March 7, 2023 | Words by Alison Jones
If you’ve heli-skied with us recently, chances are you’ve seen one of CMH’s most beloved pieces of art. Not necessarily mounted on a wall, but rather as you’re charging down one of the best runs of your life.
The answer is at your feet.
That’s right; this year’s fleet of CMH’s Atomic Backland powder skis — the 107s and 117s — are wrapped with custom topsheet art that’s an expression of lodge life, CMH terrain, and the feeling of being surrounded by nature.
The two different designs, created by artist Emily Beaudoin, can’t be found anywhere else.
Blending art and nature
Meet Emily – a familiar face at CMH and a woman of many talents; former CMH Operations Coordinator, travel guide, and the artist who transformed our skis into her canvas.
Having been drawn to creativity from a young age, it was always one of Emily’s dreams that one day she would be able to combine her two great passions: art and the outdoors.
In 2018, Emily joined the CMH team in the head office as the Ops Coordinator.
“I’d been working as a Backroads Travel guide that same summer and fell in love with the lodges, the culture and the amazing heli-hiking and heli-skiing at CMH. One of the Area Managers realized how much of a nerd I was about mountain rescue, and he told me to apply for the Ops role,” she reminisced.
“I spent two winters in the position in Banff and learned a ton, as well as having the great privilege to visit CMH Bobbie Burns, Bugaboos, Gothics and Kootenay.”
Emily has since moved on to other adventures full-time but continues to work with CMH as a freelance artist, collaborating on designs for some of the merchandise in our retail shops and other special projects.
From stencils to skis
One such project was finding a way to translate her art into a design that would pop on a pair of powder skis.
This unique opportunity to bring art to B.C.’s backcountry excited Emily from the get-go.
“I love the topsheets I designed with CMH and Atomic for the guest skis – it’s one of my all-time favourite pieces,” she said.
Each individual ski makes a statement on its own, but when the matching halves are placed side-by-side, they form one complete piece with intersecting lines.
“They have so many elements of CMH’s lodge culture and heli-skiing life incorporated into it, and I love the idea that my work will be ripping down mountain slopes all over our tenures. Making functional art has always been a goal of mine, especially placing it on gear that allows people to travel into the mountains while taking a little bit of extra beauty with them.”
After your day heli-skiing, when you arrive back at the lodge and rack those artistically decaled skis, you’ll find more of Emily’s work throughout the lodges.
“I’ve also created several tenure-inspired designs for the lodge retail shops, including a series of watercolour and pen and ink paintings that became stickers, and I’m always brewing up another retail design with the team in Banff,’ she said.
So, do the grand views from the lodge help with creativity?
“Absolutely,” Emily said. “I take a lot of photos while I’m up at the lodges to work from. I paint en plein air (in the open air) whenever I can while I’m up there as well. I even created one of the T-shirt designs for the Bugaboos while I was in the rooftop hot tub at the lodge.
“I really love to paint in the moment; that feeling of perching on a peak or a ridge and painting as fast as I can to capture the essence of the place is so exhilarating. Painting in the landscape adds an extra layer of magic to the work because the piece will be affected by and imbibed with the weather, bugs, hunger (although that is a rare sensation while up at the lodges!), cold, blisters etc. It’s all part of the process, and I like to think that the viewer can somehow feel the amount of effort, love and determination it takes to complete a piece out in the mountains.”
Here’s to many more epic lines, both in snow and in watercolour.
See Emily’s artwork for yourself; come heli-skiing with us >