We All Wish We Had This Job

Words by:
Mica Heli

We think Matt Callaghan has the best job.

One of our pilots since the beginning, Matt first flew a helicopter at 15 years old. He was working at Canadian Helicopters as a hangar rat, and caught wind of a four-day intro course complete with four hours of helicopter time. He was hooked from the first moment in flight.

When he quit high school in grade 10, his parents were precise with their leverage. They told him if he went back and graduated with honors, they would put him through flight school. He achieved honors, and then at 18 became Canadian Helicopters’ youngest pilot. He moved to Revelstoke to become base manager soon after, and that’s when the Mica magic started.

He met Mica founders Pete and Dan right after they’d applied for tenure in a remote zone of the western Rockies. While many in the industry scoffed at such a choice of tenure—it was too foggy, not enough snow, the lodge location was laughable—Matt recognized the pioneering spirit that would become Mica, and he flew the two up to scout. Two winters later, Matt flew the first guests, the first film teams, and the first athletes for what was revealed to be the best skiing in the best terrain in British Columbia—maybe the world, some said.

Since then, Matt’s helped to build the safe ski program we pride ourselves on while delivering a top-end ski product with an aviation program to match. He’s flown advisors to the president, celebrities, researchers from National Geographic and BBC, and media crews like Matchstick Productions, Teton Gravity Research and Sherpas Cinema filming mind-blowing skiing in our terrain.

In the early years, I thought all the athletes were just crazy,” he recalls. “But as I came to know them, I understood that they’re absolute upper-echelon professionals. To get to their level, they’re not just incredible athletes but also very smart people.” When I ask him about some of the crazy places he’s landed to drop athletes, he laughs. “We can always put them there, but it’s whether they want to get out, that’s the question. I always give them the option of getting back in,” he winks.

Matt’s worked as a rescue pilot for Parks, in the mountain meccas of Jasper and Glacier. At 22, he was (you guessed it) Parks’ youngest pilot in the program. And – as if flying a helicopter for skiing and rescue isn’t cool enough – he’s learning to drive race cars, specifically one that he’s been building for the last several years. “I’m teaching myself to heel-toe, when you brake and gas with the same foot. I love machinery that requires a high degree of precision. It’s the art of control.”

In the end, Matt doesn’t really think of flying as a job. He thinks of it as playing around with a 700-horsepower aircraft. Which is why we’re convinced he literally has the best “job” on the planet.