whistler blackcomb heli skiing, heliskiing whistler

Whistler Heli Skiing Operator Interview. 15 Questions with Heli Skiing Whistler Blackcomb – HELISKI.com

Whistler Heliskiing Interview with HELISKI.com

Whistler Heliskiing is one of two operators offering Whistler Blackcomb heli skiing.  We recently visited with Whistler Heliskiing, the original Whistler helicopter skiing operator and heliskiing Whistler pioneer.  Enjoy!

1. Whistler Heliskiing has been completing bucket lists since 1983. You must lead the world in bucket list fulfillment. How often does a guest say “Best Day Ever?”

Every time we go Heliskiing Whistler guests are ecstatic and pumped from the day they had. Whether it be their first time or their 20th time we have the terrain and the snow to keep guests having “the best day ever!”

2. Whistler Heliskiing offers 3, 4 and 5 run packages. What do most clients choose?

We actually offer 3, 4 and 6 run packages. We recommend picking a package that suits your ability, pace of skiing and or your goals for the day. Most first timers start with a 3 or 4 run package depending on their ski experience especially in powder.

whistler blackcomb heli skiing, heliskiing whistler

3. Can guests buy extra runs? How much?

Yes we typically offer extra runs depending on the day (conditions, weather, timing).  $120-140 Can.

4. What is your average vertical per run?

  • 4 runs (approx. 6,000 – 10,000 vertical feet, or 1,800 – 3,500 vertical meters of skiing)
  • 6 runs (approx. 9,000 – 15,000 vertical feet. or 2,700 – 4,600 vertical meters of skiing).

whistler heliskiing, heliskiing whistler

5. Does Whistler Heliskiing recommend lodging for your guests?

Most guests are in the resort of Whistler for a couple of days skiing on Whistler Blackcomb or doing other activities as well as heli-skiing. That’s one of the best things about heliskiing Whistler is that there numerous options for places to stay in Whistler based on your budget, or other requirements. We typically recommend staying in Whistler the night before to check in and get ready for your Heli-day. We always make the final call on whether we can go heliskiing or have to cancel due to weather the morning of.

whistler blackcomb heli skiing, whistler heliskiing glacier

6. How many guests are in each lift when heliskiing Whistler?

It depends on the package you purchase. The 3 and 4 run packages are in the Bell 205 Helicopter which typically holds between 7-10 guests. The 6 run package is in the Bell 407 which holds up to a maximum of 5 guests.

7. How many lifts per helicopter?

Depending on the time of year and volume of guests we have up to 3 groups per helicopter.

whistler heliskiing, heliskiing whistler chopper

8. What happens if the weather does not cooperate?

If Whistler Heliskiing has to cancel due to poor weather we offer guests a FULL Refund and or the ability to move to the next available day or try to get them out on the next they want to go.

9. So you have a photographer / videographer?

Yes it is included in the 3 and 4 run packages. A photographer will work with each group to take some photos and a video of one run of each group.

whistler heliskiing heliboarding, heliskiing whistler

10. How many of your guests are heli-boarding?

I’d think 30-40% of our guests are heli-boarders.

11. Do you have powder snowboards for your guests?

Yes Whistler Heliskiing (WHS) has many great powder boards to rent. We highly recommend boarders use them as it makes the day so much easier and fun to really float on the fresh snow.

12. When does the Whistler Heliskiing season open?

Season dates for 2011-12 are Dec 3rd 2011- April 22nd 2011

whistler heliskiing, heliskiing whistler side by side

13. Can guests get a deal if they book multiple heliskiing Whistler days?

Yes we offer $100 off and free rentals for subsequent days within the season.

whistler heliskiing deep powder, heliskiing whistler

14. Do you offer heliskiing Whistler deals to groups?

Depending on the time of year and availability WHS does offer some incentive for groups of 10 or more people to pre-book Heli-skiing.

15. Anything else you would like to add about Whistler Heliskiing?

Just beyond the ski lifts of Whistler and Blackcomb, minutes from North America’s #1-ranked Ski Resort, awaits the ultimate high-alpine experience. Imagine carving through untracked powder, endless terrain and breath-taking scenery. With hundreds of ski runs, there is a tremendous variety of slopes to accommodate all levels of skiers and boarders from intermediate to expert. The skiing varies from wide-open glaciers to beautiful gladed tree runs. The heli-ski area is made up of several zones and is approximately 50 miles north/south by 30 miles east/west (80km by 50km). Your guide will select terrain within a zone according to snowfall, the weather, and your group’s ability.

whistler heliskiing, heliskiing whistler tracks

Thanks. See you in Whistler!

Best,

tj

Tom Jackson
CPO (Chief Powder Officer)
HELISKI.com
866-HELISKI
(866-435-4754)

Expert Advice – Knowledge is Powder

whistler heliskiing helicopter, heliskiing whistler

Escape from the Lift Lines!

Last Frontier 1/2 Price Availability – 2024

Last Frontier Heli Skiing 2024 Eligible Tours & Rates

7 DaysBell 2 Lodge
Tour CodeDatesRegular Price50% Discount Offer
2024-02Dec 22 – Dec 29$13,960$6,980 
2024-03Dec 29 – Jan 05$14,740$7,370 
2024-06Jan 19 – Jan 26$17,320$8,660 
2024-15Mar 22 – Mar 29$18,460$9,230 

 

7 DaysRipley Creek
Tour CodeDatesRegular Price50% Discount Offer
2024-04Jan 05 – Jan 12$13,890$6,945
2024-05Jan 12 – Jan 19$14,780$7,390
2024-06Jan 19 – Jan 26$15,380$7,690
2024-07Jan 26 – Feb 02$15,840$7,920

 

 

5 DaysBell 2 Lodge
Tour CodeDatesRegular Price50% Discount Offer
2024-02-5Dec 30 – Jan 04$11,310$5,655
2024-03-5Jan 04 – Jan 09$11,310$5,655
2024-05-5Jan 14 – Jan 19$12,440$6,220
2024-06-5Jan 19 – Jan 24$12,820$6,410
2024-07-5Jan 24 – Jan 29$13,240$6,620
2024-16-5**Mar 29 – Apr 03$13,220$6,610
2024-17-5Apr 03 – Apr 08$12,680$6,340
2024-18-5Apr 08 – Apr 13$12,680$6,340

** Women’s only heliski week.

5 DaysRipley Creek
Tour CodeDatesRegular Price50% Discount Offer
2024-03-5Jan 04 – Jan 09$10,060$5,030
2024-04-5Jan 09 – Jan 14$10,320$5,160
2024-05-5Jan 14 – Jan 19$11,050$5,525
2024-06-5Jan 19 – Jan 24$11,390$5,695
2024-07-5Jan 24 – Jan 29$11,760$5,880
2024-16-5Mar 29 – Apr 03$11,750$5,875
2024-17-5Apr 03 – Apr 08$11,270$5,635
2024-18-5Apr 08 – Apr 13$11,270$5,635

 

last frontier heli skiing map

Half Price Heliskiing – Yes, 50% OFF 2024 Last Frontier Heli Skiing!

You read it correctly!   First-time guests can now book 2024 heli skiing trips with Last Frontier for half price.  But you must have heliskied before.
I have skied with Last Frontier three times and loved it!  Small groups, massive terrain and two lodges to choose from.  Check out my reviews on both locations, and my interviews.   I’m happy to help you choose, too.

Half Price 2024 Heli Skiing from Last Frontier Heli Skiing

WHO QUALIFIES?
1) This must be your first booking with Last Frontier Heliskiing2) You must have heli skied elsewhere prior to October 20223) You must bring a piece of clothing or memorabilia from your previous trip 🙂Why is Last Frontier Heliskiing doing this?Breaking Inertia.  A force exists making first time heli skiers think they have found true nirvana. It gravitates heliskiers back to the same place every year. This is an ever so gentle reminder that other options exist.Last Frontier Heliskiing has been at it for almost 3 decades. This is the (probably once in a lifetime) opportunity to see the difference and judge for yourself at such a huge saving.How does this impact me, as an existing Last Frontier customer?While criteria number one might sound like it excludes you, it does not. If you have skied with us previously, rally a group of friends that have heli skied elsewhere. How you arrange to split the discount amongst the group is up to you.What if I haven’t heliskied before?Well, share this offer with someone who has heliskied before and how you split the discount is up to you.

Is this subject to availability?

Yes. It’s strictly first come first served. They have a limited and varying number of seats allocated per tour (for which the formula is toplast frontier heli skiing map secret).  Check availability here.

When does this offer expire?

On December 24, 2022, or when all seats are booked.

Check out the two Last Frontier Heli Skiing Locations:  Bell 2 Lodge      Ripley Creek

 

 

last frontier heli skiing bell 2 cabins

Give me a call at 866-HELISKI +1 866-435-4754 or email TJ@heliski.com
Call Last Frontier directly and tell them TJ sent you +1 (888) 655 5566.
Enjoy!
tj

New Lodge at Northern Escape Heliskiing

UPDATE:   Images of the New Lodge:

northern escape heliskiing lodge exterior, elite northern escape heliskiing helicopter

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For Immediate release May 8th, 2019

Northern Escape Heli Skiing
Terrace BC, Canada
Contact: John Forrest, General Manager, john@neheliskiing.com

Northern Escape Heli Skiing Announces $4.2 million investment in

New Remote Mountain Lodge

 

Northern Escape Heli Skiing, in its 16th year of operations, is please to announce the construction of its new remote lodge opening for the upcoming 2020 season. Construction began in the spring of 2018 and the completion date is scheduled for fall of 2019.

Northern Escape Heli Skiing offers a variety of exclusive packages to choose from, including the Classic, Elite and Private, with guest accommodation currently at both Yellow Cedar Lodge and Pioneer Lodge. The company has seen steady growth due in part to their immense terrain, huge alpine and incredible tree-skiing, as well as their renowned deep, reliable snowpack. Guests also very much appreciate their easy access, saving travel time and expense, as well as their industry leading snowcat backup, which will keep everyone skiing/riding in all but the most extreme weather.

With their $4.2 million investment, the new lodge will become home to the Elite Package, replacing Pioneer Lodge currently in use. The Elite package is a Semi Private package that can be booked individually or by groups. It offers the exclusivity of only two groups of 5 guests, each accompanied by a certified guide in a Bell 407 helicopter. With a maximum of 10 guests at the lodge, it is the perfect opportunity for groups or families to book the full lodge, providing a highly sought-after Private Lodge and Helicopter experience exclusively for their group.

The Northern Escape Lodge is situated on a remote 50-acre waterfront wilderness estate nestled deep in the Skeena mountains. The new lodge will offer 10 single rooms for its guests along with accommodations for an additional 12 staff. There are 3 helipads and a Helishack to service the helicopters as well as a Catshack and maintenance area for their fleet of snowcats.

northern escape heliskiing lodge east plan

With its towering windows overlooking Treston Lake, the lodge offers spectacular views into the surrounding snow-covered peaks and nearby skiing/riding terrain. The remoteness of the lodge is only enhanced by the fly in/out access with their guests departing and returning directly to/from the Terrace Airport via a 15-minute helicopter flight. While completely off-grid, the new lodge still provides all the amenities you would expect from a first-class wilderness resort including high speed internet for those who want to stay connected.

The new Lodge will also offer all weather access to the company’s Catskiing Backup area with the snowcats being able to depart directly from the lodge if the helicopters are unable to fly, thus ensuring their guests will be able to ski and ride every day of their vacation with Northern Escape. The Catskiing Backup is comprised of over 50 km’s of snow roads in an area of 29 square km’s and offers access to all weather tree skiing when its snowing too hard or the weather is too poor to fly a helicopter safely.

Northern Escape Heli Skiing has developed a reputation for deep powder, incredible terrain and friendly customer service. With the investment in their new lodge their guests will also be assured of a great lodging experience.

While the winter season is the primary focus at this time, with access for its guests by helicopter only, summer plans are under way as well. With the lodge’s location at the head of the Kalum River, guided fishing opportunities for both land based and heli assisted abound. Other activities being considered include Eco Tourism and Indigenous Tourism.

Summer access would include the option to fly in, with helicopters departing the Terrace Airport directly to the lodge in a 15 min flight along the lush Kalum valley. Road access along the Westside Kalum FSR is also proposed with plans to grade the FSR road more often making it a quick drive into Terrace and the various river boat launches.

“We’re looking for existing companies to work with in providing these summer activities. Fishing would be an ideal compliment to our winter activities. We don’t want to create more competition, we want to support the existing operators with the opportunity for high end accommodations and service for their clientele” say’s John Forrest, President. “I think it’s a great opportunity for local businesses to expand” adds John.

IDL Projects was awarded the contract as General Contractor. Construction of the lodge will be completed for Opening December 5th, 2019. For more information please contact Northern Escape Heli Skiing or check out their website at www.neheliskiing.com.

white wilderness heliskiing canada banner

New Luxury Heliski Operator – White Wilderness Heliskiing Canada

white wilderness heliskiing canada banner

White Wilderness Heliskiing Canada

Unlimited vertical.  Small groups.  Small helicopter.  Big experience.

 

White Wilderness Heliskiing asked us to invite our members to join them for the 2017 season.   Offering a first class experience, including unlimited vertical and truly all-inclusive (Wine and Massages Included!)

The mission of Swiss Nationals Marcel Schneider and Martin Jaeger, is to Swiss attention to detail, precision and efficiency with Canadian hospitality.   And we love their slogan – Just you, a flying Ferrari and three Friends.

They may be new, with a limited opening in 2016, but White Wilderness Heliskiing is familiar.   Located just 20 minutes from the Terrace airport, they share the convenience enjoyed by Northern Escape Heli-Skiing (not surprising, having purchased their tenure from John Forrest’s team).   The new Operations Manager is long-time guide from Crescent Spur Heli-Skiing Adam DeVita, with whom we have skied many times.  We know him to be professional, friendly, fun-loving and dedicated to a great skier experience.

If you want to explore some virgin territory and name some first runs, drop us an email with the dates that work and how many are in your group.  But don’t wait, they only options are March or mid January.   A week is $13,889 Can., $10,744 US, 10,529 CHF, 9,637 EUR.

3-Day $6,236 Can., 4-Day $8,314 and 7 -Day $13,889 taxes included.  4,000m daily vertical metre guarantee

Here are the weeks still available and the prices in Canadian $:

  • January 6 – 13 (12 spots)
  • January 16 – 20 (12 spots)
  • March 3 – 10 (4 spots)
  • March 10 – 17 (12 spots)
  • March 17 -24 (12 spots)
  • March 24 – 31 (12 spots)

White Wilderness Heliskiing has two main custom-built log buildings for guest amenities including spa, massage rooms, exercise room, boot room, retail shop, dining area and bar.   A sauna and outdoor Jacuzzi are just steps away from the cozy guest log chalets.  Each chalet is tastefully appointed, with two  beds, writing desk, private bathroom and a small wood-burning stove.  Check out their home at the Skeena Salmon Lodge.

White Wilderness Heliskiing is offering 3, 4 and 7 day packages, including:

  • Unlimited vertical
  • Accommodation, food and guiding service
  • Avalanche safety equipment & personal radio
  • Medical & evacuation insurance
  • Elan powder skis / snowboard
  • Wine with dinner service
  • Massage therapy
  • Wifi

White Wilderness also offers Private, Custom trips and combinations.

Check out the Elan / White Wilderness Heliskiing promotional video, including Glen Plake.

How’s the terrain?  1,500 square kilometers of  with glaciers, bowls, gladed terrain and good poor weather skiing as well.    The closest run (Super Like – 750m vertical descent) is just under 3 minutes from the lodge, the closest poor weather skiing area (Cabin Run – 650m vertical) is 5 minutes; and it’s a 9 minute flight to the highest glaciated alpine terrain with descents of up to 1,000m.

If you want to be one of the first to experience heliskiing luxury at White Wilderness , email now with the dates that work and how many are in your group.   Or Call 866-HELISKI  (866-435-4754)

I like this slow motion video of their ‘Ferrari’, the A-Star B2 nailing the landing.

Heliskiing from Downtown Vancouver!

Jan 05, 2012 08:24 am | Tom Jackson

Phantom Heli-skiing and Heli-boarding is one of the three operators heliskiing Whistler-Blackcomb.

Phantom Heli-Skiing just announced that you can Heli Ski from down town Vancouver B.C.!   They did their first recon trip last week, and the first run is 12 minutes from the harbour heli port.

If you live in Vancouver and want to go HeliSkiing but don’t want to fight the traffic to Whistler, there is now an option.

Or, you can heliski your way to Whistler.  Your bags will go by ground and meet you at your hotel!

powder mtn tree flight 12 Minutes to First Tracks Heliskiing from Downtown Vancouver! Or, Heliski your way to Whistler!

Fly In….from Vancouver!

Call if you want to learn more or book your trip!  866-HELISKI

tj

Tom Jackson

CPO (Chief Powder Officer)

HELISKI.com

HeliskiingReview.com

WhistlerHeliski.com

HELIBOARD.com

866-HELISKI

(866-435-4754)

HELISKI.com Interview with Skeena Heliskiing

HELISKI.com Heli-Skiing Operator Interview with Skeena Heliskiing
 | Tom Jackson


Skeena Heliskiing was one of the first visits for HELISKI.com many years ago.

So it is only fitting that owner/guide Giacum “Jake” Frei is the first Heliskiing Operator Interview with HELISKI.com Heliskiing Canada Series.   Thanks!

Skeena Heli-Skiing BC Canada, Helicopter Skiing BC Canada Skeena mountain range

Jake – Great Host, Amazing Skier

helicopeter skiing Canada, Skeena Heli-skiing Canada

1.  The Skeena Mountains may be new to some heliskiers and heliboarders.  Tell us about the Skeena Mountains of BC Canada.

The Skeena Mountains have been on the heliskiing scene for about 15 years. It is a newer area for sure. What makes the Skeena’s special is the combination you get between Coastal precipitation, interior dryness and a northern cooler climate. Depending on where you fly in the Skeena’s you can have a bit more of one of these options. This allows for an operation with a larger area to switch skiing zones if the conditions vary.  Some parts of the Skeena’s have a lot of precipitation, you have a lot of natural glades, which makes for very enjoyable skiing.

2.  What made you decide to start your own heliskiing operation?

I guess what really started the idea was that I grew up just a few hours drive south of the current lodge and I always had the goal of bringing guests here to see and experience this part of B.C. The area was not new to me, it was my back yard. I have explored the Skeena Mountains since I was old enough to. In 2003 I was per chance in the government office and out of curiosity had a talk to the officials in charge of tenure leases. From that talk it never stopped. Through government I met Norman Winter, who was also looking for an area and we teamed up. Later Norm went on to develop another area near Revelstoke, BC.

skeena heli-skiing bc canada, heli-skiing bc skeena mountains

3.  You may be the best skier with whom I have heliskiied.  How did you get to be so damn good?

Thanks Tom, nice of you to say that. Hmm, I guess I can say, I devoted my entire teens and early 20 to skiing. I opted to complete my high school through correspondence and moved to Switzerland at age 15. I skied every chance I got. I also completed any course I could take and was lucky enough to ski with some amazing skiers and mountain guides from different fields. I landed my first sponsors [freeskiing] at 16, and sure did not want to let them down. I was pretty ambitious and devoted to improving my ski level to the highest I could take it. I would also say being in front of the camera really helped me improve, you see yourself all the time, see your position, your posture. You also want to get it right on the first try, hit the right spot.

4.  What is different about Skeena Heliskiing in BC Canada?

A few things that make Skeena Helisking different are:

canadian heli-skiing, heliskiing heli-boarding bc Canada Skeena Lodge

The Lodge and the Skiing are Exceptional

A.  The lodge!

B. Large area and large selection of terrain

C. Close proximity to an airport, easy access

D. Low number of down days

Heliskiing Canada, Heli Ski Canada Skeena Lodge interior

Skeena Lodge Interior, Does Not Suck

5.  You are known for European guests who like to ski fast.  Is that a fair reputation?

I would say so, yes. Even adding a bit of a straight line in there somewhere ;)   Skeena Heliskiing is also known for providing the clients with a wide variety of runs.  Not so much for lapping the same run; but trying to find runs that challenge the keen skiers, giving them a good selection, and trying to motivate them to improve as well. I love to see that someone is really stoked that he or she skied something very well. Love helping them out.

6.  What is your average vertical in a week?

Our average vertical varies per year from 118,000 feet to 151,000 feet over the last 6 years. We do ski more from late Feb onwards, due to the longer days. In January the days are shorter and we ski more technical runs in the trees.  Sometimes the big powder days are slower, as every wipe out cost lots of energy and time if the snow is really deep.  [That’s why Jake fills his choppers with good skiers…]

7.  Skeena may have the best small heliski lodge in the business.  How did you pull that off?

I also have to thank “luck” for that. During the exploration days prior to heliskiing we noticed that there was a lot of new traffic on the main road, we went to see what was going on and we drove to the lodge site just as the building was being started. Original plans were for a primarily summer-use fishing lodge. Original plans for Skeena Heliskiing were to start 2 years later, after completion of a small lodge structure in the skiing area.  Needless to say we were pretty happy when the owner said, he would rent out the lodge to us for the winters.

8.  How big is a group / lift?

A group consists of 5 skiers and 1 guide. 

9.  How many groups / lifts per helicopter

Our standard is 2 groups of 5 per heli [Awesome!].  On occasion when a party wishes it, we also run 3 groups of 5. Starting this season, if we use this program, we use our second helicopter to shuttle the groups out to reduce shuttle time.

10.  How many guests can you accommodate at any one time?

Max 15.

heli-skiing bc canada, bc heli-skiing heli-boarding Skeena Heliskiing Room

Shame to have this room all by yourself…….or not

11.  How many down days do you average per season?

The average is 7 down days per season over the last 7 years. [Surprisingly good]

12.  How far is the ride from the Smithers airport?

Depending on the road conditions, between 1.5hrs to 2 hrs.

13.  What do you do to accommodate helisnowboarders?

We actually have almost 20% snowboarders. We work with the heli-skiing booking agents, like HELISKI.com, and clients to try to organize snowboard groups, to get them together. We have a small fleet of K2 snowboards to use for snowboarders.  We have enough boards and bindings that work well for the current conditions. So the heli-boarders always have the most current, well maintained gear and no luggage hassle.  [I didn’t even beg for that plug]

14.  Are there any disadvantages to being a small operation?

      A.  You have to be more careful that the groups fit together, that every one in the group has the same level

      B.  As a business, having a small operation and a short season, it is really important that the weeks are full, or else it really hurts us.

15.  Have you ever considered extending your season?

We have, but for us the best time of the winter is from January to the start of April. Running later is a higher risk of down days since the tree skiing can be finished if it gets warm.  During November and December we are fully focused on sales in Europe for the next years winter season.

Bonus Question:   You have such a large area and you are booked solid.  Do you have any plans for expansion?

Yes, we do. We will have Cat Skiing in our area for this coming winter. We have contracted out a section of our southern tenure to Skeena Cat Skiing  www.skeenacatskiing.ca who are hard at working getting things going for this winter.  We are also looking at various different locations to start another small operation.  We have something very interesting planned for that, but cannot tell you any more right now.  I will keep you updated, but I can tell you it is a very cool concept.

Thanks, Jake.  I hope to make some turns with you again sometime soon.

tj

Tom Jackson
CPO (Chief Powder Officer)
HELISKI.com

866-HELISKI
(866-435-4754)

Best Heli-Skiing: Best Short Heliskiing Trips Coast Range

Best Heli-Skiing Series:

The Best Short Heli-Skiing Trips – Coast Range

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.

Here we discuss the best short heli-skiing trips to destination lodges.  Here we discuss the best short heli-skiing trips to destination lodges in the Coast Range.  In future posts, we will offer advice for the best heli-skiing in and around Revelstoke, Southeastern BC, and the best heli-skiing combined with resort skiing and boarding.

Travel Time

Travel time is often paramount.   Many clients need to minimize their time away from the office and the family.  So our list includes options with the most convenient travel, as well as the most reliable.  Not all airports are created equally when it comes to flight cancellations.

Convenience

If convenience is very important, we recommend operators that pick up clients at the airport.    Renting a car and driving on unfamiliar roads introduces hassle and risk that some clients would rather avoid.  And some clients hate buses.

Heli Skiing Cost

Cost is also a factor for some.   Unfortunately, the price-quantity curve dictates that the best deals are for the longer trips.  But we have some alternatives for clients looking to stretch their dollars.  There are also trade-offs between unlimited vertical options and fixed-price plus extra vertical.

Down Day Risk

A down day on a 7-day trip is not the end of the world.   Re-group, rest, recuperate and enjoy some other activity.  But a down day on a 3 day trip is a disaster.   So our recommendations include operators with very few down days, as well as those with catskiing and resort backup.

 

The Best Short Heli-Skiing Trips – Coast Range

northern escape heli-skiing lodge and helicopter

Northern Escape Heli-Skiing – One of the Best for Easy Access

Northern Escape Heli-Skiing is an excellent choice for short trips.  NEH is located just 20 minutes from the Terrace BC airport.   Guests can leave San Francisco at noon and easily make dinner at the lodge!   Another great feature at NEH is cat backup.    NEH guests ski even when the chopper cannot fly.

Northern Escape also offers a unique Vertical Option.  For a few hundred dollars per day, committed in advance, clients can add unlimited vertical to any package.  One catch – guests must decide in advance to add the unlimited vertical option.

bella coola best heli-skiing logistics Bella Coola Heli-Skiing Guests Make Turns on Arrival and Departure Days

 

 

Bella Coola Heli-Skiing has a unique travel set-up that works great for short heliski trips. Guests can heli-ski on BOTH Arrival and Departure Days!  This is how it works: after staying the night in Vancouver, guests take a 70 minute, mid-morning flight to Bella Coola. On arrival, lodge staff provide a picnic lunch, followed by a safety briefing from the guiding team. Once this is completed, guests heliski their way from the airport to the lodge.  Departure Day is just as cool.  Guests heliski their way to the airport, arriving about lunch time. Since the flight arrives back in Vancouver around 2pm, guests are able to fly home that evening!

And airfare is included in their prices.  On a 3-night trip, guests ski two full days and two half days.  4-night trips include three full days and two half days of heli-skiing.  Cool, eh?

Bella Coola Heli-Skiing also has two packages for short trips.  Tweedsmuir Lodge is their classic remote lodge experience.  Big Mountain is hotel lodging, no frills and attractive pricing.  By the way, BCHS uses the same approach on their longer heli-skiing trips, too.

Let me know and I will put together the best options for your short (or long) heliskiing trip.

Best,

tj

Interview with Bella Coola Heliskiing: Beat British Columbia Heliskiing Guide/Owner

 


Interview by Tom Jackson, HELISKI.com

Bella Coola Helisports offers heliskiing and heliboarding out of Bella Coola, BC ( 1 hour flight North of Vancouver) from three different lodges. We talked to owner Beat Steiner recently about the flagship operation at Tweedsmuir Lodge.

 

1. Beat, Bella Coola heli-skiing and heli-boarding is known for your terrain. Tell us about the Tweedsmuir Lodge area.

The Bella Coola area’s particular attraction is the unrivaled alpine terrain we can access. The runs are long, varied and always interesting. Combine this with a solid snowpack and it’s skier’s dream come true.

In my previous life as a ski and snowboard cinematographer, I was fortunate to ski all over the world, including with heli operations on 5 continents and at many of my competitor’s lodges here in BC. It has to be said that there is nothing else like British Columbia for the skiing and snowboarding enthusiast. The particular configuration of the mountain ranges, the weather patterns, the topography, the trees and the vast spaces, makes it the best and most reliable place to ski powder in the world.

For me, Bella Coola has all of what makes BC great in the best possible combinations.

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Beat “Enjoying the Fringe Benefits”

 

2. You have integrated travel into your trips better than any other operator. Explain how a typical trip works, please.

For sure this seems to be a more and more important consideration in our busy world. The way it works for us is as follows: our clients catch a one hour 10 minute flight to Bella Coola [in the morning]. On their arrival at 11:30, we meet them as they disembark and drive them 300 yards to the heli port. We serve lunch, they get changed into ski clothing, do some safety exercises and then go skiing. It’s as fast and simple as that. They then ski and fly their way to the lodge, where at the end of the day, the heli drops them on the lawn outside their private chalet. It’s a very cool set up. We have clients from California, Seattle and Toronto that wake up in their own
The return journey is equally efficient. We ski and fly from the lodge and land the clients at the airport on the tarmac outside the terminal. It’s a rock star finish to the week.

 

3. The snow at Whistler Blackcomb has given the Coast Range a bad rap. How is your snow at Bella Coola Heli Sports?

I love the snow in Whistler. I’ve lived here for 30 years and I would argue it’s one of the most reliable places in the world to find good powder skiing and snowboarding. Yes, sometimes it can be wet, but all destinations have their issues. To me the most important thing is that it’s generally stable and we can ski super cool lines. There is a reason why so many film crews shoot their best stuff in the Coast Range from Whistler stretching north to Alaska.

As with regards to the snow in Bella Coola, I would say it’s ideal. It’s certainly lighter than here in Whistler. After all, we are further North and operate at a higher elevation. The biggest thing however, is that we operate primarily on the east side of the range, the dry side, whereas Whistler is on the Western slope. It’s the same pattern as in California where the east side of the Sierra’s drops down into the desert (there are even places in BC with rattle snakes). In any case, we have what I think is a perfect snowpack. It’s reliable, stable, and light, but with enough resistance and density that you float on top rather than ski the rocks and ice underneath. Check out the picture.

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Shred Alert!

4. With a huge tenure stretching West to East, is it true you can find good snow just about any day?

Yes, 2.65 million acres! Having a big tenure does guarantee that we can pretty well find good snow every day. However, the magic of Bella Coola is not that the tenure is so big, but more the micro climatic conditions of the zone we are in. The storms roll in off the Pacific and as they move east dumping their load of snow, it gets progressively drier. Being in the transition zone means that if it’s storming we stay more in the eastern parts of our area, but if it clear and it hasn’t snowed in a while, we can head west into the big snow zone. [Nice!]

 

5. Some think a huge tenure is irrelevant, because operators stay close to the lodge to save on fuel. Does size matter?

It’s true that we have more terrain then we can ski in a lifetime. In total it’s 10,700 square kilometers (4,300 sq/miles). This is equal in size to the entire Swiss Alps, except there are no ski lifts, no roads, and no people. And yes, costs and logistics demand that for the most part the heli has to stay reasonably close to refueling options. However, one of the things I have always enjoyed most about skiing is exploring. Going to new places, seeing what’s over in the next valley, skiing stuff nobody has ever skied before. Lots of the guides working for our company are old ski buddies from the ski bum days, who have this same philosophy. Anyway, I like the idea that we as a company will still be exploring our area well into the future. It makes it interesting and exciting.

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6. Tell us about the Tweedsmuir lodge, please, Beat.

The Bella Coola Valley is a magical little slice of what is a magical part of the world. The reaction we get from lots of people is that they feel like they have somehow landed in Shangri-La. The vertical relief out of the valley is huge. Combine this with big rock walls and tumbling glaciers, and it creates what are some of the most stunning views in the province.
The Tweedsmuir Park Lodge sits at the base of Mt. Stupendous (the name says it all) and is on the banks of the Atanarko River. We are inside a provincial park so it’s a very pristine and wild environment.

Accommodation at the lodge is in private double occupancy chalets with the main lodge for dining and socializing. It’s a great set up offering lots of privacy, yet intimate enough that by the end of the week everybody skiing that week has gotten to know each other.

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Alps? No, Mt Waddington – highest peak in BC
7. What is the average vertical in a day of heliskiing / heliboarding at Bella Coola Tweedsmuir Lodge ?

The average vert varies a fair bit depending on whether we are skiing on a sunny day or a bad weather day. If it’s sunny and we are skiing the huge alpine lines the vert racks up pretty fast and its common to ski 30,000plus feet. On bad weather days we ski in the trees, and the average vert maybe closer to 15,000 for the day.

 

8. You ski in groups of 4 or 5 in A-Star ships, right?

Yes that is correct. For the most part we do 4 people per load for the sake of comfort and increased operational flexibility (we can carry more gas and fly further into our tenure). However, with the A-star B2 it is possible to add a 5th client and if we have a group of 5 that want to ski together then we try to accommodate that.

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Love to Keep a Taxi Waiting…
9. How many groups share a helicopter?

The Tweedsmuir Park Lodge can host 16-18 people per week. On a normal week this breaks down to be four heli loads, which we would service with two machines. So each machine is flying just two loads. [Wow]

As you know the standard for most heli ops is three loads. On occasion we also do three loads in one machine, but that would be the maximum.

 

10. How does your skiing change from January to April?

In January we ski more trees and can sometimes ski from a 7,000 foot summit right down to 1,500 feet above sea level. My personal favorite time however is probably late March and April. The days are longer, the snowpack is settled, and the weather generally more stable. This is when we do most of our exploring and ski some great circuits in the really big alpine. Even late April is not too late to get superb powder snow. Our area is very heavily glaciated and all that ice acts like a giant freezer keeping the snow cold. We have even had clients come up and ski in June, July and even as late as September. The idea was to go ski corn snow, but more often than not they also get to ski some powder.

helicopeter skiing canada, bella coola heliski canada

Bella Coola Heli-Skiing April 12th!

11. How often do people mispronounce your name, Beat?

I have to say I don’t even notice anymore. I grew up with it and it’s always been difficult for English speakers. If people ask, I tell them my dad was a drummer. The fact is that it’s actually a fairly common name in Switzerland (my dad is Swiss). It’s the male version of Beatrice and is pronounced similarly. I like it. It’s the same root as the beatitudes and beatific and comes from the latin adjective beatus which means happy, fortunate or blissful. My life has been all that so no complaints from me. [What a great answer, BE-ot]

 

12. What % of your guests are European?

At the moment I would say about 70% of our clients are from Europe. A few years ago the split was closer to 50/50 between North Americans and Euros. That changed with Lehman Brothers going under. [Ouch]

Also, back in those days our currency was the Canadian peso whereas the currencies are more or less at par now. I’d like to get our numbers back to a 50/50 split. I am counting on this interview to help! [Occupy Bella Coola!!]

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13. What is your most popular package?

The most popular program is the standard one week vertical package. This is 100,000 vertical feet of skiing over the course of a 7 night stay. With 7 nights in Bella Coola, there is an opportunity to ski 6 full days and two half days. The semi-private program is also popular and is ideal for a group of 8 people who know each other and want more input in deciding when and where to go skiing.

 

14. What % of your guests return the following year?

I would say that about 75% of our clients each year are returning guests and 25% are first timers.

 

15. We will talk about your other two lodges (Pantheon and Big Mountain) next time. Is there anything else you would like to add about your Tweedsmuir Lodge operation?

What I really want to try to emphasize to your readers is how much fun heli skiing and snowboarding is. Resort skiing simply doesn’t come close. It’s not only about the endless untracked powder either, but also the fantastic thrill of flying into the mountains in this magical machine, a helicopter, and then having the pilot put you down on some remote peak in the middle of nowhere. Being out in these kinds of environments is an awesome privilege. Being able to ski or snowboard as well is a bonus. I would strongly urge anybody that likes to ski and snowboard to book heli skiing at least once in their lifetime, either in Bella Coola or with one of my competitors. [No way, Beat. You are one of a kind!]

After all, there is a reason so many people list a day of heli skiing as the best day in their life !

Thanks, Beat, always a pleasure!

Best,
tj

Tom Jackson
CPO (Chief Powder Officer)
HELISKI.com

HEIBOARD.com
866-HELISKI
(866-435-4754)

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Skeena Heliskiing Announces Base Camp – No Frills Heli-Skiing Option

Skeena Heliskiing’s Bear Claw Lodge is one of the best heliskiing lodges we have visited.  And owner/GM Jake is one of the coolest.For 2015, Skeena Heliskiing is launching Base Camp Skeena Heliskiing  – including dome tent lodging and a great value, for those who are OK without a fancy lodge.
heliskiing tent constellation at night

Base Camp guests will ski the same great terrain. Like other Skeena Heliskiing trips, it is for 7-days only.

wide shot base camp skeena heliskiing

For 2015, Base Camp Skeena Heliskiing is running during February and March only.The price is $8900 Can., costing almost 30% less than the Bear Claw Lodge program.

base camp skeena heliskiing inside communal dome tent

Also similar to the Bear Claw Lodge program, the skiing is fast. The Bell2 takes two groups of up to five guests.Base Camp is also closer to the goods. Just one minute to the first run.

chopper at skeena heliskiing tent

The ‘tent constellation’ includes a large communal tent, a shower tent and five guest tents accommodating up to two guests each.

Skeena heliskiing guest tent inside

The structures are non-permanent, minimizing environmental impact.Jake has been testing this set up for years, and it is now ready to prime time.

jake testing heliskiing tents at skeena

Base Camp Skeena Heliskiing is only accessible by helicopter, fly-in fly-out.Base Camp is supported by the main lodge, just 12 minutes away by chopper.

Interested?  Call 866-HELISKI or email TJ.

 

TJ