Selkirk Mountain Experience
On Colltex Swiss Ski Skins
Ruedi grew up in Linthal, Switzerland. His father was a police officer and well known avalanche dog master in the Swiss Alps. When Ruedi was about 16 years old (around 1970), his father was given a pair of adhesive Colltex (then called Tödi Sport) skins to use during rescues. He was given these by a friend of his, who was then the owner of Tödi Sport. At the next avalanche accident, Ruedi’s father walked several hours to the site. In ensure that his German Shepard, Janko, didn’t get tired, he put his dog on top of his pack and carried him to the site, wearing the Colltex skins on his skis. But he didn’t fully trust that the new adhesive technology would work, so he also carried an old pair of skins with him. He didn’t end up having to use them, because the Colltex skin worked so well! Even with the additional weight of a dog on his pack. After that he was sold.
Ruedi has since had a long history of using Colltex skins. When he was 22 years old, he became an Internationally Certified Mountain Guide (IFMGA) and proceeded to ski all over the world (Ruedi’s resume). In 1980 he came to Canada to guide, and fell in love with the serene, remote and untouched Selkirk Mountains (compared to the developed and busy Alps). At the time, ski touring was not a well-known sport in North America, nor did people traditionally go into the mountains with guides in the way that was normally done in Switzerland. Having explored the Selkirks by tent, he had a vision for a small chalet, which would allow him to show guests these remote mountains in comfort. Using maps, he found the Durrand Glacier area and built the small, original Durrand Glacier Chalet in 1985, thus founding Selkirk Mountain Experience. Since then, he married Nicoline and had two kids Charlotte and Florina, who were raised in the mountains. He also built two more small chalets in the area, and guided guests on ski trips and expeditions in Alaska, Canada and through the Alps. During this time, SME became a world reknowned ski adventure company, and has been listed as a “National Geographic Adventure” ‘Best Adventure Travel Company on Earth’, three times.
Throughout these years, Ruedi skied on Colltex skins. With 59 years on skis, he feels that Colltex, by far, makes the highest quality skins. He refers to them as the “Rolex of skins”. SME guides will only use Colltex and recommend them highly to all their guests.
In His Own Words
I grew up in a mountain village, in the Kanton of Glarus, in the Swiss Alps, in a family where mountaineering and skiing is just “what you do”. On weekends and during the summer holidays my family packed the packs with food and clothing and off we went, the destination a small hut in the high mountains.
It was natural for me to spend time in the mountains, ski racing, ski touring, hiking or climbing. It took me a few years until I realized how lucky I was, growing up in the mountains and having parents who have shown me what an amazing life the mountains give us, “we just have to recognize it”. Already at the age of 15 I realized that steeper and more challenging mountains meant a lot to me. Hard alpine rock routes and mixed alpine faces became my playground. I was 22 years of age when I received the “Bergfuehrerpatent” (Mountain Guide Certification) by the Swiss and International Mountain Guide Association. My dreams became reality, guiding people on great alpine routes and amazing ski-tours and in addition I got paid. How much better can life really be.
In 1980 I immigrated to Canada and promoted European style ski-mountaineering in the Canadian Rockies and the Northern Selkirk Mountains, something which was at the time definitely not known in the USA and in Canada. It was a tough journey and required a lot of education of skiers about “my” style of guiding ski mountaineering. In addition, in 1985 I founded Selkirk Mountain Experience and built the Durrand Glacier Chalet, a remote alpine lodge in the heart of the Northern Selkirk Mountains. Finally, in the late eighties it all paid off. Guiding ski-mountaineering in Canada reached big success and became highly regarded worldwide. European style ski-mountaineering became accepted in Canada.
I can definitely say that I have the best life. Living with my wife Nicoline and our two daughters Charlotte and Florina at the remote Durrand Glacier Chalet. Guiding guests on great ski tours with endless powder and guiding climbing guests on long alpine rock routes… in an area where there is really nobody else except me and my guests. Every year, when the ski season comes to an end at Canada’s Durrand Glacier I then fly to the European Alps and guide the Haute Route, Mont Blanc, Monte Rosa and great tours and peaks in many other areas of the Alps where the deep mountain culture is readable on every rock and mountain slope.
I think my biggest achievement is that I am able to have a deep passion toward the mountains and my profession, guide people in the most incredible ski terrain and take them on harder and easier alpine routes. For me it is not about all the extreme ski descents I have done, guide ski-tours year after year well over one million vertical feet while breaking trail in deep powder, that I have pioneered many ski traverses in Canada, managed numerous expeditions to high altitude peaks and achieved over 250 first ascents in Canada and the European Alps; all these activities are just what I do in my life. However, for me life is all about being able to share something with my ski and climbing guests, it means everything to me. Being in the mountains and in life live like “every day is the best day”.
— Ruedi Beglinger, December 2019