Most valley outdoor enthusiasts who have brushed up their backcountry skills during an avalanche training course in the past several years know local backcountry guide Brodie Smith.
Smith, who was born here in Invermere, has been an Association of Canadian Mountain Guides (ACMG) certified ski guide and a professional member of the Canadian Avalanche Association for the past five years.
“For me it’s such a special place we have here in our backyard, and guiding is a way of sharing that experience with others and seeing the enjoyment they get out of that experience,” said Smith.
Smith first skied on the slopes of Fairmont Hot Springs Resort and Panorama Mountain Resort. After graduating from David Thompson Secondary School, he took a job as a dishwasher at RK Heliski and soon began ski touring.
“I basically grew up playing outside here (in the valley),” he said.
Smith currently works for Canadian Mountain Holidays (CMH) as a ski guide, runs his own private guiding business (mainly for hikers in the summer), teaches avalanche courses and does industrial mountain safety work for oil and gas exploration companies around the world.
Becoming a ski guide was a natural extension of his first job dishwashing, said Smith.
“I just moved up the ranks, eventually becoming a tail guide in 2007 and then a certified guide in 2010,” he said, adding that the avalanche and snowpack analysis work he does for the Canadian Avalanche Association is part and parcel of being a winter guide.
“It’s a fast-paced work environment with changing conditions,” said Smith.
The industrial mountain safety work is mostly guiding local clients who are setting up seismic equipment in difficult terrain, helping to keep them safe. In recent years, the work has taken Smith to Oman, China, northern B.C., southern Colorado and central Chile.
“Our goal is always to keep the workers safe in mountainous conditions,” he said.
And as if that’s not enough to keep Smith busy, he is also nurturing a budding photography career, with standout images of the natural environments in which he works.
“I always take a lot of photos during the course of work and, after a while, I started to realize I could actually sell some of them. But it’s still mostly for my own enjoyment right now,” he said.
In recent years, Smith has also become actively involved with environmental groups, and is now on the board of directors for the Jumbo Creek Conservation Society.
“I saw an opportunity to contribute to a good cause,” he said. “My generation needs to become more involved with conservation issues.”
Those interested in learning more about Smith’s guiding business can visit his website at www.brodiesmithguiding.com. To see some of Smith’s photos, check out his Facebook page or see http://bpsphoto.smugmug.com/.