June 3, 2021 | Words by Kelsey Verboom
We are thrilled to announce that Rob Rohn has been named President & Chief Operating Officer of CMH Heli-Skiing & Summer Adventures.
Rob will be responsible for CMH’s continued growth and our operations, which include 11 luxury lodges, a fleet of helicopters, 140 certified guides, and industry-leading safety measures.
Many of you may have already shared ski runs or a hiking trail with Rob, as his career with CMH spans nearly four decades.
‘I’d rather go climbing’
Rob has dedicated his life to sharing his love of the mountains with others.
This lifelong passion was first sparked by a childhood family trip to the Alps and swiftly grew into a teenage rock-climbing obsession. Occasional climbing trips out West from his hometown of Toronto gave Rob his first taste of the mountain ranges he would eventually call home.
Following high school, Rob pursued math and computer science in university before realizing that the lure of scaling granite trumped textbooks and algorithms.
“I spent a few years attending the University of Toronto before deciding I would rather go climbing,” Rob said, chuckling.
“For several years I lived a nomadic climbing lifestyle with notable ascents in Yosemite, the Alaska Range, the Bugaboos, Yukon, Nepal and Pakistan. During this time, I met and climbed with several guides who worked for CMH and thought that seemed like a pretty cool gig.”
Learning from CMH’s founders
CMH hired Rob in 1984 as an Apprentice Ski Guide, and he began absorbing everything he could from Hans Gmoser and Leo Grillmair, the founders of the rapidly growing heli-skiing company.
“I feel incredibly fortunate that my path led me to CMH so many years ago and that I had the opportunity to work alongside Hans and Leo,” Rob said.
Rob became an internationally certified ACMG/IFMGA Mountain Guide in 1986 and alternated guiding at CMH Bobbie Burns, Monashees and Bugaboos in the winter, and climbing or guiding independently the rest of the year.
While scaling a peak in Peru in 1987, Rob was hit by an ice avalanche. The incident led to an epic five-day evacuation back to civilization, three fractured vertebrae and a badly broken leg (“a story for another time!” Rob said.) This encounter left him re-evaluating his priorities, and he returned to CMH to guide full time.
“I decided it was time to change my focus. I was given the opportunity to become the Assistant Area Manager in the Bobbie Burns, then the Area Manager in 1991,” he said.
Rob eventually became CMH’s Director of Mountain Operations and later, General Manager. He continued to evolve, ultimately assuming the role of acting President & COO last fall.
When CMH halted operations in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he led our team through the disruption and set a path forward.
Rob’s 37-years at CMH are rooted in the many moments he has shared with guests and colleagues.
“When I was offered my dream job as a very young Apprentice Ski Guide with CMH in the ‘80s, I never could’ve imagined the life journey I was about to embark on,” Rob said. “The CMH team and its guests share a camaraderie and sense of purpose that is exceedingly rare. We guide people through life-changing mountain experiences, and I think that everyone who comes to CMH is changed, in some way, for the better.”
During his tenure, Rob has seen it all.
“There have been many wonderful times, and some that weren’t. But I’ve had more 10/10 days heli-skiing than anyone deserves in ten lifetimes,” he said. “I’ve had the immense pleasure of spending magical days with guests and staff in our beloved mountains. All have inspired me with evenings lingering at the dinner table, reliving adventures from the day, and with a shared passion for skiing, hiking and life.”
“I’m honoured to be given the opportunity to lead this company – one born as a crazy dream 56 years ago – into a very bright future and the next stage of our evolution.”
All in the family
Rob’s love for mountain adventure is also a family affair.
He resides in Canmore, Alberta with his partner Helen, who is also a Mountain Guide with CMH. Rob’s two sons, Kevin and Dan, have both followed in their father’s footsteps; Kevin is a Mountain Guide at CMH Adamants, and Dan is an Apprentice Ski Guide and engineer who specializes in avalanche related work.
“Dan and Kevin grew up around CMH and guiding. Their mother Julie was an Apprentice Ski Guide before we had kids, so it was in their blood. From infancy they were flying in helicopters up to the lodge to visit and went for their first heli-ski run when they were 4 years old. It’s incredibly gratifying to see our roles reversed now – they’re the ones guiding me when we’re skiing and climbing together!”
Outside of CMH, you’ll find Rob pursuing any number of other outdoor activities recreationally, like Nordic skiing, ski touring, mountain and road biking, climbing and mountaineering. The lines between work and play in the mountains have blended seamlessly over the years, as is the beauty of building a career out of one’s most zealous pursuit.
See you in the heli
“To our guests, I look forward to meeting (or reconnecting) with you,” said Rob. “I love to hear about your positive experiences, but even more so, how we can make you next trip more memorable still. To our valued partners, thank you for supporting CMH. We couldn’t do it without you. And to the CMH team, I look forward to continuing this amazing journey alongside you. I may be the conductor, but you make the music!”
“I look forward to seeing you on the slopes and on the summits.”
The birth of heli-hiking, Part 1 >>
The birth of heli-hiking, Part 2 >>