Best BC Heli-Skiing: SE BC’s Best Short Heli-Skiing Trips
Best BC Heliskiing Series: SE British Columbia’s Best Short Trips
This is the third in our series on the best heliskiing trips. Heliski.com clients often ask us to put together the best short heli-skiing trips. This usually includes 3 or 4 days of heli-skiing with minimal travel time and minimal risk. For some, it is more about getting the best deal. Others want to combine heli-skiing and resort skiing.Also check out our previous articles on Revelstoke’s Best Short Heliskiing Trips and Best Short Heliskiing Trips – Coast Range
Here we discuss the best short heli-skiing trips in the mecca of heli-skiing – Southeast British Columbia.
In future posts, we will offer advice for the best heliskiing in the US and the best heliskiing combined with resort skiing and riding.
Travel Time / Convenience
Southeast British Columbia is where the majority of BC heli-skiing is found. It is remote. But paraphrasing Hans Gmoser, Founder of CMH Heliskiing, ‘Beautiful places are not always easy to reach, but it is worth the effort.’ Most heliskiers fly into Calgary, then drive or take a bus or shuttle to the lodge or to the helipad. Flying into Kelowna is also becoming more popular, with direct flights from these airports:
Edmonton, Victoria, Kamloops, Prince George, Red Deer, Abbotsford, Cranbrook and Whitehorse, LA, Phoenix, Seattle, Las Vegas, Cancun, Los Cabos and Puerto Vallarta.A couple of lodges, including one mentioned below, are accessed through Spokane, Washington in the US.
SE BC heliskiing operators offer the best deals in the early and late season. Unlimited vertical packages may be worth it, especially in the Spring when days are longer. More traditional pricing, including a specified number of vertical feet, allow guests to decide when to pay to continue skiing.
Down Day Risk
Down day risk lessens as one moves North in SE British Columbia. The North is typically colder, and the snow can be drier and lighter. And surprisingly, the South can be influenced by Coastal weather patterns. That means tons of snow, but can ground the chopper. This is one of the reasons why we like Snowwater Heliskiing’s catskiing backup.
The Best Short Heli-Skiing Trips – Southeast BC Heli-Skiing
And the winners are: Great Canadian Heli-Skiing, CMH/K2 and Snowwater Heliskiing
Great Canadian Heli-Skiing runs a great operation in Golden, BC.It is only 4 hours from Calgary.GCH offers a shuttle, but only on Saturdays.And it is on the East side ofRogers Pass-the most frequently closed highway in Canada.So a rental car in a good option.One of the best features for short trips is that Great Canadian Heli-Skiing allows guests to begin and end visits on any day.This is unique, and very cool.
All trips at GCH are small group and unlimited vertical. It is not the least expensive option, but guests can rack up the vertical. Some of their best terrain is very close to the lodge. So guests heliski / heliboard early and often. GCH is also on the leeward side of the Pass, so they enjoy lighter drier snow and fewer down days. Great Canadian boasts just two down days per season!
The GCH lodge accommodates 24 guests.Skiing is in six groups of four.So if you do not bring your own group, Great Canadian Heliskiing can always match you with other like-minded heliskiers with compatible abilities.
GCH Burnt Forest offer high-speed tree skiing.
Canadian Mountain Holidays has 10 BC heli-skiing lodges.The best kept secret may be CMH/K2, formerly known as Kootenays. It is a join venture between the two companies, with obvious symmetry.The trips are usually pretty good deals.And,in the Fall following the trip,Every guest gets a new pair of K2 skis of their choosing free!Amazing, eh? CMH/K2 is famous for tree skiing. Lodging is a hotel The K2 Rotor Lodge, no kidding. The best feature is the outdoor hot springs.So if you are looking for a deal, consider CMH/K2.CMH runs both small and large group trips at CMH/K2.Special weeks include Steep Shots and Pillow Drops.3, 4 and 5 day trips offer great flexibility.Guests need to find their own way to the lodge in Katsup. This usually means flying to Kelowna, BC or Spokane, WA and renting a car. The drive is 4 and 5 hours, respectively.
Another gem of SE BC heli-skiing is Snowwater Heli-Skiing. It is an intimate setting, hosted by the owners, husband and wife Patric and Maria.
Snowwater is also exclusive, catering to 12 guests at any one time. The food and wine are excellent.
Snowwater Heli-Skiing offers 3, 4, 5 and 7-day trips with Unlimited Vertical. Three groups of four share the A-Star. And if the weather does not cooperate, catskiing backup is on the ready. I have had the good fortune (I think) of experiencing this first-hand. Our group switched back and forth seamlessly a few times during one day. In my experience, Snowwater does it better than any operators.
Snowwater also offers a combination Resort, Cat, Heli Trip called the Kootenay Sampler. Although it is not a short trip, it is a very cool week of powder skiing at a very attractive price.
Guests usually fly to Spokane, WA, rent a car and drive 4 hours North. It is possible to fly to Castlegar, BC and take a cab to Nelson.
Cheers from Maria and Patric,, Married Owners & Guides – Snowwater Heli-Skiing.Image: Bryan Ralph
Let us know if we can assist with recommendations for the best BC heli-skiing trip