Guest photo editor: John Schwirtlich
Ski Canada’s photo editor this month has done it right. From loading lifts to ski resort sales, repping ski equipment and fashion, to ski magazine minions, the Canadian ski industry employs a lot of people, but Schwirtlich wasn’t able to convince us he doesn’t have the absolute best job out there.
As staff photographer at Mike Wiegele Helicopter Skiing in Blue River, B.C., for a decade Schwirtlich heli-skis 90-100 days a season. That’s 90-100 days!
Now with instruction and guiding qualifications, Schwirtlich’s background began like many who work in the ski world of Western Canada. His humble beginnings centred around his family’s ski school and ski shop operation at the lofty Chicopee Ski Club in Ontario’s mountainous region of Kitchener. On skis at age two, Schwirtlich never looked back.
“My Father was the ski school director, and photographer, there for 30 years from 1972-2002,” says Schwirtlich, “but I moved to Whistler in 1989 and taught at the ski school for more than 10 years.” After emigrating to Wiegele World, and Kamloops off-season, Schwirtlich and wife, “skier extraordinaire” Jackie Lloyd, added three more skiers to the planet—as well as dog Daisy.
In a comment that displayed a surprising level of normality for someone who skis 90+ days of untracked a season, Schwirtlich added, “I love spending time on the weekends (when I can) skiing at Sun Peaks with my family. Oksana, 17, has her CSIA Level I and teaches part time. My son Micah, 7, is in the Nancy Greene race program at Sun Peaks, and Jacob, 4, loves doing the flying wedge snowplow and prefers powder.” (And yes, rarely but occasionally, he’s able to find empty seats to spoil the family with in a Wiegele heli or cat.)
When asked for advice on how to make a mediocre skier look fabulous on film, Schwirtlich suggests, “A smile goes a long way! And deep powder works great for covering up a weaker skier’s stance.”
This month, Schwirtlich shares some of his favourite photos snapped at the best heli- and cat-skiing in the world, right here at home.
See more of the best of John (and Wiegele clients) at www.certainimages.com.
Tags: Bella Coola Heli Sports, Big Red Cats, Bryan Ralph, Chicopee Ski Club, Daryl Treadway, Erich Schadinger, Featured, Geoff Holman, heli-snowcat skiing, Ian Tierney, Jason Martin, Jay Reynolds, John Schwirtlich, K3 Cat Ski, Matt Elliott, Mike Wiegele Helicopter Skiing, Paul Morrison, Selkirk Tangiers, Selkirk Tangiers Heliskiing, Selkirk Wilderness Skiing, Sun Peaks, Todd Avison