It’s not surprising that an outdoors-loving, involved person such as Jamie Hurschler chose to make the Upper Columbia Valley home.
Many valley residents will know Jamie through his formal roles — marketing and media specialist at Panorama Mountain Resort, director at large on the board of Columbia Valley Search and Rescue, and board member of the Columbia Valley Chamber of Commerce — or having encountered him while out enjoying any one of a number of outdoor activities.
“They are all certainly different roles, but they are related,” said Jamie. “When you’re passionate about the community you live in and all the great activities and opportunity it affords, it makes it easy to get involved in a lot. I love to hike, I love to ski, I love water sports, and all these roles I have are really just another way for me to stay engaged in all of that. If I had a bunch of different roles selling cardboard boxes, it’d be different. But when you’re promoting, or working in, the environment we have here, it’s not hard to stay enthusiastic.”
Jamie officially joined the Chamber of Commerce board two weeks ago, and has quickly become involved with the Columbia Valley Tourism Marketing Committee.
He has been involved with the Columbia Valley Search and Rescue crew since 2010, becoming more active in the organization in recent years and joining the board as a director at large two months ago.
Joining Search and Rescue seemed a natural thing to do for Jamie, who, before moving to British Columbia full time, had spent summers in Ontario working as a camp counsellor, directing leadership programs, which involved a good deal of first aid, survival skills, orienteering and map and compass work.
“A lot of those skills I developed as part of that leadership course from who I am, my values and my outlook on the outdoors,” he said. “When I moved to the valley, I had friends who were involved in Search and Rescue and it just seemed like the right thing for me to do, too.”
Jamie’s involvement at Panorama Mountain Resort stretches back almost two decades. He grew up in Ontario, where he attended Humber College’s ski resort management program. A co-op work term first brought him out to Panorama to work as a lift operator in late 1995. Jamie enjoyed it so much that he continued to working at Panorama for the next eight winters, while spending his summer months back in Ontario.
Aside from the leadership program, Jamie also spent his summers working a service co-ordinator at a high-end yacht dealership, helping customize yachts for clients from all around the globe.
Eventually Jamie returned to college, this time attending Sheridan College’s business administration program with a focus on marketing. He knew he’d found the right career path after a throughly enjoyable co-op work term doing tourism marketing for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. Jamie was then able to meld his ideal career with his ideal location in 2009 when he returned to the valley to once again work for Panorama, but this time in a marketing role.
When he is not busy co-ordinating media, marketing and advertising for the resort, he pursues a wide variety of outdoor activities.
“I’ve always been an outdoor person — canoeing, kayaking, rappel courses, climbing,” he said, adding he began skiing when he was 14 years old when his cousin took him to a local ski hill in Ontario.
“My cousin simply took me to the top and said ‘let’s see how you do’ rather than taking a gradual approach and putting me in a lesson. Fortunately, I took to it and have loved it ever since.”
As valley residents may recall, in the summer of 2014 Jamie was involved in a paragliding accident that saw him strike a rock face near the top of Mt. Swansea. He says he’s now almost 100 percent back to normal.
“It was an unfortunate incident, but the thing that blew me away was the incredible response of the valley and the tremendous support I got during my recovery,” he said. “I never realized just how many amazing health care and wellness professionals we have in the valley.”
Despite the incident, Jamie hasn’t given up any of his passion for the outdoors or his many professional and volunteer roles in the valley