Interview by Tom Jackson, HELISKI.com
Last season I was lucky enough to be a guinea pig for CMH Adamants new small group heli-skiing program. So it seems like the right Canadian Mountain Holidays Heli-Skiing lodge to start with for the HELISKI.com 15 Question Interview, alphabetic order not withstanding.
1. Adamants CMH has an amazing lodge, for starters. I use this picture a lot! How does this lodge compare to the other 10 CMH Heli-Skiing lodges?
This lodge is very similar in style to several of our other backcountry helicopter ski lodges including the Bobbie Burns,Bugaboos, Cariboos, Monashees, Gothics and Galena. All feature comfortable bedrooms, spa facilities and a stretch room, and super-comfortable living and dining spaces for relaxing after an epic day of heli-skiing.
2. It is remote (fly-in only). It can be rough. For example, notice the location of the hot tub on the deck in the lower right corner. Consider how far it is away from the bar! How about a fridge or mini-bar out there??!
We don’t have to have a mini-fridge – we have the biggest fridge going: Mother Nature! We are happy for our guests to take drinks out to the hot tub in plastic cups and extra drinks stay really cold in the snow.
3. How did you pick the Adamants to pioneer your new small group initiative?
The Adamants offers a great mix of terrain – from big mountain glaciers to well-pitched, naturally spaced tree skiing. It is a tenure that offers the best of all worlds, which makes it ideal to support small groups zipping around all kinds of interesting terrain.
4. What other Canadian Mountain Holidays lodges offer small group helicopter skiing packages?
For many years now we have been welcoming guests to CMH Kootenay with a small group program, so it is fantastic that we are adding to this line-up with small groups in the Adamants. We also have a few small group options at CMH Monashees. Check them all out!
5. How does small group differ from CMH’s classic trips? What will be the big changes for the guest? The staff?
The beauty of the Small Group program is that guests are utilizing a Bell 407 helicopter, which is a fast and nimble machine. This allows groups to access smaller landing areas in tighter terrain – so the options for skiing are more varied. With smaller groups, guests are able to load and unload more quickly, so the pace of skiing automatically increases. Small group heli-skiing is perfect for guests who wish to maximize their skiing time – it is also great for a group of 5 friends who want to ski together in what feels like your own private group.
6. How would you describe the terrain at the Adamants?
Located 350 kilometres west of Banff, the Adamant Lodge is situated at the confluence of four major alpine valleys. Named for the surrounding diamond-hard peaks in a sub-range of the Selkirks, the Adamants are famed for long glaciers, deep valleys, and rugged vistas. Classic tree skiing and huge, open glacier terrain are the main reasons why skiers come to the Adamants.
[I can vouch for both. We skied great trees while it dumped a meter of new. Then we skied the high alpine when the weather cleared. Hundreds of perfect turns in a row!]
7. During my trip, it snowed for the first three days and we skied some epic powder. How does Adamants weather/snow compare to the other CMH areas?
The Columbia Range, where the Adamants are located, is renowned for deep, dry powder snow. Combine that with perfect mountains which feature high peaks, well-spaced trees, and deep valleys and you can’t ask for any better geography for a heli-ski area. All of CMH’s areas are located within the Columbia Range because of these exact factors.
8. What skill level does CMH recommend for Adamants heliskiing and heliboarding guests?
We suggest that in order to enjoy heli-skiing you should be at least a strong intermediate skier or boarder who can tackle black diamond runs at big ski resorts, even though you might lack some style doing so. It really comes down to fitness – the more fit you are the more fun you will have. We will ask you in advance what type of skiing you enjoy so you are matched up with other skiers of similar ability.
Me, studying for my next blog post
9. Adamants has a great deal of tree skiing and ‘cut blocks’ from logging very close to the lodge. Does that proximity allow for flying more often in marginal weather?
The key for a great heli-ski area is the ability to access skiable terrain in snowy winter conditions. When the clouds are low we ski in the trees – in valleys close to the lodge. Cut blocks make perfect heli-skiing terrain because they create great features when covered with feet upon feet of fresh powder snow. Even when the clouds come in we get lots and lots of skiing.
10. One of our guides, Christian Ladurner, (pictured here) is also a professional photographer. He took pictures on a couple of days that we later purchased online. Cool idea. Has CMH ever done that as other lodges or CMH empire-wide?
Lots of our guides take great pictures and post them to our CMH website, where guests are welcome to download and share with their friends. There are already some amazing snow shots taken this season –take a peek and it will convince you this is the year to come heli-skiing.
11. The bus ride in can be long. Any plans to shorten travel to Adamants?
Great places can take time to get to – especially when it comes to heli-skiing. Our goal is to transfer our guests to their CMH lodge as quickly, safely, and conveniently as possible so we include ground transfers from Calgary directly to the heli-pad or lodge (excluding CMH Kootenay). Some guests choose to fly into Kelowna and drive to the helipad, which can shorten the transfer time slightly. For the 2013 season – we will be providing our Adamants guests ground transportation from Calgary to Golden and then a heli-transfer from Golden, BC to the Adamants. This will reduce the bus ride significantly.
12. On the last night we had a rockin outdoor party in a snow amphitheater built by the staff. Does that happen every week?
Each week is a little bit different based on the guests who are staying at that lodge and the staff that are working. Each week something special usually happens – but we like to mix it up and keep things fresh!
13. My buddy Harry fell in love with a hot French woman named France (pictured above) who is half his age. He wants to know if you can make any guarantees that it will happen again?
Ha – lucky him, glad he enjoyed his holiday!
Not the Only Reason Harry is Smiling…..and this was Day 1
All guests become family, and family is always welcome – let us know when you want to come back. [Schwing!]
15. Is there anything else you would like to our heliskiing and heliboarding subscribers?
Bring on the snow – and we look forward to welcoming you to the Adamants or any of our other CMH lodges.