Big Red Catskiing Rossland BC Canada

Paula Gaul

President/Founder/ Office Manager

Paula runs the admin side of the business and is usually the one answering the phone.  Co-founder with Kieren, she's been doing this since 2004 while raising three daughters.  Prior to this she was a consultant with Boston Consulting Group, and a logistics officer in 2 Special Service Force, among other things.  With an MBA from UWO/Ivey, and a military studies degree from Royal Military College, she now finds living in Rossland and Pambula NSW the best lifestyle possible, largely because both offer quality cappuccino and nobody ever tells her what to do.The In my early years, I graduated from Royal Roads Military College and was a Captain in the army.  Not always easy, and I had a habit of doing things the hard way, but I do believe that that experience has made me a stronger person and a better leader.  Following that, I was an inside sales rep selling enterprise computer systems in Ottawa back in the day when they would hire anyone to sell technology, and the blind were leading the blind.  For example, I once had to ask my boss, "what's an I/O port?" and he thought that someone was playing a practical joke on him.  If you're a techie, you'll find that funny.  If not, it doesn't matter.

So rather than pursuing what probably could have been a lucrative future in tech, I took 2 years to do an MBA at the Ivey School of Business at UWO in London Ontario.  That was a real eye-opener to the "real world" (meaning the world of business), and then I took 5 months to sail the South Pacific with someone I'd met on the internet.  True story - a good guy and a great sailor, but I suffered motion-sickness, so once we got to Tonga we figured nothing goes to windward like a 747, and I was off to Sydney!  In Sydney, I hooked into a bit of work while crewing in races at CYC, and then met the receptionist for BCG at Kwik Copy while I was printing resumes... 6 interviews later, I had my "dream job" as a consultant with Boston Consulting Group.  Great people, lots of work, a hell of a year, and then the tech bubble burst - none too soon, as by then I'd met Kieren (at a dance class), gotten engaged and pregnant, and didn't feel that traveling 5 days a week or working 10 hours a day suited my parenting style.  In fact, sipping lattes with my friends while Kieren slaved away at work was my ideal parenting style.  

So in 2002, with one daughter born (Sammie), and another on the way (Gaby), it looked as if the company where Kieren worked as Treasurer was going to be sold, and we had to decide whether to move on to something else, or whether he'd get into the next leveraged buyout.  We liked the idea of running our own business, but I was short on ideas.  Thankfully, Kieren had hundreds of them, so I just had to filter through them all to find the good ones.

We found Rossland BC, and loved it, but it was apparent that the resort was in need of a new owner with deeper pockets and some new ideas, so Kieren created a business plan and shopped it around, in the hopes that we'd be involved with it in future, or at the very least that the town wouldn't die when we moved there.  He found a potential buyer, but the resort also found a buyer at the same time, and their buyer was the successful one.  That suited us fine, since the most interesting part of the plan for us was the idea of a cat skiing operation up the highway, based out of Rossland - so that's what we did.

After baby#2 was born, we moved to Rossland to get it all ramped up.  I joined Century21 and sold real estate for a couple of years as well, but after a wild real estate Christmas party, where I vaguely remembering slapping a leather-clad Elvis' butt with Ardis, I fell pregnant with baby #3 (Freesia).  Note: never mix the "rhythm method" with gin & tonics - and if you want someone to actually go through with a vascectomy, drive them there yourself or they'll "get too busy at work and forget about it."

So in 2005, we started operating, and I ran the office out of the house, with a newborn, a 2 year old, and a 4 year-old.  Too easy....A couple of years later, with kids off to school and daycare, we set up the office in the a-frame cabin, and then a year later purchased a proper HQ. 

In 2013, we bought the restaurant next door, with a nice La Marzocco espresso machine, so I have my cappuccino cravings all sorted out.  We started operating "Fresh" in the horror snow season of 2014/15, and thinks improved by leaps and bounds in the 2015/16 season - it's amazing what a little snow will do for a ski resort business, and it's a great spot for breakfast, apres-ski for BRC, and evening dining.

I've finally hired someone else (Jenn) to help with the office, but I'll still be the one answering the phone most of the time and doing most of the bookings.  I'll try to spend more time skiing with guests and sipping cappuccino, but you know how it goes when it's your own business.  I'll be around for a while yet.