When we got the new trolley’s for our future Storage Bay Tours across the street, my GM for Fantasy of Flight, Kim Long, decided to try a Florida History and Citrus Tour, as many tourists come from overseas and are fascinated by both.

One of our two Trolleys . . . The Orlampa Express . . . touring the Groves!

Turned out, several of our employees were Florida-born “Crackers.”  Not only were they a wealth of information . . . they both now do the tours!

Currently we do two tours a day from the normal Fantasy of Flight entrance, which tour through much of my Orlampa property.  A tour last about an hour and cost about $10 for an adult.  Come on out and check it out!

Kermit

It’s been over a year since I went on a diet using the Stayhealthy equipment I invested in and am happy to say I’ve kept off over 20 lbs. and kept my body fat percentage in my desired 15% range.  I continue to exercise as regularly and am glad I made a Stayhealthy choice.

One of the side benefits of the diet was really learning what to eat and what not to eat and, while I still enjoy drinking socially and an occasional dessert, I’ve found my eating habits have changed significantly.  One of the main changes is that I eat a lot more vegetables.  My wife has recently begun growing a garden and we eat more fresh vegetables with lunches and dinners.  It’s amazing how much healthier they taste than what you generally buy at the store.

We recently moved the Stayhealthy Kiosk at Fantasy of Flight from our employee break room into the attraction area for our patrons to use.

Our Wingwalker character Penelope H. (Hang On!) Sparstrutter on the Stayhealthy Kiosk that is now in the Attraction!

One of the things we intend to do is to turn it around for privacy purposes as well as put a three-panel backdrop behind it with different texts to educate and provoke thought in the Fantasy of Flight way.

The center and title panel will be a quote from a famous Chinese philosopher and applies to just about everything we undertake in life.

With many dreams and goals, I have learned the profoundness of this saying and apply it to much of my life.  It takes time to learn and do great things and I’ve learned from my experience that patience is a virtue.  Also, it really is not about getting there; it is – ALL ABOUT THE JOURNEY!

The left panel will tell our patrons how Stayhealthy has the potential to help the future development of Fantasy of Flight.

The right panel will entice our patrons to check out their health with the potential of helping their future.

As you can see, we’ve tried to deliver the information in the Fantasy of Flight way where our patrons self-discover themselves for themselves.  We’re not only looking forward to healthier employees, but healthier patrons, and a healthier Fantasy of Flight!

Kermit

I headed out to the Canadian Rockies again for my annual Heli-ski Trip with family and friends.  The Bugaboo Lodge was where Heli-skiing really all got started back in 1965 by an Austrian mountain and ski guide named Hans Gmoser and his company Canadian Mountain Holidays.

One of the Bugaboo Spires on the first run of a very cold morning!

They originally began flying with Bell 47 helicopters (MASH-type) but now fly twin-engine turbine powered Bell’s.  The scenery is breathtaking and the famous Bugaboo Spires can be seen above the lodge at the head of the glacier at the end of the valley.

One of the great things about the Canadian Rockies is the altitude we ski at is lower than in the States.  The lodges are around 2500′ and the tops of the highest runs are around 8000′.  As a comparison, the bottom of the mountain I ski at in Utah begins at 8000′.  This translates into more oxygen for the Heli-skiers and thicker air for the helicopters to operate more efficiently.

Our chariot arrives to take us closer to heaven and more fresh powder!

There are a number of lodges to choose from and several offer Heli-hiking in the summer, which I want to check out one day.

Everyone goes through safety training upon arrival and goes over the details of  the avalanche beeper training, which we all wear.  Everyone now carries a backpack with a radio, a snow probe, and a snow shovel in case of an accident.   Once this is done, it’s off to the slopes for fun in the powder!

What it's all about!

We eat lunch out on the mountain, which is delivered by a second smaller helicopter. Guides also use this helicopter for checking snow conditions and occasionally blasting to set off avalanches under controlled conditions.

Lunch on the mountain!

Most lodges have four groups of 11 skiers and a guide per helicopter but a few have three groups.  There maybe a few times where you wait for a lift while the helicopter refuels but you then get the opportunity to take a rest and enjoy the scenery.  As long as the weather conditions are good, I’ve always gotten more than my share of great skiing.

Bored waiting for the helicopter? I made a face in a Snow Cookie!

Heli-skiing is not without it’s hazards.  One of the really fun aspects is tree-skiing.  To me, it’s the ultimate video game because every run is different and you never know what’s coming up next.  You follow the technique race car drivers use in a car crash.  Don’t look at the wall (or the trees) . . . look for the open spots!  Sometimes they’re a bit narrower than you’d like and you end up catching a thorny branch or two.

A hazard of skiing in tight trees . . . thorny branches!

There’s a basic rule they tell us that I’m pretty good at following, “If you can’t see over it . . . don’t ski over it!”  

Of course, everyone thinks about avalanches.  The weather and snow conditions can change quickly over the week but the guides are well-trained and alert to the current conditions.  They’ve learned much over the years and their knowledge has increased safety.

Several years before I began heli-skiing, some of my family came to the Bugaboos for their first ever trip in 1994 and witnessed the worst accident in CMH history.  They had just finished a run called Bay Street as Group One and, while waiting at the bottom, watched Group Two begin to come down from the top.  Several of the skiers, with limited English, went a bit beyond where they were told to ski and the whole mountain slid from the top.  Fortunately, the slide stopped just short of Group One at the bottom but, unfortunately, nine skiers in Group Two lost their lives.  Out of respect, they’ve never skied the run again.

Bay Street!

While there are still dangers, the risks have been minimized over the years and thousands of skiers still flock from all around the world every year to enjoy the great sensation of skiing lots of untracked powder.

Last run of the week with the Bugaboo Lodge (and the Bar) waiting at the bottom!

At some point I may have to give it up but, at 58, I still feel I’ve got a few great years left in me!

Kermit