It has been a summer to remember, full of heat and next to no rainfall. It is very much starting to feel like it’s almost over and I am nearing the end of another contract job. I was lucky enough to land an amazing position this summer trail mapping in the Kananaskis network with a Calgary based company, ISL Engineering. The company was able to secure a contract with Parks Canada in order to map the 1500km+ trail system in the Kananaskis region. Within the contract, the safety plan outlined that all surveyors would travel with a partner through the backcountry in case of an emergency. This position was advertised as a “Safety Rider”, and through a friend I was offered the position. Any plans Marisa and I had initially thought about for the summer changed, and we made the decision to move to Calgary in order for me to pursue this dream job while Marisa looked for something similar to do (which she found coaching mountain biking).
In my job description it said there would be surveying with bikes. I learned much earlier into the position our contract from Parks came with permits allowing us to ride our bikes on trails not sanctioned for mountain biking. Coming off a travelling high in New Zealand where Marisa and I rode as many backcountry bike trails as we could find, this job was a dream come true! The hike-a-bike first legal descents I have been privileged to ride this summer has only sparked me to pursue the world of mountain biking and outdoor sports even more!
A talk with a professional ski guide I met at the same split-board camp where Marisa and I met said some inspiration words he may or may not remember, but I play it back in my mind every time I’m contemplating whether to just go back and get an engineering job again and stop chasing the “fun jobs'”. “Just Keep Doing It”, he told me. I was referring to how he became a ski guide and what one has to do to get there, but it also applies to anything that one must work for and can’t be given to overnight.
I wouldn’t say it’s been exceptionally hard to find jobs in the outdoor industry, but as I move forward I would like to find some jobs that carry more respect in the industry like patrolling or guiding.
With this I will continue to pursue outdoor related jobs until it no longer makes sense to do so. I have no idea where I will end up next, but being flexible is one thing that makes this lifestyle a lot more manageable at least when you’re getting started. I’m now signing off to continue sending emails and resumes with hopes of locking down some work for the up-coming winter season.
Posted by Mitch