountains.

So you use a splitboard. How often are you in ski mode when you're out with clients?
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.

You 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.

What's 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.

Eagle 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 Candide Thovex.

There 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

Do 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.

With 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.

Any special plans for future snowboard events/contests at Eagle Pass?
So far there are some, but we are keeping it top secret for now.

What 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.

Thanks to...
Everybody! You know who you are. Team Core and all my friends who have left this life way to early.

Info: www.avalanche.ca
Eagle Pass: www.eaglepassheliskiing.com

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Related:
Still Shredding: Scott Newsome and Al Clark
Going DEEPER with Garry Pendygrasse
The Fourth Annual GT Memorial

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Spencer Francey lives in Banff, Alberta, Canada. Follow this blog for the latest Snowboard news,updates, tips and other oddities of the West. You'll find info coming in from all corners of the Alberta and BC interior. Banff, Lake Louise, Golden,Revelstoke Fernie and the surrounding backcountry that make this area a mecca of Canadian riding.

Comments
Page 1 of 2 (11 items) 1 2 Next >

Wow I'm super proud of you Scotty!

posted by Chad Harris | Dec 19 2011, 02:19 PM

Seems like the word "crew" is just as common at the word "shred" in snowboarding

posted by Spencer Francey's Column | Dec 07 2011, 03:32 PM

Seems like the word "crew" is just as common at the word "shred" in snowboarding

posted by Spencer Francey's Column | Dec 07 2011, 03:18 PM

As a sport, snowboarding can definitely be classified as one of the more progressive. Tricks are constantly

posted by Matt Meadows' Column | Oct 13 2011, 03:55 PM

Splitboarding has caught stride and is definitely in the mainstream of snowboarding's consciousness

posted by Spencer Francey's Column | Aug 16 2011, 05:52 PM

Ever watch snowboard films and wish you could access and ride terrain like the pros do? Canadian industry

posted by News | Jul 12 2011, 04:08 PM

congratulations Scotty...

posted by Chad Schultz | Jun 20 2011, 03:40 PM

If, like everyone else who's ever strapped on a snowboard, you're desperately waiting for the

posted by Matt's Blog | May 02 2011, 04:20 PM

Pingback from  Our Very Own - Eagle Pass Heli Skiing

posted by Our Very Own - Eagle Pass Heli Skiing | Apr 11 2011, 04:54 PM

Last week started off with us catching up with a living legend, Bryan Iguchi , as he showed the Powder

posted by News | Apr 10 2011, 10:17 PM


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