May 7, 2020
Hello Skiers, Riders, Summer Adventurers, and Friends:
First and foremost, I hope that this letter finds you and your family healthy and safe.
April 25th would have been our last day of winter operations. However, on March 17th, six weeks early, we made the difficult decision to end our 2019/20 heli-skiing season. We were all deeply saddened by having to shorten our winter, as both March and April were shaping up to be ones for the record book, but it was the right decision for the health and safety of both our guests and staff.
I would like to thank all of you, our valued and loyal guests. You have the opportunity to select any travel experience in the world, yet year after year you choose CMH – and in some cases, multiple times in the same season! Not to be outdone in terms of dedication, I would also like to personally thank each member of our staff, whose tireless efforts and unrivaled passion are the foundation of CMH – from the lodge teams to the Banff office. It is a rare privilege to work with such talented people.
How CMH is Adapting to COVID-19
At the end of each winter for the last 55+ years, CMH makes modifications to improve the guest experience. Once again, we’ll conduct this important ritual of company-wide assessment, but this time with a marked difference. We are currently reviewing every aspect of our operation in relation to COVID-19 and developing ways to enhance our health and safety procedures. No stone will be left unturned; no detail will be too mundane.
To that end, we have created task forces assigned to evaluate each aspect of the CMH experience (e.g. dining, helicopters, guestrooms, spa, transportation, etc.) to make changes as necessary. We are considering things such as multiple seating times for meals, wearing masks in the helicopter, and re-thinking our beloved cookie jar, among many other potential adjustments. As we adapt our procedures to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 in our environment, we promise to uphold the celebrated traditions of the CMH experience that we all know and love. We will inform you of developments as they happen.
Booking With Confidence – We’re Here to Work With You
In times of uncertainty, we all seek reassurance. I wish I could guarantee that we will be running trips this summer and next winter. For that reason, we have made adjustments to our Booking & Cancellation policies, and if you are not able to join your trip due to COVID-19 related travel restrictions, we will work with you to move your reservation to next season without penalty.
Our summer season begins in less than two months and there are still many unknowns – when will travel restrictions, border closures, and other government-imposed orders be lifted? At this time, we still plan to operate in July & August. Since summer is rapidly approaching, we have modified our Booking & Cancellation policy so that you now have more time to decide about traveling and our teams are ready to work with you when it comes to changing your plans due to COVID-19 related travel restrictions.
For winter, time is on our side and we fully expect to run heli-skiing trips beginning in December. In order to provide you with the assurance you need to book with confidence, we have also updated our 2020/21 Winter Booking & Cancellation policy for COVID-19 related travel restrictions. Regardless of how things unfold, we will keep you informed and do everything in our power to ensure that, as soon as it is safe to operate, CMH will be ready to deliver the same life-changing mountain experiences we always have.
CMH will Weather this Storm
Managing the business through this pandemic has been an interesting challenge to say the least. For the travel industry, this crisis is unlike any of its predecessors. There have been downturns, but never one that drops revenue to absolute zero and for such an extended period. For perspective, Banff, the town where CMH is headquartered, is reliant on tourism and its unemployment rate currently sits at 85%. Companies across the globe have had to calculate their monthly burn rate and create survival plans to last until they begin regenerating cash flow.
CMH has undergone the same exercise and we have taken the necessary steps to ensure our longevity and protect our most vital asset – our people. We are fortunate to have the backing and support of our parent, Alterra Mountain Company. This provides us with access to resources that are unparalleled in the heli-ski industry. While it is still unclear how the fallout of this pandemic will shape our society and change our daily norms, trust that CMH is built to last. We will be here for you for the next 55 years and beyond.
“On the Shoulders of Giants”
This past September, I had the privilege of hosting 20 people who were part of CMH’s beginnings. We brought in a facilitator and camera crew to our Monashee Lodge, and over the course of the weekend we documented their many tales about CMH’s origin and evolution.
Sitting there listening to all of those fascinating stories instilled an even deeper sense of pride and duty for what we do – at CMH, we are entrusted to look after the business for the next generation of our guests and staff, to ensure that for decades to come we will be here to create transformative experiences. This has always been reinforced by certain Million Footers who never hesitate to remind me, “not to mess this up!” Eventually, we will be editing the footage captured during that weekend and releasing it as something special for you – stay tuned.
Congratulations to all of our guests that reached a new Million Foot milestone this season. I would also like to recognize lifetime CMH employee, Lori Ayearst, who retired after 40 years with us. Lori brought her humor and sharp wit to the Banff office every day and will be deeply missed.
I believe that when you find something you truly love, you hold on to it. CMH is absolutely one of a kind. This uniqueness is due to you, our amazing guests, whose loyalty brings you from all over the world. The same is true for our talented and dedicated staff. The ‘World’s Greatest Skiing’ is just a bonus.
We look forward to welcoming you back to CMH. If you have any questions about future trips, please contact Guest Services (1-800-661-0252 / firstname.lastname@example.org) or your local CMH sales representative. In the meantime, please take care of yourselves.
From my family to you and yours, thank you and I hope to see you this summer or next winter at CMH.