Check out the latest in our series of Heliskiing Operator Interviews.
Also check out the New Blog Look – Comments Appreciated
Let us know if you want advice on the best trip for your group, too.
Whistler’s Coast Range Heliskiing Interview – HELISKI.com and HeliskiingReview.com 15 Questions with Coast Range Heliskiing originally posted Nov 16, 2011 09:45 am | Tom Jackson
For starters, my partner Mike and I want to thank you for your generosity. When Mike’s grandson was in a bad accident, you offered a heliski trip to the charity auction on his behalf. Thanks again, Tyler!
1. When does the season open for Coast Range Heliskiing from Whistler?
We are set to fly our first tour December 10th, 2011.
2. What do clients need to do to get your 10% advanced booking discount?
To take advantage of our early booking offer guests must make their 2011-2012 heliski booking before November 31st.
3. What if they have to change dates or cancel?
We have a 24 hr cancellation policy so guests always have the chance to re-schedule should something unexpected pop up.
4. Where is your terrain, in relation to Whistler-Blackcomb Resort?
Coast Range Heliskiing operates in several areas North-East of the Whistler-Blackcomb Resort. Guests are picked up in Whistler village and taken on a quick 20 min chauffeured ride out to our home base in the quaint town of Pemberton where they will board the helicopter to ski/board in our Mount Currie zone.
5. What made you decide to pioneer small group heliskiing in Whistler?
Some heli-ski companies ski in large groups of 10 or more. We like to offer a more personalized service where you get to know your guide, so we limit the group size to just four or five guests. Skiing in small groups makes it easier to match ability levels, reducing wait times and maximizing vertical so you’ll do more skiing/riding and ultimately end in a better experience.
6. What helicopters do you use, and how many groups per ship?
We fly in the A-star and Bell 407 helicopters. Both are fast dynamic machines that are quiet and nimble in the mountains providing a luxury experience for the smaller groups of 4-5 guests, maximum of 3 groups, that we specialize in.
7. Describe a typical day of heli-skiing with Coast Range Heliskiing.
Guests are picked up at one of our 3 Whistler locations at 7:45am. They are then driven 20 minutes north in our comfortable vans to our base in nearby Pemberton. Upon arrival at our base facility they will be welcomed by our friendly staff with hot coffee and a light continental breakfast while completing some formalities including our comprehensive release of liability.
Guests then receive a safety briefing from both the pilot and guide. The group is then divided into groups of 4 or 5 based on skill level or specific request. As safety is our main concern guests will go over a complete safety briefing with their guide which includes a personal transceiver orientation. After mastering the use of the personal transceiver guests will be introduced to the pilot who will take them through the helicopter safety orientation.
Lift off is approximately 10.00am. Typically we complete 2 or 3 runs prior to lunch which is served in the alpine amidst snow capped mountains and beautiful frozen lakes. Guests will take in the crisp fresh mountain air and soak up the view. After lunch guests are refueled and ready for more glorious powder runs in the pristine alpine. Once guests have completed all the runs in their package they do have the option of purchasing additional runs at $95pp until the days end between 3-4pm when they return to the base for après-ski and a photo slideshow of the day. Then it’s finally time to prepare for the quick trip back to Whistler.
8. If the weather looks sketchy to fly, do you tell your guests to stay in town and ski Whistler-Blackcomb?
If it looks as though we won’t be able to fly we do try and let our guests know in advance so they can make alternate arrangements to switch their heliski trip to a different day and enjoy one of Whistler’s many other attractions, which could include skiing on the mountain.
9. Do you usually have space on short notice, or should guests make a reservation before they get to Whistler?
We always recommend guests book in advance to secure their spots and also to get the best deal. We have a 24hr cancellation policy so if guests arrive in Whistler and decide that they would like to change their dates we are happy to accommodate them. Our booking office is centrally located in Whistler village across from the Whistler Gondola and we are happy to help out our guests.
10. Other than a Private, you offer 4-run and 6-run packages.
($960 for 4 runs; $1150 for 6 runs).
How much vertical does each usually get?
Our 4 run packages typically enjoys between 6,000-12,000 vertical feet of skiing, while our 6 run guests typically ski 9,000-18,000 vertical feet. It’s not unusual to get 4,000 vertical feet per run with a strong group on days when the conditions are in our favour. [Sweeeeeet!]
11. How much are extra runs?
Extra runs are $95 per person.
12. What percentage of your guests buy extra runs, and how many?
75-80%, 1-2 extra runs.
13. What percentage of your guests are heli-boarders?
About 35% are heli-boarders; a number that has increased over the past 10 years.
14. Do you provide powder boards for guests?
We are happy to arrange for rentals of new powder snowboards through our rental partner in Whistler.
15. Anything else you want to add about Coast Range Heliskiing Whistler?
Coast Range Heliskiing is the boutique heliskiing operator in Whistler. We work hard to offer an unforgettable service to our guests, one that they will remember for their entire lifetime!