It’s a busy season for Mike Wiegele Helicopter Skiing (MWHS).
Aside from celebrating 50 years in business, MWHS is also relaunching the Powder 8 World Championships event, as well as recently announcing the online film release of “Call me Crazy — The Legend of Mike Wiegele.”
Call Me Crazy tells the story of how a young Austrian with little more than a dream and a love for skiing became one of the most influential ski pioneers in Canada and the founder of North American’s preeminent heli-skiing operation.
Regarding the annual MWHS Powder 8 World Championships, the event was originally launched in 1980, and was – for two decades – widely heralded as the pinnacle showcase event for synchronized powder skiing, where teams of two compete head-to-head in creating perfect ‘8s’ in deep powder snow.
The event is also credited with popularizing the freeskiing movement of the ’80s and ’90s that now permeates ski culture and the experience of many mountain resorts.
“When I landed in the mountains of Canada in 1959, I had no idea the impact we would have on the sport of skiing. I was just in search of the world’s best powder,” said Wiegele, who recently celebrated his 81st birthday and still leads MWHS.
“However, since starting this company in 1970, we have shared the magic of powder skiing with many thousands of guests, developed the first powder ski at our lodge in Blue River and ignited a global passion for powder skiing; for this we are both incredibly grateful and extremely proud.”
Powderbird – a heli-ski company based in Utah’s Wasatch mountains adjacent to Snowbird – will host the U.S. qualifying events for the MWHS World Powder 8 Championships.
Two teams from the Powderbird U.S. Powder 8 Nationals event will compete in the MWHS event, building on a longstanding training partnership between both organizations.
“We’ve worked with Mike Wiegele guides and staff for more than 20 years, sharing knowledge and best practices,” said Kevin O’Rourke, Powderbird’s vice president of operations.
“Naming the U.S. contingent for Mike Wiegele’s legacy Powder 8 championships while celebrating 50 years of heli-skiing excellence with his team is a sincere honour.”
Dates for the U.S. Powder 8 Nationals, hosted by Powderbird, will be February 5-7, 2020, with a qualifying event open to the public with pre-registration required from January 22-24, 2020.
The official MWHS Powder 8 World Championships will be held March 31 – April 3, 2020, in Blue River, B.C. The championship event will welcome teams from Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Canada, and the U.S.
“I established Powder 8 World Championship because I wanted to motivate and sponsor the sport of powder skiing. To ski more and ski better,” said Wiegele. “We are excited to once again host the world’s best powder 8 skiers in the world’s best snow.”
As for “Call Me Crazy – The Legend of Mike Wiegele,” which launched Dec. 9, 2019, Wiegele said it’s an overwhelming experience to share his life’s journey with the world.
“It’s very gratifying to have your life documented on film,” he said. “It was a miracle that came true and we hope that it keeps growing.”
Whistler based Origin Outside is the production team behind the movie and according to the film’s director Andrea Wing, the production of the film was an emotional experience – from start to finish.
“It has been an absolute joy to bring this film to life,” said Wing.
“It’s challenging trying to tell a life story and it’s also something you definitely don’t want to get wrong. So… getting Mike’s nod of approval was really the highlight of the whole process.”
Bob Rankin, 30-year senior lead MWHS guide, explained that Wiegele is still pursuing this dream and at 81-years-old, he continues to inspire people who have a passion to experience the mountains.
“This film is really special, and Mike deserves it. He is a legend in the industry.
“There were only two or three of them that started out in the late 60’s, with an idea to fly up onto a glacier with a helicopter and skiing down… and thinking maybe people would be interested in doing this. Look where it is now,” Rankin added.
“This film provides the next generation the opportunity to see Mike’s dedication to a dream and his dedication to take people to the mountains and share the joy and beauty of what the mountains give people.”
Call Me Crazy has already received a POWDER Award nomination for Best Documentary, and was included in the Whistler Film Festival and the Rossland Film Festival and was nominated for Best Storytelling at iF3 Montreal.
The film is now available online at https:\www.wiegele.comCallMeCrazy.