Monday 24 November 2014

Tauck Marks 90th Anniversary with Special Heli-Exploring Departures

Ninety years after Arthur Tauck Sr., helped launch the escorted tour industry, the family-owned and operated company bearing his name will be celebrating the pioneering spirit and traditions of innovation that continue to drive it today.

To mark its 90th anniversary next summer, and for a limited number of departures only, Tauck will once again operate “heli-hiking” (or “Heli-Exploring” as it is now deemed by Tauck) trips in the Canadian Rockies.

Tauck Heli-Exploring_Bugaboo

Invented in the 1970s by Arthur Tauck Jr., Tauck’s chairman and son of the company’s founder, heli-exploring brings guests high into the Canadian Rockies via helicopter to experience incredible alpine wonders paired with the comforts and convenience of lodges originally built for helicopter-assisted ski vacations.
Tauck will operate six departures of its “Bugaboos Adventure” in July and August of next year. The seven-day itinerary (from $5,990 per person, double occupancy, plus airfare) begins with two nights at The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise in Banff National Park. On Day 3, guests will board helicopters and be transported to the Bugaboo Lodge high in the Purcell Mountains. During a three-night stay at the lodge guests will explore the surrounding area on guided daily walks in small groups based on guests’ preference for easier or more challenging terrain.
On Day 6 guests will be ferried by helicopter down from the Purcells, exploring Yoho National Park and visiting Emerald Lake while en route to a final night spent at the iconic Fairmont Banff Springs hotel. Included in the price are all lodging, helicopter and ground transportation, airport transfers, all meals (except for one lunch at Lake Louise), most gratuities, and much more.

Heli-hiking was born in the late 1970s when Arthur Tauck Jr. was enjoying a heli-skiing vacation at an alpine lodge in the Canadian Rockies. Befriending the lodge’s owner, Hans Gmoser, Tauck asked how the lodge and two others owned by Gmoser were utilized in the warmer summer months. To Tauck’s surprise, Gmoser replied that the lodges were mothballed until the following ski season.

Recognizing an opportunity, Tauck proposed a partnership with Gmoser in which Tauck would bring guests of all ages and abilities to the lodges during the summer months, allowing them to experience alpine landscapes and amazing views previously enjoyed only by skilled mountaineers. Tauck’s first heli-hiking trips began operating in 1978 and for 31 years they were rated #1 among all Tauck itineraries for guest satisfaction. At the same time, they also provided Arthur Tauck Jr. with some of the most gratifying moments in an illustrious career spanning more than 50 years in the travel industry.

“As I look back over our 90-year history in the travel business, hosting guests all over the world, one of my greatest pleasures has been seeing and hearing the emotions expressed by guests who went heli-exploring with us in Western Canada’s magnificent mountains,” recalls Tauck. “I am thrilled that we are bringing back this opportunity for our guests in 2015 on ‘Bugaboo Adventure,’ for it truly is an experience of a lifetime that is unequalled anywhere.” 

Where Tauck’s “Bugaboos Adventure” celebrates the birth of heli-hiking, the first-ever Tauck journey in 1925 was no less creative despite its more humble trappings. That initial Tauck “tour” (a six-day, 1,100 mile, all-inclusive trip that cost $69) was in fact a modified sales trip through New England and south-eastern Canada led by Arthur Tauck Sr., a self-educated and self-employed inventor and travelling salesman.

The decades since have seen a steady stream of Tauck innovations reflecting Arthur Tauck Sr’s pioneering spirit. In the 1950s and 1960s respectively (and after being awarded the first-ever Tour Brokers license by the federal Interstate Commerce Commission), the company was the first to combine private air charters with escorted tours, and it opened the castle-hotels of the Canadian Rockies to group travel at a time when the hotels were owned by the Canadian Pacific Railway and reserved essentially for their clients only.

More recently, Tauck has expanded to operate in more than 70 countries and on all seven continents, launching Tauck Bridges trips for families, small-group Culturious journeys for active boomer-age travellers, and a portfolio of European river cruises that have been voted the “world’s best” by the readers of Travel + Leisure magazine in each of the past two years. The company has also formed innovative alliances to provide its guests with deeper and more enriching immersion into various destinations, working with the award-winning filmmaker Ken Burns on a number of domestic itineraries and once-in-a-lifetime events, and partnering with the nature documentarians at BBC Earth on a collection of Tauck Earth Journeys safaris and other itineraries providing unique access to the wonders of the natural world.

Tauck will operate 38 all-inclusive land journeys in North America in the coming year, from an expedition in Manitoba, Canada, coinciding with the annual polar bear migration there, to a five-day exploration of the roots and legacy of jazz music with Ken Burns in New Orleans. Also included are five Tauck Bridges itineraries, a new Earth Journeys exploration of Alaska in partnership with BBC Earth, and a special five-day event exploring the culture and history of New York City.

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