Guide Profile: Les Parsons

I have been guiding since 1984, when I took a trip down the Nahanni for the first time with my good friend Neil Hartling, and have now been guiding for over 25 years! In that time I have travelled the Nahanni, Tatshenshini, Burnside, Coppermine, Mountain, Stikine, Thelon and Wind, as well as having visiting many other corners of the world in my years. That first trip down the Nahanni however, is what sparked my love of the remote wilderness that can only be found in Canada’s north. Now I need to migrate north every summer to recharge my batteries in the land of the midnight sun. Wilderness is a big part of who I am as person.

My “day job” is as a Cross Country Skiing Coach, and I have had the privilege of coaching some amazing athletes including 2002 and 2006 Olympic Gold and Silver Medalist Beckie Scott, and 2011 World Championship Gold Medalist Alex Harvey. Camrose, AB is where I call home and where I am currently the Head Coach of both the Augustana Vikings Cross Country Ski Team and the Camrose Ski Club.

Some of my favourite things about guiding are getting to share the experience and the sense of discovery and adventure with the guests, as well as visiting around the camp fire at the end of the day – talking about how we can solve the world’s problems. Let’s be honest though, I REALLY love the gourmet food we get to enjoy at every meal along the river!

I am continually looking to do my part to protect our natural environment by guiding people to encounter & experience our wilderness, knowing that they will join our effort to protect our planet. At the end of our trips…I challenge our guests to act on David Suzuki’s simple message of four words: “We All Live Downstream!”

Les Parsons