craig hall crested butte heliskiing and fighting forest fires

Ep. 65 Craig Hall | Crested Butte Heliskiing and Flying to Fight Forest Fires

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Craig Hall grew up in the Southeast Colorado town of La Junta, but often visited the Gunnison and Crested Butte area to ski and fish.  After graduating with a forestry degree from Colorado State University, Craig headed to Crested Butte to ski.  He was part of a small group of skiers that were heading out into the backcountry and started to learn the newly re-discovered telemark turn as the best way to access the mountains surrounding Crested Butte with the gear that was available at the time.

A heliskiing company was starting, and Craig was recommended as someone who knew the area.  Thus began Craig's career as a heliskiing guide, skiing many of the runs that are popular with today's backcountry skiers.  Later, the operation moved to Marble to attract the Aspen market, where his clients included Saudi Sheiks and local drug dealers.  

After the heliskiing company folded, Craig was able to combine his forestry degree, past experience as a "hot shot" firefighter, and helicopter experience to fight fires from the air, something he still does today.  When we recorded this episode in early October 2020, the Cameron Peak fire had not yet exploded into Colorado's largest ever, and the destructive East Troublesome fire had not yet started.  When you hear updates on those fires, chances are good that Craig was there, assisting the firefighting efforts from the air.

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