or Connect
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Heli Skiing BC?

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 

Sooo I'll be doing Heli again this season and i'm looking for some opinions on different outfits. I want to give myself the best chance to get into some steep alpine at a reasonable price. I know this is mostly based on weather, but some outfits don't offer Alpine regardless of weather and I'd like to avoid those. I've done bella coola before which is big mountain perfection, but they are $1500 a day more than almost anyone else. I've tried Revy a few times, but the weather is always junk and it seems like everyone in the groups just want to tree ski anyway.

 

I'm somewhat interested in CMH's various outposts, Last Frontier (terrace/smithers), and the Whistler outfits. Anyone have opinions on any of these or maybe they know of others? Do Kootenay outfits like SnowWater even bother with alpine, I would think everyone just want to ski that tree pow no?

 

Your help is most appreciated.

post #2 of 27

Within the CMH line-up, Revelstoke has the greatest number of storm alternatives within the CMH roster partly because of the sheer size of their terrain in the Selkirks and Monashees.  It's a rare day they can't get up.  It also makes possible relatively safer skiing when AV conditions are high, partly because of their vast treed terrain.

post #3 of 27
Why don't you go to AK?
post #4 of 27

I agree with Shreadhead that Alaska is a good option, except for the risk of down days.  Not much tree skiing, typically.  You may want to look at Black Ops, as they have cat and sled options for down days.  Count on flying 4/7 days.

 

Last Frontier's Ripley Creek is worth a look.  Lots of high alpine and a better deal.  Lodging is funky/functional (old brothel...)  The owners claim single digit down days per season, even though it's just East of Alaska.  When I was there, we flew up the valley under the clouds to get to the high alpine.  Pretty cool.  Lots of 5K runs.  Lots of glaciers.

 

I also agree with Lorenzzo wrt CMH Revy.  Very good terrain.  Not sure 4 large groups sounds like your style, however.   You may want to consider Eagle Pass in Revy, for small groups and more aggressive lines.   Expensive, though.  Same for Mica, but they are booked solid.

 

Great Canadian in Golden skis in 6 groups of 4, so you can hang with some like-minded skiers.  Just 2 down days/year and unlimited vert, but not cheap.

 

March usually offers the best chance of steep high alpine in BC.  Better stability and better weather.

April is prime time for Alaska.

 

Skeena is a good call.  Two small groups that ski fast.  They have one seat the first week of February.

 

Whistler has significant down day risk, as well as bucket-listers.  Not for you, IMHO.

 

I have been to Northern Escape a few times, and it's a good option.  Snowcat backup, small groups, unlimited vert. option (I recommend it, especially later in the season).  They have serious steep, too.  Film crews bail to NEH when they get weathered out of AK.

 

My experience at Snowwater was mostly trees, but that may have been due to weather.  Same for CMH/K2 (aka Kootenay).  Get some free K2 skis with the latter, which doesn't suck.

 

Crescent Spur has lots of variety, Rockies and Cariboos.  I have skied with them a couple of times.  They pick the best terrain based on weather and snow conditions.  Only 2 down days/year (further North, near Prince George.)  Mostly booked, except early April)

 

I would be happy to send the best options, if you like.  Let me know how many in your group, how many days/dollars you want to spend.  Also, many of these places will put you on a wait list

Best,

tj

HELISKI.com

866-HELISKI

post #5 of 27
Thread Starter 

Wow, more info than I could have hoped for thanks guys. I'll message you heli.

post #6 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SHREDHEAD View Post

Why don't you go to AK?

Expired passport

post #7 of 27
FWIW I went on my first heli trip last year at CMH Bugaboos (the first ever heli lodge) and had a great time, but we did lose 2 days out of 7 to weather. CMH is a quality operator and the terrain options at Bugaboos is pretty varied. It's also relatively quick and convenient to travel to. When nature cooperated we skied in the alpine. When it was less ideal, we skied in the trees. There was no cat backup but the snow was so wet on the down days, we probably wouldn't have wanted to ski even from a cat (guides called it kneebreaker snow). The fastest group did manage to ski 100K feet vert over the 5 days. The CMH regulars recommended I next visit the 2nd lodge Gmoser built, Cariboos. It's supposed to also have great variety of terrain. Neither of these two CMH lodges has small groups. It's going to be 3 or 4 groups of 12 skiers sharing a Bell 212.

Make sure to buy trip insurance. Luckily I had a Travelguard policy that covered trip interruption by inclement weather. I submitted a claim and recovered $3,000 for the 2 down days. The CMH reimbursement was only $300 for unskied vertical.
post #8 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by smackboy1 View Post

FWIW I went on my first heli trip last year at CMH Bugaboos (the first ever heli lodge) and had a great time, but we did lose 2 days out of 7 to weather. CMH is a quality operator and the terrain options at Bugaboos is pretty varied. It's also relatively quick and convenient to travel to. When nature cooperated we skied in the alpine. When it was less ideal, we skied in the trees. There was no cat backup but the snow was so wet on the down days, we probably wouldn't have wanted to ski even from a cat (guides called it kneebreaker snow). The fastest group did manage to ski 100K feet vert over the 5 days. The CMH regulars recommended I next visit the 2nd lodge Gmoser built, Cariboos. It's supposed to also have great variety of terrain. Neither of these two CMH lodges has small groups. It's going to be 3 or 4 groups of 12 skiers sharing a Bell 212.

Make sure to buy trip insurance. Luckily I had a Travelguard policy that covered trip interruption by inclement weather. I submitted a claim and recovered $3,000 for the 2 down days. The CMH reimbursement was only $300 for unskied vertical.

Thanks for the insurance tip, I had no idea. CMH is definitely right up there on my list, they were excellent to talk to and recommended adamants or bobbie burns for me based on my desires and the short 2 hour drive to the heli pad. They also mentioned bugaboos and cariboos so it's great to hear about them. They seem like a top notch outfit, hell i'm even considering doing their K2. It may not be alpine, but it's cheap and I like free skis.

post #9 of 27
I've skied at Last Frontier, Klondike, Great Canadian and Eagle Pass. My two suggestions are to ski the interior, and choose a small-group operation (4 or 5 skiers per group). Large groups can be fine, especially if you bring your own group, but everyone I've spoken with who has done both clearly preferred the small groups. Check out places with daily rates. And if you want Alpine, go in Feb. or March. (I prefer trees for better snow quality and usually go late Dec. or early January.)
post #10 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by seattlejon View Post

I've skied at Last Frontier, Klondike, Great Canadian and Eagle Pass. My two suggestions are to ski the interior, and choose a small-group operation (4 or 5 skiers per group). Large groups can be fine, especially if you bring your own group, but everyone I've spoken with who has done both clearly preferred the small groups. Check out places with daily rates. And if you want Alpine, go in Feb. or March. (I prefer trees for better snow quality and usually go late Dec. or early January.)

Groups always seem small to guide pigs.   :)

post #11 of 27

Lot's of great Heli ops in the BC interior. Selkirk Tangiers in Revelstoke always puts out a good product. One other operation I'm pretty impressed with is RK Heli out of Invermere, BC. Their base of operations is run out of the ski resort of Panorama. Great combination for skiing with friends. RK Has ton's of terrain both treed, glades and glacier. Check it out.

 

post #12 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Freeride View Post
 

Lot's of great Heli ops in the BC interior. Selkirk Tangiers in Revelstoke always puts out a good product. One other operation I'm pretty impressed with is RK Heli out of Invermere, BC. Their base of operations is run out of the ski resort of Panorama. Great combination for skiing with friends. RK Has ton's of terrain both treed, glades and glacier. Check it out.

 

I wasn't impressed with Selkirk Tangiers at all, but I forgot about RK. Thanks.

post #13 of 27

Why not a good cat operation like Retallack? 

post #14 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Finndog View Post
 

Why not a good cat operation like Retallack? 

Because a good day of heli isn't even in the same league as extraordinary day in a cat:dunno

 

Seriously there is no comparison....a heli day is worlds better than a cat.  

 

If you can afford it go heli

post #15 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by seattlejon View Post

I've skied at Last Frontier, Klondike, Great Canadian and Eagle Pass. My two suggestions are to ski the interior, and choose a small-group operation (4 or 5 skiers per group). Large groups can be fine, especially if you bring your own group, but everyone I've spoken with who has done both clearly preferred the small groups. Check out places with daily rates. And if you want Alpine, go in Feb. or March. (I prefer trees for better snow quality and usually go late Dec. or early January.)

winner...winner chicken diner!

post #16 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by seattlejon View Post

I've skied at Last Frontier, Klondike, Great Canadian and Eagle Pass. My two suggestions are to ski the interior, and choose a small-group operation (4 or 5 skiers per group). Large groups can be fine, especially if you bring your own group, but everyone I've spoken with who has done both clearly preferred the small groups. Check out places with daily rates. And if you want Alpine, go in Feb. or March. (I prefer trees for better snow quality and usually go late Dec. or early January.)


Which was your favorite?  & if you don't mind, why?

 

Thanks,

JF

post #17 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by PoisonTheWell View Post
 

I wasn't impressed with Selkirk Tangiers at all, but I forgot about RK. Thanks.

 

   
Both are more known as day operations.  Typically you'll get to ski more aggressive terrain at a multi-day lodge operation.   The guides have to get to know the groups ability level.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by seattlejon View Post

I've skied at Last Frontier, Klondike, Great Canadian and Eagle Pass.

 

I'd like to hear about Eagle Pass.  It always seems to be dumping at the ferry crossing and I like the location.

post #18 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by UGASkiDawg View Post
 

Because a good day of heli isn't even in the same league as extraordinary day in a cat:dunno

 

Seriously there is no comparison....a heli day is worlds better than a cat.  

 

If you can afford it go heli

Beg to differ. I've been to Wiegle's three times and CMH once, and several different Cat operators, and I think you get more bang for your buck at one of the top Cat operators (Mustang Powder Guides is my favorite) If you have unlimited funds, Heli is better, but for me not that much better to justify the  cost. I would take an extraordinary day of Cat skiing over a good day of Heli.

post #19 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SHREDHEAD View Post
 

 

   
Both are more known as day operations.  Typically you'll get to ski more aggressive terrain at a multi-day lodge operation.   The guides have to get to know the groups ability level.

 

 

I'd like to hear about Eagle Pass.  It always seems to be dumping at the ferry crossing and I like the location.

I think most people would enjoy Eagle Pass a lot, i'm sure Selkirk Tangiers is good too. Someone mentioned bucket listers about Whistler, that's exactly how I feel about Revy. I've been 3 times Heli and twice cat in Revy, it is always people that have come for the tree skiing and it's completely understandable. 

 

I always feel like a douche knocking tree skiing, it's phenomenal but I live here I don't need to pay to do it. If you can get a group of advanced skiers together, or like many others are going for the trees i'm sure Eagle Pass is a dream.

 

The wild card is the weather, it's very unpredictable even late in the season and pretty much ruined my Eagle Pass trip.

post #20 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by pud View Post
 

Beg to differ. I've been to Wiegle's three times and CMH once, and several different Cat operators, and I think you get more bang for your buck at one of the top Cat operators (Mustang Powder Guides is my favorite) If you have unlimited funds, Heli is better, but for me not that much better to justify the  cost. I would take an extraordinary day of Cat skiing over a good day of Heli.

Depends what you're after I suppose. If you're after powder I completely agree, if you're after big mountain Heli is the only way to go. I have to limit myself to 1 cat ski trip a season, and the last one was so bad I might skip this season. Even with Gravol I puke my guts out in those things.

post #21 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by seattlejon View Post

I've skied at Last Frontier, Klondike, Great Canadian and Eagle Pass. My two suggestions are to ski the interior, and choose a small-group operation (4 or 5 skiers per group). Large groups can be fine, especially if you bring your own group, but everyone I've spoken with who has done both clearly preferred the small groups. Check out places with daily rates. And if you want Alpine, go in Feb. or March. (I prefer trees for better snow quality and usually go late Dec. or early January.)

What did you think about Last Frontier? They are right at the top of my list, very very interested in Ripley Creek. Very reasonable price and I like what i've seen of the terrain. 

 

My list right now is..

 

Last Frontier

CMH 

RK

Kingfisher (new outfit 45 mins from my house)

post #22 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by pud View Post

I've been to Wiegle's three times and CMH once...
Which CMH Lodge and how do the 2 operators compare?
post #23 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by pud View Post
 

Beg to differ. I've been to Wiegle's three times and CMH once, and several different Cat operators, and I think you get more bang for your buck at one of the top Cat operators (Mustang Powder Guides is my favorite) If you have unlimited funds, Heli is better, but for me not that much better to justify the  cost. I would take an extraordinary day of Cat skiing over a good day of Heli.

Small group heli of 3 groups of 4 or those operations standard 4 groups of 11?  There is a huge difference in the experience......

 

A decent day of heli in a small group is 13-15 runs of lets say 3K vertical on average and with a fast group it is not hard to get 17-18 runs but lets go with 42K on a decent day.  An extraordinary day in a cat would be lucky to hit 20K vertical and most cat trips I've been on are more likely to hit in 14-17K range. 

 

In a heli it's almost always a guarantee that the skiing is bigger, faster and more varied and you can move from area to area and change elevations much easier.  it is easier to find good snow in a bigger tenure with faster transportation.  On a great cat day you can expect to spend between 8-20 minutes (or more) riding the cat between runs that are relatively close together.  On good day in the heli with a good group you can finish one run and load the heli and be back at the top of the next 3K run in 2-3 minutes.  

 

The advantages to cat skiing are price and you go in almost all conditions.  I have nothing like unlimited funds and would rather do heli skiing than cat skiing any day...especially if you have to plan in advance and can't just fill empty seats on a waiting list.  I will save to go heli skiing every 5 years rather than a cat trip every 3 since places like Mustang and Retallack are roughly 60-65% the cost of full blown heli trip.

 

The downside of heli is that there are days that you can't fly (0K vertical:eek) and days where the flying is limited to certain areas or elevations and then heli is not worth the premium over a cat.  So the solution to that is a heli op with cat backup of which there are quite a few.

 

YMMV

 

 

All that being said these are all the top 1% of the first world problems and cat skiing is great fun too.  

post #24 of 27

I've had days on the cat, but nothing I'd call stellar.  Not just the skiing but didn't feel as though I was taking off from the top of some remote mountain as I would heliskiing.  Also, when you're used to the pace of heliskiing it's hard to adjust to the much slower pace of cat skiing.  Never felt bored heliskiing.  I often did cat skiing.  Usually it was from the long, slow ride but sometimes due to flat terrain.  Cats can't adjust to snow conditions the way h.skiing can.

 

Perhaps I didn't ski the best places (Vail, Wasatch) and if I couldn't h.ski I'd cat ski if I could.  Yes, it's a first world issue.  But let's not pretend cat and h are comparable.

post #25 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by smackboy1 View Post


Which CMH Lodge and how do the 2 operators compare?

I went to the Adament's Lodge and each time I was at Wiegle's we had a 10 skier private helicopter, the cost of which has gone up to the point where I chose to go the Cat route. Wiegle has the best accommodations and the food is as good as it gets. Like staying at an all-inclusive five star hotel. CMH was also excellent. The guys I went with still go to CMH each year, I ended up with a season pass at Mammoth. If you can afford it don't hesitate to go. The biggest difference between Wiegle's and CMH is more terrain at Wiegle and although the food at CMH was very good, Wiegle takes it up a notch, which is why it cost more.

post #26 of 27
Thread Starter 

So i've narrowed it down to Last Frontier or KingFisher. Last Frontier is unlike anything i've ever seen, but there's about $1500 in flights and hotel that aren't included. Plus an entire day of travel just to get to the lodge. Though pretty unknown right now i'm really impressed after speaking with Kingfisher, these are guys I want to go ride with and they offer first descents and freedom on unique terrain. It's really just an impossible choice.

post #27 of 27

PoisonTheWell we really hope to see you here at Kingfisher Heliskiing! We just released a new tour in December: 21-23rd. Save over $600! We had over 3 feet of fresh in the past week. Check here for details: http://www.kingfisherheliskiing.com/kingfisher-heliskiing-packages/prices-tour-dates/

Thanks again for thinking of us.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: International Zone