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Heli-op advice needed.

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

Hello, guys!

 

I want to go on a heliskiing trip and want your recommendation regarding the best heliskiing operations. The main reason for me to go on a helitrip is to ski perfect deep blower untracked powder - something I can't really get at a resort. While I realize the snow conditions can't be guaranteed I would like to go to a place where my chances of finding the perfect snow would be the highest.

 

The other thing is the terrain. I am a decent skier but not very good so I am looking for a place with lots of alpine terrain, preferably wide-open bowls, including glaciers with pitches in the 25-35 degree range (think Little Cloud Bowl at Snowbird).

 

So, I kindly ask you, the guys in the know, to give me some recommendations.

 

Thanks a lot for your kind attention! 

post #2 of 13

PNH, points north, Kevin is the owner, lots of Squaw guides, lots of experience. check them out.

post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 

Thanks, davluri! PNH is an AK based operation, isn't it? Do they have the kind of stuff I mentioned? What I see in the TR's on TGR forums looks a bit too much for my skill level.

post #4 of 13

Points North has a great rep and I'm sure it's an awsome operation.  But for a first timer looking for high quality snow, I'd probably point him toward BC.  Someplace like Great Canadian or Mica Creek would probably be a better fit. 

post #5 of 13

PNH is great and I'm certain that similar operations would be able to put you into great snow and terrain you're looking for. I wouldn't write off snowcat skiing, either. I tried it a while back and was really impressed, and terrain you'd be interested in could be accessed for far cheaper than heli-skiing. It's also a great building block towards heli-skiing, and there are numerous ops in B.C. as well as Utah and other western states. Of course, nothing can really replace the thrill or quality of helicopter skiing, but it is food for thought at a lower price point.

post #6 of 13

Let me suggest RK Heli Ski in BC.  They hire only trained mountain guides, have the kind of terrain you're seeking and offer blue run no off piste experience groups right up to experts and have the terrain for all. 

 

It is VERY expensive but RK does do a single day booking.

 

http://www.rkheliski.com/ability.php

post #7 of 13

I know of 2 Bears that are currently skiing with Mike Wiegele's operation in BC.  Past trip reports have been incredible from the annual trip.

 

http://www.wiegele.com/default.htm

post #8 of 13

I've heard okay things about  Wieglee's also, but personally I've only used RK and my friends have always used RK and we have always LOVED it and thier trained certified mountain guides instead of CSIA instructors.  They ski great and I trust them to keep me alive.  The main difference as I see it between the two operations, from RK's pages

 

"All guides at rk are certified as Full Mountain Guides, Ski Guides or Assistant Ski Guides as required by HeliCat Canada and are members of the Association of Mountain Guides (ACMG) or UIAGM."  the mountain guide program is a 15 month certification.

 

Wiegele's uses CSIA and CSGA which is a new designation started by the heli ski and snow cat industry in Alberta in 1988, due to the lack of qualified mountain guides that RK chooses to use.

 

You choose what you would like.

 

 

For further information on BC Heli skiing and these standards, here's a good read.

 

http://www.skinet.com/skiing/backcountry/destinations/2009/09/trouble-in-paradise

http://www.skinet.com/skiing/backcountry/destinations/2009/09/trouble-in-paradise

post #9 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by SHREDHEAD View Post

Points North has a great rep and I'm sure it's an awsome operation.  But for a first timer looking for high quality snow, I'd probably point him toward BC.  Someplace like Great Canadian or Mica Creek would probably be a better fit. 


I was going to suggest Great Canadian. Good location in the interior near Rogers Pass, with elevation on their side (drier snow) but still lots of snowfall.

 

Forget about RK unless you only want to ski 25 degree glaciers (green/blue runs). The other problem with RK is they run big ships and day trips, so the guides never get comfortable with a group of guests to allow pushing into more challenging terrain. If you are going to plunk down for a week, make it count.

 

GC or some of the CMH lodges would be a nice middle ground between RK and AK :).
 

Regarding guides, I don't know anything about MW in particular, but the idea that heli ops would have ski instructors guiding is ludicrous, all the ops have dedicated snow safety professionals and extremely experienced guides running the snow.

post #10 of 13


Aah I did not mean to infer that Wigele's used just CSIA as guides, they hold CSIA along with other training, this is from their web site:

 

"MWHS guides are fully trained.  They all have achieved qualifications with the Canadian Avalanche Association (CAA), Canadian Ski Guide Association (CSGA) or international equivalent, and the Canadian Ski Instructors Alliance (CSIA). Many of our guides have achieved the highest levels of qualifications available.  Now, many of our senior guides are  involved in teaching courses in the CSGA or CSIA, gained through a minimum of 10 years guiding.  In addition, our guides participate in a comprehensive MWHS 10 day training session prior to the season opening in the implementation of our operational and rescue systems." 

 

They are multi-ticketed but are not necessarily ticketed as the international guide, (ACMG) or UIAGM.  Wigele's will take a high level CSIA and put them through their training program and the non profit CSGA system.. 

 

Now the OP asked for 25 degree glaciers.  Somewhere you can get used to deep powder snow in wide open spaces, that would allow RK to fit that bill.  I can't speak personally for Wiegele's, I have not skied with them. 

 

 

I have not experienced being stuck on these glaciers with RK, and as far as I'm aware any group I was with was treated extremely well and weekly bookings were treated as royalty with one guide for the week, but that was weekly bookings in the 90's possibly it has changed, but anyone that I know that went with RK up to 2005 on a day trip was thoroughly pleased with the value for their money.  I have never worked for them, in case you wondered, Just really happy with the service I obtained from them and the terrain I skied which included cliffs, trees and far more then glacier skiing.  But I am aware they have some excellent intermediate terrain available for someone that wants to feel the deep snow and hasn't had much off piste experience.  I owned a time share and Panorama, BC from 1993 until I sold it in 2006 and never when we had someone go with RK Heli ski did they ever experience bad snow, or the helicopter not be able to fly, though I had weather move in on us after about 6 runs and Old Boot and I couldn't make a 7th, as the helicopter wouldn't be able to get in to fly us back out.  My week was the 6th week of the year, not sure if that helped with conditions, but that would be the second week of February.  Have fun when you go.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gramboh View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by SHREDHEAD View Post

Points North has a great rep and I'm sure it's an awsome operation.  But for a first timer looking for high quality snow, I'd probably point him toward BC.  Someplace like Great Canadian or Mica Creek would probably be a better fit. 


I was going to suggest Great Canadian. Good location in the interior near Rogers Pass, with elevation on their side (drier snow) but still lots of snowfall.

 

Forget about RK unless you only want to ski 25 degree glaciers (green/blue runs). The other problem with RK is they run big ships and day trips, so the guides never get comfortable with a group of guests to allow pushing into more challenging terrain. If you are going to plunk down for a week, make it count.

 

GC or some of the CMH lodges would be a nice middle ground between RK and AK :).
 

Regarding guides, I don't know anything about MW in particular, but the idea that heli ops would have ski instructors guiding is ludicrous, all the ops have dedicated snow safety professionals and extremely experienced guides running the snow.



 



Quote:
Originally Posted by skiergolfer View Post

Hello, guys!

 

I want to go on a heliskiing trip and want your recommendation regarding the best heliskiing operations. The main reason for me to go on a helitrip is to ski perfect deep blower untracked powder - something I can't really get at a resort. While I realize the snow conditions can't be guaranteed I would like to go to a place where my chances of finding the perfect snow would be the highest.

 

The other thing is the terrain. I am a decent skier but not very good so I am looking for a place with lots of alpine terrain, preferably wide-open bowls, including glaciers with pitches in the 25-35 degree range (think Little Cloud Bowl at Snowbird).

 

So, I kindly ask you, the guys in the know, to give me some recommendations.

 

Thanks a lot for your kind attention! 

post #11 of 13
Dint rule out a cat operation since you are looking for lower angle stuff. Cheaper too = more days.
post #12 of 13

I did a week at Bella Coola in BC last year, and it was amazing.  Excellent guides and other-worldly terrain.  Snow quality was great.  One tip - look for an outfit that has small helicopters.  That means small parties, which means you get a lot more vert.

post #13 of 13
Thread Starter 

Thanks a lot for your attention everybody, it's helpful! -)

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