Mike Wiegele, founder of Mike Wiegele Helicopter Skiing and a legend of the mountain world, has passed away. Born in 1938 in Austria, he immigrated to Canada in 1959.
In the early 1960s, he worked at Mont Tremblant in Quebec and moved to western Canada in 1964. As heli-skiing becomes more popular, Wiegele starts to operate a ski school and pro shop in Lake Louise. He coached for the Lake Louise Ski Club, which produced six National Team athletes: Ken Read, Jim Read, Chris Kent, Bobby Allison, Mike Irwin and Bill Irwin.
During the 1970’s, Wiegele and his wife, Bonnie, founded the Banff Alpine Races and the Bow Valley Quikies, and opened his own heli-skiing operation out of Valemount. In 1980, Wiegele started to buy land to develop a full service resort for a world-wide, growing clientele.
In 1990, he founded and developed the Canadian Ski Guide Association (CSGA) to train young Canadians as ski guides. Ten years later, Wiegele was elected to the Canadian Ski Hall of Fame, and was inducted into the Canadian Honour Roll of Canadian Skiing for outstanding contributions to the growth and development of skiing in Canada by the Canadian Ski Instructor Alliance (CSIA).
Mike Wiegele Helicopter Skiing released a statement on July 15 about Wiegele’s passing: It is with profound sadness that today we share the passing of our founder and industry legend, Mike Wiegele. Everyone at Mike Wiegele Helicopter Skiing (MWHS) extends our deepest sympathies to the Wiegele family, most notably Mike’s wife Bonnie, their daughter Michelle and their grandson Charlie. Mike enjoyed close and enduring relationships with a broad community of colleagues, guests, and friends from all walks of life — kinships forged on skis, on bikes and on hikes up mountain trails.
Our entire team extends condolences to those connected to Mike across Canada and around the world. Mike lived a remarkable life. He had an unparalleled passion for skiing, was a fearless entrepreneur and was a tireless and innovative advocate for safety in the mountains. His industry leadership spans 50+ years leading to numerous national and international commendations. Competitor, coach, pioneer, entrepreneur, husband, father, and man of the mountains. We remember the motto by which Mike lived his life, and we carry it with us in our hearts and into the mountains.