Taking a passion for skiing to new heights
College of the Rockies People: Their Courage, Curiosity, and Contributions
Kerry Brinkert, Manager of International Projects and Partnerships at College of the Rockies, like many folks in this region, eagerly awaits the start of ski season. In fact, he’d rather not wait at all; he has a goal of skiing every month of the year.
Brinkert was first introduced to skiing when he was 13 and accompanied a friend to a local hill. That first taste was all it took for him to be hooked. He has pursued his passion for powder and speed ever since.
Before moving to Cranbrook in 2015, Brinkert spent 14 years living in Geneva, Switzerland, working on issues relating to landmines and unexploded ordinance. While there, he was fortunate to be located at the foot of the French Alps and spent significant time at some of the largest ski areas of the world.
When Brinkert and his family returned to Canada, they were attracted to the quality of life they knew existed in the Kootenays, including the world-class skiing. He secured his job at the college, and the family settled in Cranbrook.
As Manager of International Projects and Partnerships, Brinkert is tasked with finding opportunities for students and employees to engage internationally. This requires him to travel to a variety of international locations. If there’s potential for a snowy hill on these trips, he happily hauls his ski gear with him, and as a result has skied in places like Krgyzstan, Andorra, and an indoor ski hill in Dubai.
Closer to home, Brinkert kicks off his ski season in early November, making the three-hour drive to take part in opening day at either Lake Louise or Sunshine Village Ski Resort in Banff. Once conditions permit in our region, he makes sure to hit opening day at both Fernie and Panorama. Most frequently, you’ll find him at his local hill, the Kimberley Alpine Resort.
“I love the friendly vibe at our region’s mountains,” he said. “When I first moved here, tons of locals freely shared their secret powder stashes with me. Now I do the same when I ride the lifts with visitors.”
The ski season ends too early in our region for Brinkert’s liking. When local hills close in April, he makes the drive out Lake Louise or Sunshine again to enjoy some last runs during the May long weekend.
His aim is to ski 50 days each season.
“That’s my goal while I’m still working,” he says. “It certainly will go up once I retire.”
He came close to his goal this year. And made some progress toward another of his aspirations – to ski every month of the year.
“One of my chairlift buddy’s in Kimberley, a woman named Pat, mentioned that skiing in each month was something she aspired to do, and I thought it sounded like a great idea.”
Though not quite at all 12 months yet, Brinkert did ski from November 2018 straight through to July 2019. A work conference this past June allowed him to do some glacier skiing at Whistler-Blackcomb and while vacationing in France in July he was able to pop over to Italy to ski Matterhorn Glacier Paradise, which straddles the Swiss-Italian border.
All-in-all he ended the season having completed 48 ski days and more than 228,000 vertical metres.
When skiing isn’t an option, you’ll still find Brinkert in the mountains.
“I love to hike, I love to bike, but while those activities are fun, it’s really just the waiting period for the snow to fall again.”
Though the region’s ski season is right around the corner, Brinkert wasn’t interested in waiting. He was at Nakiska Ski Area in Kananaskis, Alberta on October 26 for their earliest opening ever. And the pursuit of a full year of skiing starts once again.
Lead image: Kerry Brinkert spends most of his ski days at the Kimberley Alpine Resort. Photos submitted
College of the Rockies