Jesse de Montigny moved to the Bow Valley in 1998 to take part in Yamnuska’s three month Mountain Skills Semester program. Using this as a springboard for his skills development, he has travelled all over the world to climb and ski and has pursued his passion to become an internationally certified Mountain Guide through the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides. He is also now the Assistant Director of Operations for Yamnuska Mountain Adventures and uses his skills both in the field and in the office to provide you with the best mountain experience possible. Some of Jesse’s personal mountain achievements have included: a 175km ski tour through the spine of the Canadian Rockies from Jasper to the Columbia Icefields, climbing the north face of Mt Temple, and climbing 5.12+ routes around the world. Some of Jesse’s favorite personal trips include: rock climbing in Thailand, Greece and Mexico, lodge-based ski touring in the Selkirk Mountains and ice climbing in the best ice climbing area on the planet… the Canadian Rockies! Jesse lives in Canmore with his wife Christine and his three children Sierra, Kylee and Quinn.
How do the experiences you offer at Yamnuska Mountain Adventures give guests a unique perspective on the history, people or culture of your region?
Yamnuska Mountain Adventures has been operating for nearly 40 years. We have seen a huge evolution in mountain, ski and hiking guiding in Canada. This history puts us in a unique position with a huge depth of experience that can provide guests with a good understanding of the mountain history, people and culture in the area.
How have the experiences that you offer evolved since their inception?
There have been many evolution’s in skiing and climbing over the past 40 years. Guests expectations evolve with these changes and so have we. Expectations are higher both from an objectives perspective as well as a client care and safety perspective. Yamnuska Mountain Adventures is known to be a leader in the industry in this regard. Specifically ice climbing and mountaineering have become more popular and the equipment has evolved/improved dramatically which allows guests to experience the activities at a higher level.
What is one detail of an experience you provide that may go unnoticed by guests, but which you feel is important?
We recognize that our guests time is both limited and valuable. We feel honored that they have chosen a mountain adventure with us. Unforeseen issues whether at a guest or program level do happen and we are prepared. This could be supplying a guest with a piece of forgotten equipment, altering accommodations or a program due to unforeseen conditions or weather, or replacing a guide who has become ill; there are many potential road blocks to a good adventure. This often unnoticed backup helps provide guests with the exceptional experiences they have come to expect and appreciate from us.
What do you wish every guest knew as they consider participating in the experiences you offer?
Guest and program support come to mind. We have a well-structured system including office space, full time office staff for guests to book and ask questions with, a field operations team dedicated to safety and oversight of both programs and guides, dedicated and specific guide training twice per year and a professional fleet of both technical equipment and vehicles that enhance both enjoyment and safety. On top of this we have an exceptional guide team that is not only trained and dedicated but understands our guests sense of adventure. This all allows for smooth running programs that our guests come back again and again for and is unparalleled in the industry.
Do you find that guests have a greater challenge dealing with the physical component of the activities you offer or the environmental exposure inherent to operating in the backcountry through all types of weather?
This depends on both the program and the person. I wouldn’t say it is one or the other but more a factor of the program and the conditions on the day. I would say that both of these challenges are reasons that guests book in the first place….put those two things together and you get adventure.
What is one travel trend that really excites you?
I’m excited to see the growing trend in the backcountry skiing. Gear is improving quickly and people are excited to get out there and enjoy the mountains. People are also taking the time to get trained in avalanche awareness and other backcountry skills which shows their commitment to the sport.
What sets Yamnuska Mountain Adventures apart from other alpine guide companies?
We love what we do and have for the past 40 years. Our guides are passionate and committed to providing guests with the best program possible. To compliment this, Yamnuska Mountain Adventures has a full service facility, full time office, operations and guide team, a licensed kitchen to provide program meals, professional equipment that is inspected and cycled regularly, as well as commercially inspected vehicles for program support. We also offer one of the largest ranges of programming for both the summer and winter including options for the complete beginner to the expert. Combine all of this and you get the highest quality.
What is one insiders tip to getting the most out of an experiential travel vacation?
Be prepared. Read the gear lists and the “is it for you?” section to start and then stay active before your trip. Of course, call if you have any questions!
What is one strategy that has helped your business to grow?
Yamnuska Mountain Adventures has always taken feedback from guests, guides and industry and evolved to provide what we feel are high quality programs with safety as our primary goal. Guests recognize this which keeps them happy and coming back. This in turn helps the business grow.
What is one personal habit that has helped you to be successful?
Motivation. Motivation trumps talent every time. Of course I hope I have some of the latter as well.
Please share one instance where a guest had a moving or emotional reaction to the experience you provided to them.
I feel fortunate to work in an industry where guests arrive excited and highly motivated to be on the trips and programs that we offer. I have a guest who I have guided for numerous years that has progressed from a beginner rock climber to a multi pitch leader. The first lead that this guest successfully completed for themselves was a huge milestone for them and it was a privilege to be part of that experience.