March 9, 2019
81-year-old veteran Forest Walker chases winter in a CMH helicopter.
By BCA pro athlete Corey Seeman
Every year it has been a pleasure and a privilege to be invited to go to Canadian Mountain Holidays’ (CMH) Steep Shots and Pillow Drops (SSPD) program in the Kootenays in British Columbia. As special as this heliskiing trip already was this season, what was even more amazing was that one of the longtime guests named Forest Walker was returning for his seventh consecutive SSPD program. Forest Walker is no ordinary guest: Forest is an 81-year-old Vietnam veteran who flew helicopters in Vietnam and spends his winters chasing powder!
Walker is not like other snowbirds that flock south for the harsh winters; he spends his summers in Virginia and moves every winter to Bozeman, Montana to ski Bridger Bowl every day. That’s a true snowbird in my book. There are many tales of the people of Bridger seeing Forest hiking the ridge every day to get his share of the Montana cold smoke.
This program is for CMH clients that want to push their level of skiing and get extreme heliskiing in the backcountry. It is honestly one of the best programs on the market, skiing world-class terrain guided by the best guides in the game. When I first found out that Forest was in our group of advanced skiers looking to push their limits, I lit up. What an honor it was to spend the next five days heliskiing world-class powder with an 81-year old heli vet legend!
The next five days we were off in the bird with over four feet of fresh snow. I teamed up as Forest’s ski partner, and we sent it through everything we could find. I kept thinking to myself how inspiring it is that an 81-year-old boss was lighting up the slopes. He was a true motivator to the rest of the group, the majority of whom were in their 40s. A few of them, in fact, even flew back to the lodge at lunchtime to rest their legs. But not Forest; he skied every line of powder that he could. First one out of the helicopter and the last one in!
Forest was the most inspirational cat that I have ever had the honor to ski with. He gives me the motivation to know that I could still be hitting backcountry pillows and steep shots when I’m in my 80s! And he’s not planning on slowing down. Forest already has booked his heliskiing trip next year for the CMH Steep Shots and Pillow Drops program, and plans to hit the CMH milestone of ONE MILLION VERTICAL FEET at the age 82 years old. #sendandreturn
BCA pro athlete Corey Seemann is a professional big mountain extreme skier, multi-engine instrument commercial pilot and realtor with Montana RE/MAX of Whitefish. Find him on Instagram @screamincmon #sendandreturn