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Robson Gmoser, Leading Ski Guide and Adventurer, Killed in Avalanche

On March 10, Robson Gmoser was caught in an avalanche and despite efforts by other skiers, he passed away shortly after.

Robson Gmoser Photo Jordan Matthew Yerman
Robson Gmoser Photo Jordan Matthew Yerman

Robson, 45, was undoubtedly one of the finest ski guides in Western Canada. On Tuesday, he was guiding at the Sorcerer Lodge near Glacier National Park. Around 5 p.m., he and another skier were in the area of a slope known as The Heinous Traverse. The other skier began working on the uptrack through the forest for the following day. After a short period of time, the skier attempted to radio Robson, but had lost radio contact with him. He back-tracked and observed the avalanche slide path.

Despite the continued danger, the other skier heroically entered the avi debris and used his avalanche beacon to locate Robson. He then radioed for help. Robson was buried under a lot of snow and debris. The other skier was very fast in locating and digging out Robson and beginning CPR. Others soon arrived to assist with the rescue, but could not revive him.

Robson grew up in the Canadian Rockies in a family of mountain lovers. His father was the legendary climber and guide who invented heli-skiing, Hans Gmoser. Hans, along with Robson’s mother, Margaret, named Robson after the Rockies’ highest summit, Mount Robson.

Robson Gmoser
Robson Gmoser

His love for guiding started in 1985, when he began taking hikers out at Mount Assiniboine Lodge. In the mid-90s, Robson started to work for his father’s company, Canadian Mountain Holidays. Robson decided to leave the large company and work for a smaller operation. He based himself at Battle Abbey, a remote backcountry lodge in the Selkirk Mountains. Over the years, he earned his Association of Canadian Mountain Guides (ACMG) Ski Guide certification. It wasn’t long before he owned Battle Abbey and spent his winters taking people skiing.

Robson also lived on Canada’s West Coast and worked as a sea kayaking guide. Among the many places Robson guided were the Queen Charlotte Islands, Greenland and Patagonia. In the the late 1990s, he started his own guiding operation called Wild Trips Adventures.

Robson’s death has shaken the outdoor community, from the Rockies and West Coast to everywhere else he called home. He was a second generation Canadian ski guide and one of the finest. “He was one of those exceptional people,” his cousin, the Olympic medalist Sara Renner, said earlier today to The Globe and Mail. “One of those people you can never get enough of.”

Since our day on Yamnuska, anytime I’m faced with an oncoming storm high in the mountains, I remember Robson yelling “Yahooo” to the skies and some of my worry goes away.

Robson is survived by his wife, Olivia, and their young son, Max. Everyone at Gripped expresses their deepest condolences to Robson’s family and friends.

Robson Gmoser Photo Wild Tours Adventures

Written by Gripped editor Brandon Pullan with information from CBC, The Globe and Mail and Wild Tours Adventures.