HELISKI.com Interview: Eagle Pass Heli-Skiing & Heliboarding

Eagle Pass Heliskiing and Heliboarding

We had a chance to visit with Scott Newsome, one of the new owners of a hidden gem in the boutique heliskiing / heliboarding world – Eagle Pass Heli-Skiing and Heli-Boarding. Just 20 minutes outside of Revelstoke, BC, EPH offer Unlimited Vertical in 3 groups of 4, with a max capacity of just 12 guests. We talked with Scott as they are gearing up for this season.

1. Eagle Pass Heliboarding & Heliskiing Canada – Under New Management. Who is on the new team, Scott?

The new team consists of Scott Newsome, Matt Pinto, Michael Wood, and Craig Borgland. Scott and Matt are both guides, Scott is a snowboard guide and Matt is a ski guide. Michael and Craig are both from Calgary, Michael is a snowboarder and Craig skis.

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I don’t think this picture needs a caption…..

2. What changes are you making?

We have changed our main lodge location to just south of Revelstoke at Echo Bay, along the shores of the Columbia River. We also offer luxury private skiing from Sparkling Hill Resort near Vernon B.C., and day skiing from Silver Star Mountain Resort. Both of these programs are close by our southern tenured area.

3. Adding “Heliboarding” to your name makes it a mouthful. I know a couple of you are riders. What will you be doing to cater to heliboarding?

We are the only heliski company in Canada that has both certified ski and snowboard guides. Guides ride whatever the guests ride.

4. Of the three in/near Revelstoke, Eagle Pass Heli-Skiing and Heliboarding (EPH) is the only boutique operator. Three groups of four, right?

We prefer to call it small group Heliskiing, a boutique is something you may find in Paris. [Mais Non!] At our Echo Bay Lodge, we use a powerful B2 Astar which can service up to 3 groups of 4 guests accompanied by their guides.

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Surf’s Up at Eagle Pass Heli Skiing Heli Boarding BC Canada

5. How many guests can you accommodate total?

At Echo Bay Lodge, we can accommodate up to 12 guests. At Silver Star Mountain Resort: 10 guests, and at Sparkling Hill Resort: 8 guests plus their non skiing spouses.

6. The other two Revelstoke heliskiing operators were there first. Was there enough good terrain to put together you tenure?

Yes! Back in the day when the first heliski companies first staked their claim on the terrain around Revelstoke, they focused on the drainages leading into the Columbia River Watershed. This a large area and includes the Selkirk and Monashee Mountain ranges. On the western side of the Monashees, is the salmon bearing Shuswap River. Our terrain runs along the western divide of the Monashee Mountains in this drainage and our area is in excess of 1200 square kilometers, a mix of high alpine, TL and awesome old growth tree skiing. Our terrain runs north and south approximately 100 km in length.

7. EPH Heliboardnig and Heliskiing is more about the remote lodge, catering to experienced heliskiers and heliboarders.  No one-day bucket listers allowed?

At Echo Bay Lodge, we encourage our guests to come and stay at our comfortable lodge during their heliski vacation. If the lodge is not full, we do allow day skiers to join in on the heliski only package. As we know there are plenty of people interested in getting a taste of heliskiing & heliboarding, we offer day skiing from Silver Star Mountain Resort nearby Vernon, B.C.

eagle pass heli-skiing and heli boarding lodge

Eagle Pass Heli Skiing Heli Boarding Lodge………Nice!

8. What is the lodge like?

Echo Bay lodge is 100% off the grid (micro hydro) and is located along the shores of the Columbia River, yet easily accessed along HWY 23 just
south of Reveltoke. The lodge has 8 rooms, a dining common area, games room and bar, and two hot tubs outside.

9. Do most guests fly into Kelowna?

Most of our guests fly into Kelowna International Airport and the drive to Echo Bay Lodge is 2.5 hours. There is a helishuttle available as well should guests wish not to drive. Silver Star Mountain Resort is one hour from the airport, and guests skiing from Sparkling Hill Resort are picked up via helicopter from the airport and a short 5 minute flight lands them at the world class spa and hotel.

10. If the weather grounds the chopper, can guest catskiing or hit the Revelstoke Resort?

Down days do happen, although not a common event at Eagle Pass Heli Skiing  and Heli Boarding. When they do, it usually means it is snowing very hard. A day of skiing at the nearby ski resort is a great way to still get out skiing everyday of your trip, and it is usually a powder day at the resort.

11. What packages are you offering for 2012?

We offer: small group multi day packages at Echo Bay Lodge, Day skiing from Silver Star Mountain Resort, and Luxury private
heliskiing and spa vacations from Sparkling Hill Resort (spouses stay for free)

eagle pass heli skiing, heliboarding

Bews South Bowl – EPH Heliskiing / Heliboarding has The Goods

12. What is the average vertical for a week at Eagle Pass Heliskiing and Heliboarding?

It depends on the group and the week, but in a typical week, guests ski anywhere from 80,000 to 200,000 vertical feet. We offer unlimited vertical from Echo Bay Lodge, but we always put priority on the quality of the skiing/boarding as opposed to just sheer vertical. A big week above 100,000 vertical usually means fits guests, good conditions and maybe some good weather as well. This means the helicopter is landing higher and we are probably skiing to the valley floor. Some of our runs are in excess of 5000 feet, big vertical weeks are always a big favorite among guests AND our guides.

13. What snowboards will you be offering to heliboarders?

We are proud to be able to offer to our snowboard guests the use of Trapper Snowboards, which are locally handcrafted here in Revelstoke, using local wood. Scott Newsome is one of their team riders and involved in the R&D of this awesome new local product. Trapper designs and builds powder boards and split boards.

Revelstoke Private Heli-Skiing, heliski private sparkling hill resort

For Privates, Sparkling Hill Resort may be the Ultimate

14. You also have a super-fancy lodge (for former Google employees and trust funders). Tell us about the lifestyles of the rich and famous, please.

Sparkling Hill Resort is located a short 5 minute flight from the Kelowna International Airport. This world class spa and wellness hotel is one of it’s kind. EPH is offering helisking from this location and it is one of the few locations where you can bring your non skiing spouse to enjoy all that the spa has to offer. There are numerous spas, saunas, -110 cold sauna (1st in North America), and from March on, guests can also enjoy the many wineries in the area, heli ski in the morning and maybe golf in the afternoon……anything is possible from Sparkling Hill Resort.

15. Is there anything else you would like to add about Eagle Pass Heliskiing and Heliboarding?

Our entire team at EPH are looking forward to meeting all of our guests this coming winter to share an unforgettable experience both on and off the snow.

Thanks, Scott.
I hope to get up there to make some turns with you soon.

Best,

tj

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

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Expert Advice – Knowledge is Powder

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Interview with Revelstoke Heli-Ski Operator: Experience BC Backcountry 1st Class

 

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The rare Flying Hottie, spotted in the backcountry near Revelstoke, BC Canada

20111031_heliski_revelstoke


Interview by Tom Jackson, HELISKI.com

1. How long has Selkirk-Tangiers Heli-Skiing been flying out of Revelstoke, BC, and how many skiers and riders have had their best day ever with STHS?

This is our 35th year of operation!

Thousands? Hundreds of thousands? We’ve got a huge client base from all over the world.

 

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Looks good to me…

2. A few years ago you joined forces with Revelstoke Mountain Resort. How have things changed?

It has created lots of opportunities for us to create new packages and offerings for our guests (heliski out of Nelsen Lodge, Lift & Heli Combo incl. 3 days of heliskiing and 2 days at RMR…). We still offer our guests the same amazing heliskiing products we always have but with a lot more options.

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3. Your 500,000-acre tenure includes the Monashees and the Selkirk Mountains. Compare and contrast the two, please.

A lot of the same goods! Both ranges run North-South through and around Revelstoke, BC. The Selkirk mountain range lies to the East of Revelstoke and the Monashee mountain range lies to the West of town. The bulk of our tenure is located in the Selkirk mountains so we tend to spend a lot of the time there, but we do like to check out the Monashee side of STHS as often as possible as well! They both include plenty of treeskiing, alpine bowls and glaciers for our guests to enjoy.

 

4. I get ‘Selkirk’ (the mountain range), but what the heck is Tangiers in Selkirk-Tangiers Heli-Skiing Revelstoke?

It’s Tangiers is the name of a zone river in our northern Selkirk terrain, named after the Tangiers river. It is where the company’s original founder and owner, Peter Schlunegger, took his first heliski guests to heliskiing with STHS 35 years ago!

 

 

5. What percentage of your clients do a single day?

40-60%. Since we are ‘turning over’ guests daily rather than weekly, this allows us to accommodate many more people each week in our Day Heli programs than our multiday programs. However, we find that many single day clients end up adding at least a 2nd day to their experience and a lot will come back the following year for multiday packages!

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6. Can you please summarize the three single day packages?

Day Heli Experience – a great introduction to heliskiing including 3 runs Day Heli Advanced – for skiers/boarders with previous heliski and/or extensive backcountry experience. Includes 3,000 vertical meters rather than the 3 runs incl. in the Experience package.Private DayStar – our premiere day heliskiing experience. You and up to 3 friends in your own helicopter with your own guide experiencing all our terrain has to offer! Includes 5,000 vertical meters of skiing. [DayStar in an A-Star, clever]

ALL these packages also include breakfast, lunch, and après-ski snack, ski/board rentals, ACMG certified ski guide, safety equipment and training. Extra runs/meters available for a fixed rate (based on weather, time and group consensus).

 

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Small choppers are also an option from Selkirk-Tangiers

7. What is the most popular multi-day package?

We see lots of guests booking our 3 Day Classic packages because it is a great fit for busy schedules. The 6 and 7 day Classic packages still tend to be very popular however, lots of people are still looking for that traditional week-long heliski experience!

 

8. Tell us about lodging for multi-day guests?

We are based out of the Coast Hillcrest Hotel, located 5-min from downtown Revelstoke. A beautiful rustic log themed hotel, there are plenty of amenities (spa, hot tubs, fantastic dining room, lounge, work out facility, STHS retail shop etc.) for our guests to enjoy.

 

heli-skiing, heli ski canada revelstoke

 

Best Day Ever Groundhog Day

9. What other multi-day packages are available?

We have Private AStar packages for groups of 4 or 8, flying from the Hillcrest Hotel, Nelsen Lodge or Bighorn Lodge (at the base of RMR).

New this season we have a special 3 day Women’s Retreat (Jan.7-10 and Mar.10-13) just for the ladies, a 3 day AStar Steep Camp (Mar.3-6 and Mar.17-20) for clients looking to explore some of our more aggressive terrain and get more vertical, and our new Lift and Heliski combo incl. transfers from Kelowna airport, 6 nights accommodation, 2 ski days at Revelstoke Mountain Resort, plus 3 heliski days with STHS.

 

10. What is the average vertical for a day at Selkirk-Tangiers Heliskiing Canada?

Depends on a number of factors – what the weather is doing, time of year, what package the guests are booked for. Typically we will see a range of 1,500-3,000 vertical meters per day for our day packages and 3,000-5,000 for our mult-iday packages. However, if we have plenty of light, great weather and keen skiers/boarders, we can see groups skiing up to 8,000+vertical meters some days!!

 

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Tree Skiing from Revelstoke

11. Tell us about your Heli Ski Only packages.

These packages offer a little more flexibility for our guests. They can still ski with STHS but are free to arrange accommodations for elsewhere in Revelstoke. Available for certain 1, 2 and 3 day packages.

 

12. What are the options for Privates?

Our private packages can be 1-7 days in length, with our 3,,4,5 and 7 day AStar packages including lodging at the Hillcrest hotel. Shorter private AStar packages can be arranged without accommodation for clients who already have somewhere to stay in Revelstoke.

Revelstoke Heli-Skiing, heliski revelstoke bc canada

 

Revelstoke Heli-Skiing

 

13. If the weather grounds the chopper, can guests go catski or make it to the Revelstoke Mountain Resort in time to get a full day?

Multi-day packages: if there is a down day during your multi-day package, guests have the option to go to the ski resort. The group’s guide will drive the group there/back and ski with them; lunch and lift ticket will be provided. If at the end of the package, guests haven’t reached their guaranteed heliski vertical for weather reasons, we will refund at a set rate for the unskied meters.Day Heli packages: Guests will get a full refund plus have the opportunity to get a ride to the ski resort if their heli day is cancelled first thing in the morning. If they do go out and at the end of the package guests haven’t reached their guaranteed heliski vertical, we will refund at a set rate for the unskied meters/runs.

 

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2 Edges or 4…

14. What percentage of your guests are heliboarding?

Hard to say, but it seems to be around 30-40%. It’s definitely not just for skiers, we’re happy taking skiers and boarders out and have a great fleet of rental powder skis & boards to choose from.

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15. Is there anything else you would like to tell us about Selkirk-Tangiers Heli-Skiing?

There’s a reason we’re still offering up heliskiing and boarding for our guests after being around for 35 years – we know what we’re doing and our guests love it, coming back winter after winter! Revelstoke is a world-renowned destination for heliskiing for good reason and we’ve done our best to provide just that for thousands of our guests from all over the world.

 

Thanks. I hope to get back up there to Revelstoke to make some turns with you soon!

Best,

tj

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