Hosts & Staff

Your Hosts

Dave Birnie and Cindy Galligan invite you to join them at Mistaya Lodge, their home away from home in the Canadian Rockies.

Born and raised in the valley, Dave and Cindy have a lifetime of experience in the outdoors. Both have skied and hiked extensively throughout the area, and when the opportunity to purchase Mistaya Lodge arose in 2003, they couldn’t resist! Now living their dream, Dave and Cindy strive to uphold and improve on the successful ways of their friends Ron Blaue and Jane Girvan, from whom they purchased Mistaya Lodge.

Dave has been with Mistaya Lodge from its beginning in 1988, pounding nails, building trails, and seeking out the fantastic ski lines we enjoy today. An ACMG certified ski guide, he has extensive experience working at local fly-in backcountry lodges, and heli-skiing operations. Dave also worked for Alpine Guides in New Zealand for a number of winter seasons. Now settled in his home territory near Golden BC, he is proud to be able to guide ski touring and backcountry hiking excursions in this amazing pocket of glaciated terrain, and is happy to pass his knowledge on to our staff, guests and friends.

Cindy grew up skiing and hiking in Golden BC, and when she met Dave he opened the world of backcountry skiing to her. With her first trip to Mistaya Lodge, she was hooked! It was not a hard decision to quit her job as a Respiratory Therapist in Calgary and move back to Golden. When she is not up at the lodge Cindy handles the office duties in Golden, and helps guests complete the helicopter transfers safely at the start and end of everyone’s vacation.

Dave.Cindy.Sara.LeahDave and Cindy have been excited to introduce their daughters Sara and Leah to the world of backcountry hiking and ski touring right from the start. These enthusiastic little girls are enjoying the finer aspects of flower appreciation, snow tasting, and even conquering the slopes on their little skis. You never know, the family may include another ACMG certified ski guide or chef one day…

Come visit us at Mistaya Lodge, a family-owned luxury fly-in backcountry lodge in the Canadian Rockies. Whether you are skiing, hiking, or just relaxing, your sense of adventure will thank you.

Mistaya Lodge Staff (Just to name a few)

valmcleodVal McLeod

Cook Val McLeod has years’ of experience cooking in the backcountry from big lodges to cook tents. Always looking for new ways to put a twist on old favorites.  She likes using fresh local ingredients from up and down our valley, Golden to Invermere. Val loves to travel the world when not creating mouth watering dishes at Mistaya.

Grant.skiing.mistayaGrant Coughlin

Cook Grant Coughlin completed the Culinary Program at George Brown College in conjunction with a Four Seasons Hotel apprenticeship. After a decade of hotel and restaurant work, Grant moved on to cooking for heli-ski and heli-hiking operations for another ten years. The allure of working at a ski touring lodge brought Grant to Mistaya Lodge, where he has provided delicious, nourishing meals for the past five years. Grant spends his time off with his wife in Kimberley BC.

Sandra.hiking.mistayaSandra Birnie

A Level 3 ski instructor and A+ certified ACMG hiking guide, Sandra Birnie is back again this year! She has great knowledge of Mistaya’s hiking terrain as well as Golden and surrounding area; Sandra knows her flowers and always has a smile! This winter she will also be spending some weeks with us. If you would like help with your powder skiing, don’t wait—book her now. Call Cindy in the office for more details 1-866-647-8292


More than expected especially the staff

Shirley & Tom, Calgary, AB