Every year after the heli ski season wraps in April, our guides migrate to all corners of the globe. Some go back home to their ‘day jobs’and some on adventures. This post features Lead Guide Ron Betts who recently started a Zipline company in Chase, BC called Tree Top Flyers. So if you are ever passing through the area, stop by. Here is what he had to say…
Where do you call home in the off-season?
Home is in Kamloops BC, my wife Lora might argue that I’ve been living in Chase BC because, as any new business owner soon finds out, I’ve been spending a disproportionate amount of time there. If the truth were told though, as a native Nova Scotian, my heart is always in Cape Breton.
What keeps you busy in the off-season:
Building and now operating a zipline has kept me really busy for the past couple of summers. The hard work is paying off though as we’ve now started full operations and have greeted guests from almost every corner of the globe. It’s been really rewarding to see people’s reactions to a product we’re really proud of.
Tell us about Tree Top Flyers.
Treetop Flyers at Chase Canyon is British Columbia’s newest eco-adventure product. It is a 3-zipline park situated in one of the most scenic canyons I’ve ever seen. Our guests get to see bighorn sheep in their native habitat, fly over 2 spectacular waterfalls and speed through a narrow canyon. We try to give our guests the perfect mix of adventure, local history and a bit of an appreciation of the First Nation culture in the area, which all combine to make Chase a really unique and incredible place.
What motivated you to start the business?
My main motivation was a realization that what I craved in my professional life was sharing unique experiences with people. Which is what I love about guiding at Mike Wiegele’s. It took 10 months of working in an office, away from Blue River, to make me see that. I have joked that the best part about those 10 months was meeting my current partners and taking the leap of faith to get this project off the ground.
If you had to choose, would you be a heli ski guide or zipline guide?
Tough choice, heli ski guiding offers so many superlatives, the best snow in the world, the best terrain, amazing people and the facilities at Mike Wiegele’s are second to none. Ziplining is a very family oriented product, we spend less time with our guests but the reward of sharing the experience with families is hard to describe. Can I keep doing it the way I am and not choose? I’ll pick both.
Anything else you want to add?
Without exaggeration, the most valuable lessons I have learned about starting an adventure tourism product came from working at Mike Wiegele’s. Tangible things like attention to detail, the importance of guide training to enable your guides to be the best at their jobs, having a commitment to safety and risk management and the best safety equipment available. There are also intangibles that have come from Blue River, treating each guest like family, truly appreciating people who sample your product, being part of a small community and a sense of wanting to contribute to the economic and social well being of the area. All of these things I learned during my time at Mike Wiegele’s and I’ve tried to incorporate them into my own business philosophy.
Stay tuned for more Guide Adventures.