Stellar Heli buys Kaslo Hotel, Busaba gets new owners – Nelson Star

The Buzz starts this week in Kaslo.

The people who saved the Kaslo Hotel in serious disrepair in the early 2000s, John and Susan Eckland sold the 126-year-old monument.

Jason Remple and Kerry Luckyowner/operator of Stellar heliskiingtook over at the start of the year.

It’s a great story of the not-so-small lakeside village, which is booming with new residents and heaps of real estate acquisitions.

In the 90s, Remple began his admirable career in the adventure tourism industry with his elbows deep in the dish pit at Selkirk Snowcat Skiing. Meadow Creekers and snowcat icons Al and Brenda Drury took the young Kaslovian under their wing and within a few years Remple was the lead guide and operations manager.

But in 2005, Remple and Lucky, also Kaslo locals, struck out on their own and opened a proper heliski shop in the Purcell and Selkirk peaks above the family home.

“We’ve come a long way since we were literally working on my hatchback the first few years,” Remple laughs. With three children in tow, Lucky wrote marketing materials, cooked all the lunches for guests and staff, took reservations and kept an ear out for patrol and pilot radios, while Remple turned around and learned details of Stellar’s 425 square kilometer mandate (the smallest of any BC helicopter operation.)

The duo met two former racing ace moguls from Sweden who stepped in as investors at a critical chapter in Stellar’s history – Stephan Engstrom, who launched the Peak Performance line of outerwear, and his buddy Bjorn Algkvist.

After doing business with the Ecklands and the hotel for years, Remple says buying the Kaslo Hotel just made sense.

“We had a great working relationship with them. One of our slogans is ‘where comfort meets adventure’, and I think that’s where Kaslo is heading,” says Remple, noting the growing number of motorcyclists, mountain bikers, fishermen, paddlers and skiers who come to the north end of the lake for vacation.

Remple has tapped former Kaslo Golf Course manager James Danby as the hotel’s general manager and longtime Stellar and Kaslo Hotel employee Leslie French joins as assistant general manager. . Aaron Armstrong, alumnus of the Hume Hotel and former executive chef of the Penticton Lakeside Resort and Conference Center, is the hotel’s new executive chef.


Here’s a conscious consideration for business owners and managers looking to invest in the well-being of their staff. And theirs too. Kaila Kaufman and his team at Bamboo Yoga — which celebrates its 10th anniversary in September — offers you and your employees corporate wellness passes. Good idea.


Nelson Kootenay Lake Tourism must fill nine of the 12 director seats on the board. The NKL AGM will take place on Wednesday, June 22 at the Balfour Golf Course. Check out NKL’s new Kootenay Lake Road Trip app and its new Mural Tour app too, featuring voices from Kootenay Cooperative Radio.

Speaking of KCR, the station held the biggest event in its 23-year history on Saturday when more than 500 people turned out for the station’s Membership Drive block party at Lions Park, with the help of du Nelson Lions Club, Louis Fortier Design, Kootenay Co-op Grocery, Popov Leather, The Blindman, Inland Allcare, Thor’s Pizza, Oso Negro, Simply Siam, Holy Crêpes and Gina’s Gelato.


With fuel prices and inflation heading skyward, the Nelson & District Chamber of Commerce can save your business money.

If you’re a member of a chamber of commerce—it’s only $15 a month—you have access to Canada’s best small business benefits package, which cuts spending on essentials like health and dental, fuel, insurance, training, e-commerce upgrades, expansion planning, and advice on a range of professional services (think: online marketing and ad buying, hiring, payment processing, ROI analysis, payroll and HR management, personal and operational data security, wireless and cloud services, antibacterial/microbial cleaning and environmental sustainability programs. A ton of stuff!)

Worth Considering: With rising wages and high labor demand, Chamber benefits are a huge plus when it comes to hiring and staffing. retain valuable colleagues and staff. Additionally, the package is administered locally by Glen Sutherland and his partner Lucas Hart at Sutherland and Associates Financial Services. Click on


After losing the business to a major commercial fire on Victoria Street a few summers ago, Nelson’s spectacular dining scene has regained Busaba Thai Coffee, now cooks on the corner of Baker and Kootenay. The business was rescued by new owners – Thai sisters Nid and Bell Padermchok and their respective husbands, Boom and Paul. Boom and Paul having worked for Thai restaurants in the Kits and Commercial Drive areas of Vancouver for many years, they were all ready to move.

“So we decided to open an authentic Thai street restaurant, with the food we grew up on,” says Nid. “Then we heard from our friend that the former owner of Busaba wanted to sell the business. We thought it was a good opportunity so we came to Nelson to see the space and fell in love with the city.

The restaurant fitted the family concept perfectly. The terrace should be open this weekend.


Some local big names in storytelling and chronicling historical documents have helped Kootenay Mountain Culture enter into a terrific partnership with the Columbia Basin Trust. The magazine has launched a new podcast, titled Headwaters: Stories From The Source.

The first three episodes examine the region’s Doukhobor culture, the making of innovators across the basin, and unique ways to save endangered species.

Other engaging podcasts of local note: Imagine Kootenay’s You Can Do That Here, featuring the economic development ace Andrew Zwicker, which documented 125 notable business innovators from across the region. Additionally, Al Woodman’s Sound Of The Kootenays, featuring local musicians, and Oregon-based The Avalanche Hour featuring local snow safety expert Dom Baker, who recently featured the work of an outdoor education veteran. Graeme Marshall and the ATLAS program at LV Rogers.


Nick Smith and its downtown alternative-economy fixture, Still Eagle, are still thriving after 30 years.

Before words like organic, fair trade, recycled and eco-everything were adopted by mainstream advertisers for socially conscious and/or shrewd marketing discourse, Smirnow walked like a trailblazer, philanthropist and entrepreneur.

He opened Still Eagle in 1991 as a small alternative environmental showcase. It was one of the first hemp stores in Canada, selling hemp twine to high quality eco-friendly clothing made from alternative fibers, fair trade baskets, ethical yoga clothing, natural body products, hemp hats, organic socks, fair trade jewelry and informative books. They now support ethical and fair trade suppliers from Canada and around the world, including Efforts Hemp Wear, The Hempest body products, Marseilles Remedy Thieves Oil and Baba Baskets.