Our People | Shane Kroeger
At nineteen years old, most of us are generally floundering around trying to figure out who we are, what we want to be when we grow up, how to live outside our parents' homes and actually be (sort of) adults.
Unless you're Shane Kroeger. At nineteen, he knew exactly what he wanted to be. And he grew right up then and became it.
Okay, well, maybe he didn't know he wanted to be Mica's Guiding Manager, a steadfast foundation of our team, the responsible yang to Assistant Guiding Manager Eric Ostopkevich's rambunctious yin. His dream wasn't that specific. But he did know he wanted to become a ski guide.
Shane started out ski racing in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan on a tiny hill called Blackstrap, with only three hundred feet of vertical. But those three hundred feet were generally sheer ice, which we're convinced is why he can ski the pants off almost anyone to this day. In high school, his race coach took him skiing in the backcountry for the first time in Curry Bowl outside Fernie, before it was part of the in-bounds ski area (without any safety gear to speak of, a move that adult-full-guide Shane looks back on with a laugh tinged with slight horror). Right out of high school, he began guiding as a path to spending more time in the backcountry, and by 26 years old, he'd completed all of his ski certifications - becoming one of the youngest ACMG ski guides on record.
While starting out his career at Ptarmigan Tours and Island Lake Lodge, Shane also river guided on the Athabasca, Maligne, and Sunwapta rivers out of Jasper. And these days, during the summer, he mountain bike races against some of the most competitive athletes in the world.
But to suggest that Shane might have even a smidgeon of ego about any of this makes people who know him burst into laughter. And that's not just because Shane's not much of a talker, about himself or, really, in general. (But holy moly, if you're lucky enough to be in the room with him he lets out one of those guffawing laughs, it's magical).
It's that lack of ego (a rarity, as we all know in the big-mountain world), that quiet-but-rock solid-confidence, that inspires trust in Shane with any of the skiers he guides down mountains, where he confidently and quietly chooses each and every turn to make it the best possible. IT also inspires trust from our whole team. In running Mica's heliski program, even as he goes to great lengths to ensure safety is number one (not just a catch-phrase), Shane's also known for welcoming new ideas and cultivating open communication. Which is no small thing.
"He doesn't have to prove anything to anyone, he's not looking for praise or accolades, he just does what he does and does it exceptionally well. He's humble beyond belief." says Barbara Rose, Mica's Director of Lodge Operations.
In what's usually an ego-driven world, Shane's facilitated and fostered this open culture where we can be vulnerable and learn from mistakes. that's very liberating as a guide.
— Eric Ostopkevich, Assistant Guiding Manager
Shane. He's a charger (on skis, kayaks, bikes), an organizational ninja, a talented guide. He's also in possession of a wickedly dry sense of humour and at the same time he'll baby talk Dughal, our lodge dog (when he thinks no one can hear him). He's a man of few words. But then, who needs words when all your actions speak for you?