written by D’Arcy McLeish for Last Frontier Heli Skiing
Guido Schnelzer is a modern day mountain explorer, inventor, ski madman and good humoured backcountry wizard. Guido also happens to be the ski tech for Last Frontier Heliskiing at our Ripley Creek location in Stewart, BC. When last we spoke to Guido, he was well into his ski season, bagging night laps after work in the local Stewart backcountry. Over the summer, Guido’s Ghettoworks, as he so aptly calls his little workshop of snow magic, has been hard at work.
Guido is one those people I would love to spend a day in the mountains with. He is all about getting after it and his enthusiasm and contagious sense of adventure is something to envy. I love to ski. Most of my life has been about the snow, but Guido has taken his love of skiing to another level entirely. Last season, for instance, he put in 126 days, 115 of which were days ski touring. For someone who works full time, those are huge numbers. Ski touring 115 days is absolutely all time. Can you imagine how fit you would be? Summer saw a bit of a slow down, with a paltry 13 days of skiing in May and June. After that, the sun and heat finally put a damper on skiing.
Summer, however, is still about skiing. As Guido put it, “It’s been a productive summer for Guido’s Ghettoworks. Weeks of sweatshop labor (it was a hot summer) have been fruitful in working on modifications on a few pairs of skis. Without letting too many cats out of the bag, I was trying to solve the issue of having skis short enough for everyday skiing versatility and maneuverability but could be modified to increase float in the very deep powder conditions we often ski on helidays at Ripley. Two separate approaches have been attempted and I just can’t wait for product testing once the snow flies and lies down a deep white down blanket.” Other projects include modifications to the heel piece of a tech touring binding for increased lateral stability. He has one working prototype that will be tested this coming winter.
If you follow Guido on social media, his winter countdown has begun. Throughout the long, hot summer, there were posts about winter, shots of winter and even some of his video edits from the last year, including one focused solely on summer skiing in Northern BC. It’s refreshing and motivating to see someone who really has the ski stoke year round. As winter approaches I asked Guido if he had any big objectives. His response was telling:
“…it’s a long shot but a second ski descent of the North Face of Mount Robson may just be on the option block…time will tell if gumption, skillz, boldness and health maintain that potential. If I had a British Harrier Jet with vertical takeoff and landing potential and an unlimited gas card for jet fuel, I’d be there right now skiing it instead of plunking away on the computer at home.”
And I would be flying it for you, my friend.
There are so few people out there who truly do go their own way. Guido is one of them. He is an inspiration to skiers everywhere. Soon the snow will fall and winter life will begin again. People like Guido, and other folks who work at Last Frontier Heliskiing will be back doing what they love most – shredding waist deep pow. A love and passion for winter is a must if you’re going to spend your life working on skis, be it as a ski tech, guide, or anything else. Guido definitely has the passion part down pat.
Be safe, ski hard.