As a kid, we were always going on adventures as a family. There were the simpler ones, like fishing in the streams near my first house in Sackville, to more epic ones, like when our family of seven piled into our station wagon and ventured across Canada and the US for nearly two months in 1986. I think this is where it all began for me.

During our travels that summer, we camped all across the country, stopping at many national parks along the way. I can still remember hiking down into the Grand Canyon with my two brothers. We carried on across the deserts and all the way home back to New Brunswick, with the spirit of adventure deeply rooted in my bones.

The following year, we moved to Sussex, where the adventures continued, with Poley Mountain, Fundy National Park, and St. Martins all within reach. In high school, I worked at Broadway Cycle and Ski and at the Poley Mountain rental shop. In grade 12, I decided to take an Entrepreneurship class, for which I still have my final project – a business plan for the “Great Outdoors” – a business plan for what eventually became Outdoor Elements – a kid can dream!

In 1997, after graduating high school, I had planned on going to University. But a friend of mine in Jasper, Ross Jonah, called me a few days before the school year was set to start, about a job opportunity at Totem Ski Shop. I made a quick decision and headed west. Jasper was a great town, but the ski resort industry was calling my name, so after three months there, I headed to my next gig in Kamloops at Sun Peaks Ski Resort, where I worked for the pre-season, but due to lack of snow, the season was delayed. I returned home in early January to go to UNB, where I also began working part-time at Ski Wolf, a cycle and ski shop in Fredericton.

After two years at UNB, I chose a different path (yes, this path involved a girl named Mary) and I moved to Halifax to work at Aerobics First, a well-known ski shop in Atlantic Canada. Under the mentorship of Dean Cheverie, I gained valuable experience and was able to further hone my skills in the ski tuning craft. As the ski season was coming to a close, another call came from a friend, Eric Goss, on the west coast, with a “once-in-a-life-time” opportunity to work as a bike mechanic at the world-renowned Cove Bike Shop. So, as I had done before, I booked a plane ticket the next day and packed my bags for Vancouver. This time, I had some company, as my girlfriend Mary joined me and spent that summer working down the street from me at the famous Honey Doughnuts Coffee Shop in Deep Cove.

My time at Cove Bike Shop would prove to be some of the most valuable before opening Outdoor Elements. I was introduced to a network of amazing people and gained knowledge of the industry in a fast-paced environment that I feel I wouldn’t have experienced anywhere else. It’s here that I saw the importance of the connection of the shop to the industry, the local trail community, and the greater resort industry, which was just taking off at Whistler-Blackcomb.

Torn between the east and west coast, Mary and I decided to move back to Halifax so she could continue with her education at Dalhousie. And I went back to work at Aerobics First for another busy winter as a ski technician. As spring rolled around, I heard about an opening at Cyclesmith and decided that summer in Halifax could be yet another opportunity to gain experience in a large, fast-paced bike shop. Cyclesmith was a much different shop than I was used to. It was much more structured and I learned a lot from the owners and senior mechanics about the importance of attention to detail and smart business operations.

As Mary was finishing her degree, I was looking to further my education. I had heard of the Ski Resort Operations & Management Program at Sel-kirk College in Nelson, BC. I applied, was accepted, and began the program in September 2001. During my time there, I worked at two shops part-time and actually moved back to NB to complete my work term at Crabbe Mountain as their Rental & Repair Shop Manager and Events Coordinator under the guidance of Norm Hull. We had planned to stay out west for a few years, but Mary was diagnosed with cancer so we decided to move home to be close to family while she recovered.

After graduating from Selkirk College in 2003 we found ourselves back home in Sussex. I took a job at Poley Mountain as the Assistant Marketing Director and Events Coordinator. The local shop, Broadway Cycle & Ski, had closed the previous winter and there was a void in the market. My phone started ringing to see if I could tune skis for people, which meant I was taking skis home to sharpen and wax in my basement most nights that winter. When spring rolled around, I was laid off and the locals were looking for someone to fix their bikes. When bikes started piling up at my house, I decided it was time to find a space where I could set up a proper repair shop.