'Next level' dos? Inuvialuit hairdresser chops hair on a mountain

For the past year, hairdresser William Chicksi has been making regular stops in the community of Norman Wells, N.W.T., serving the town's residents after their lack of a hairdresser garnered international attention.

But last week, Chicksi decided he was going to take it up a notch — offering two of his regular clients the chance to get  their hair cut atop a summit near the Mackenzie Mountains, an estimated altitude of nearly 3,000 metres.

"You know how things are going positively, and all of a sudden, you just take it to the next level?" asked Chicksi, an Inuvialuit hairdresser based in Edmonton.

"It was just pure glitz," said Norman Wells' Lise Dolen, the first client to get Chicksi's elevated trim. "Best haircut ever."

The skies were clear, but it was cold and windy, said Chicksi.

"I just wanted to stay up there," he said.

Opportunity through Facebook

When Chicksi saw an ad on Facebook for a helicopter ride near Norman Wells, he couldn't resist the opportunity.

"It's always been a dream of mine to be in a helicopter and go through the mountains," said Chicksi.

Once the trip was confirmed, Chicksi decided to bring his tools. 

"I always wanted to cut hair on a mountain top," he said. "I wanted to take my skill-set to the highest level." 

Chicksi, an Inuvik born hairstylist, had come to the rescue of Norman Wells after a 2016 CBC story shed light on the community's desperate need for a hairstylist. Since then, he's become something of a folk hero in the Sahtu hub of about 800 residents.

"Everyone just says 'Will, when are you back?' and I'm like, 'just hold tight!'" He said.

 "Will is our hero," said Dolen. "We love Will and it's awesome that he's doing this."

Chicksi hopes that this most recent feat will highlight how amazing his home in the North is.

"I've done a lot of cool things… but I'd have to say this one tops it all."