While you may not have seen him a ton at the store, Gavin is the person who keeps SkiUphill's chaos organized. From planning events to accounting and finances, he's tirelessly working for the store while still working full time in Calgary! If you have talked to him, you quickly saw that his passion is people. He's one to chat up with if you have stories to share or if you simply want to get into trail running or backcountry skiing.
Where are you from? I was born in Winnipeg and we moved around a bit when I was a kid.
Tell us a little about yourself. Hmmm. I love everything about the mountains. From looking at them and just feeling small to trail runs, ski tours and climbing. When I was younger and we came out to the Rockies for ski trips I remember thinking, “I need to live here” and about 10 years ago I moved to Calgary and then a year and a half ago Canmore (which was my weekend home before that).
What sports did you practice as a child? I skiied (sort of as there are mostly just hill in the Prairies). I also swam and played middle linebacker for a number of years in the amateur football league. I took up trail running in high school and loved it.
What brought you to the mountains? How big and unchanging they are. They are there and just begging for you to run up or ski. I can’t really describe it and it seems like the “because it’s there” is a good starting point for why I do what I do in the mountains. The possibilities are truly endless.
What “personal touch” do you bring to SkiUphill? My background is in business and creating great and thoughtful customer and employee experiences at Starbucks and Apple. I tend to be a bit detailed in these areas. The other part, which I am so passionate about is creating community connections. Events, outings, movie nights and the like that drive the “stoke” around an activity.
What draws you to trail running? It’s incredibly minimalist. It’s just you, a great pair of shoes and the bare essentials. Not much more perfect than that. I have the best ideas when I run, it’s “my” space in a very busy world.
What is your favourite area to ski? Hmmm. There are so many great places. I do love Wapta and all the mountains that you can explore so closely from the ACC huts. There are lots of cool areas to explore up on 93 North. Recently we went into Watermelon Bowl and had some awesome turns.
What are your other hobbies/interests? I’ve started to do some ski mountaineer (Skimo) racing and really enjoy it and am getting faster. Skate skiing is also something that is a great workout. When I’m not doing those things I love cooking and being creative in the kitchen. I usually go to restaurants that have meals that I haven’t made that inspire me to do some fun dishes as well.
What’s your ideal day out in the mountains? That’s a tough one. I am a big extrovert, so whatever the activity it has to involve people, and good friends make it even better. I used to see people with ropes, crampons and axes on their packs and always wished somehow I was them. With Joel, I am “those people” which makes me feel like a hero. I guess on the trails, tall stories, a good run, scramble or climb. People make the days perfect out there.
What is your ski setup this Winter? I’m skiing the Hannibal 176cm, 96 underfoot with Plum Race 170 bindings and the Fischer Travers Carbon boots. The boot is a perfect fit and the first boot that is so comfortable. Plum bindings have been great a there is no fiddling required when I step into the toe piece. I use an extra heel riser for steeper stuff.
What is your go-to running shoe? I switched to Inov8 last Spring, the Roclite 305s. They have an 8mm drop at the back (down from my 12mm drop shoes) and I can get a better sense of the terrain underfoot. Since switching to the lower drop heel I’ve really sped up my downhill running. I’m also a fan of the durable construction and the rock shield underfoot.
Favourite coffee? I’m a black coffee drinker and prefer a minimalist approach to brewing, let the coffee do the speaking. I do pour over with the Phoenix 70 brewing column from Saint Anthony Industries in Salt Lake City. I love Rave Coffee in town and usually lean towards Ethiopian coffees for their fruity yet complex flavours.