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"We weren't in any danger but I pointed and said, 'I thought you told me yesterday there weren't any avalanches in this country?' And the guide said, 'Well, after a huge snowfall, there's going to be avalanches.'"
The guides had been young men, said Callender, when Beirut was being torn apart by civil war.
"They're tough people and grew up when there were snipers in the streets and bombs going off, so they didn't really give a damn about avalanches," he added. "Later, they said that if there was an avalanche, it was God's will and if you happened to be in the way, it was 'meant to be.'
"It was something uncontrollable, like if you were walking down the street and a car bomb went off and you were wiped out. There was no point worrying about it — if it happens, it happens, if it doesn't, it doesn't."
Callender believes his "closest call" had come on that same, 10-day trip to Lebanon in 2005.
The day after the mountain planner left Beirut, after spending 10 days there, Rafic Hariri, the country's former prime minister, was assassinated by a massive bomb.
The blast severely damaged the hotel that Callender had been staying at.
"The explosion site was chosen because of a dead-end, u-turn route outside the hotel, that all traffic had to take, due to construction," he said. "I had been stuck in traffic gridlock at that exact location numerous times. So, while it was not a scary situation in the field, or related to mountain design, it was a moment to take pause."
Ecosign's offices sit on the outskirts of Whistler Village, where the company has been based since Paul Mathews founded it in 1975.
Take a walk along the Alpine Meadows cul-de-sac and you'd hardly give a second glance to the walk-up apartment building that the company calls home.
Walk down a dark hallway and into the reception area, however, and it's soon apparent that Ecosign is an international operation.
There are four clocks on the wall, showing the current time in Whistler, Montreal, Zurich and Tokyo.
Ecosign has designed or developed more than 350 projects — including working on four Olympic Games and the Peak 2 Peak Gondola — in close to three dozen countries around the globe.
In the company boardroom, the shelves are lined with binders showing projects in countries like Russia, Japan, China, Norway, Argentina, Australia, Canada and the U.S.
It was a hot, sunny day in early Fall and the 65-year-old Mathews greeted me in a short-sleeved shirt, shorts and flip-flops.
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