Bringing skis to the site is the norm for Summit Construction. (Contributed by Summit Construction)

Constructing a Community: From bum to builder

Summit Construction changing the way people view the ski-bum lifestyle

A ski bum is defined as a person who frequents ski resorts habitually, often doing casual jobs for the sake of skiing. It’s a lifestyle very familiar to Revelstoke, and one that comes with mixed review for locals.

But what happens when the so-called ski bums become the people that are building your home?

Simon Gagnon and the rest of his team at Summit Construction are changing the way people view the transient ski lifestyle by helping build the community through efficient, sustainable housing and renovation.

Gagnon comes from a family of skiers, and has been riding pow since he was two-years-old.

For years, Gagnon’s lifestyle was ‘building in the summer, playing in the winter’. When he first moved to Revelstoke he, like many others in the ski-bum lifestyle, got a job up at Revelstoke Mountain Resort because his goal was to ski.

Gagnon said back then finding housing was easier than it is today.

“It was a lot cheaper then, made the whole experience a lot easier,” said Gagnon.

Since his arrival, the community has seen tremendous expansion, and the need for housing has grown substantially.

Now, Gagnon said that he views the housing crisis as motivation in his work to create sustainable and efficient housing for residents and future-residents of the community. He and the rest of the staff at Summit Construction are always working to expand the number of available houses in Revelstoke to give their family, friends, and customers a place to call home, whether that’s a house or a suite.

Gagnon added that staffing is a vicious cycle for construction companies in Revelstoke, and that he’s lucky that the community is surrounded by the beauty of nature and that people are still willing to come in spite of the housing crisis.

The company puts a big emphasis on maintaining a healthy and active work-life balance.

According to Gagnon, Summit Construction has a pow rule at their company, and that employees are not required to work on days when the community is hit by a dump of snow.

“We’re not attached to the five-day Monday to Friday,” said Gagnon.

Gagnon put an emphasis on the fact that if he or anyone else in the company only wanted to do construction, they could go anywhere else in Canada. He, like many in the community, chose Revelstoke as the place to call home because of the snow and nature that surrounds the community, and as a company, Summit maximises their ability to ride that snow and enjoy nature.

When the snow is gone, they still get out and take advantage of what summer has to offer.

“You go to work earlier, get off earlier, go for a bike when you get off or go for a swim if it’s a hot day,” said Gagnon. The team is a tight-knit group that each allows themselves to enjoy Revelstoke in their own ways.

Summit Construction focuses on keeping that pow around for as long as possible by limiting their contributions to climate change and focusing on operating in green ways. Their projects are a great example of true, local sustainable home building.

Gagnon said his company pays homage to the previous generation of builders in Revelstoke through mutual respect for the craft, the love of being outdoors, and the love of being part of a community, even though sport is not their main connector.

READ MORE: Constructing a community: Putting the spotlight on one of Revelstoke’s influential builders

READ MORE: Revelstoke area sees busiest avalanche season in years


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