Curtis’ Story

Curtis Pawliuk came to Valemount from Prince George in 2001 for an outdoor recreation and ecotourism program. That’s also when he met his future wife, a Valemount local.

“I’ve really never looked back,” says Curtis.

The move opened his eyes to small-town living and introduced him to all the great stuff the valley has to offer – both the mountains and the people. He worked away for a while, in the adventure tourism sector, but returned to Valemount off and on, always with the intention of making it his young family’s permanent home.

Like in many small communities, “You often need to create your own opportunities,” says Curtis. And his passion is mountain snowmobiling.

“My snowmobile has given me so many opportunities to see places that only people with helicopters will ever see, and to meet some amazing people along the way.”

Curtis recognized a need in the local mountain snowmobiling community – avalanche education and mentorship. With more and more people venturing into the backcountry, there was a real need to encourage and educate people in assessing and avoiding the risks posed by avalanche, and a dearth of training options.

So Curtis set up Frozen Pirate Snow Services, which specializes in avalanche education and mentorship, and offers a combination of clinics, riding instruction and on-mountain guiding. The combination has been a great hit for snowmobilers who come for the weekend, and want to learn the safety required, but also want time in the mountains.


“It’s been very successful – overwhelming, almost,” says Curtis.

“I am extremely passionate about, and believe in, what I am teaching and I truly love sharing the backcountry with others. Frozen Pirate is by sledders for sledders.”

Valemount is a hub for recreational activity and one of the best places in the world for mountain sledding, he says. The clients his company need were already coming here, they just needed to be marketed to and encouraged to become safer backcountry users.

Frozen Pirate Snow Services is filling a void, and supporting other services offered here, while supporting a good direction for winter tourism opportunities.

And it means Curtis gets to spend lots of time where he wants to be – in the snow in the mountains.

– written by Korie Marshall