ABOUT US

Last Frontier Heliskiing

In a way, the Last Frontier story started way back in 1968 when the Grand Duc Mine, near Stewart BC, required an expert to complete avalanche control work. Herb Bleuer, a mountain guide who had recently arrived from Switzerland, was their chosen man. Herb not only worked there but also spent most of his spare time ski-touring in the area.

Later, Herb went onto guide heli skiing all over British Columbia, including 25 years in the Whistler area. It wasn't until 1996, based on his tales of legendary skiing potential, that the founding partners of Last Frontier Heliskiing George Rosset, Franz Fux, Mike Watling and Geoff Straight set out to explore the area and its potential for a viable heliski operation. The search led them to the perfect staging area – Bell 2 Lodge.

The original Bell 2 Lodge was built in 1979 to service travellers on their way to and from Alaska. The fact that it was located right smack in the middle of this gigantic ski area just added to the excitement. After two seasons of operating successfully from here, Last Frontier Heliskiing acquired the Bell 2 Lodge and began a full re-construction program. In 2005 Last Frontier expanded to take advantage of the Southern part of it’s massive heliski tenure with the opening of Ripley Creek in Stewart BC. See the timeline below for the full history.

Visit our guide page for additional team profiles.

The History

1994

Initial Exploration & Feasibility

Bell 2 Lodge is discovered in the heart of the Skeena Mountains in Northern British Columbia. Founding partners George Rosset, Franz Fux, Mike Watling and Geoff Straight are in awe of the potential for heli skiing and being exploring the area.

Humble beginnings at Bell 2 Lodge.

1997 – 2003

The Birth of a Heliski Village

A full re-construction is started to transform Bell 2 Lodge into a heliski village.

New guest chalets & lodge construction.

2008

Safety Innovation

Last Frontier becomes one of the first operators in the heliski industry to issue mandatory avalanche airbags for all guests.

A new level of safety with the avalanche airbag.

2013

Rejuvenation

Renovations are completed to modernize common facilities at Bell 2 Lodge. The dining room and lobby/gift shop see a big face lift.

The cozy new dining room and main lobby.

2015

A Milestone

Last Frontier Heliskiing celebrates it’s 20th birthday.

Pro Skiers Lynsey Dyer and Josh Daiek at Last Frontier.

1996

First Descents

Last Frontier initiates an exploratory eight week heliski season using a single A-Star helicopter based out of Bell 2 Lodge. TGR take this opportunity to visit this undiscovered part of the world and go home having captured the goods in their movie Re: Session.

Big mountains and rustic living.

2005

A Second Home

Ripley Creek is born in the small community of Stewart, opposite of Hyder, Alaska. The lead guides George Feitzinger and Andre Ike explore the area establishing a whole new heliskiing area, probing deep into the coast mountains.

Small town charms and epic mountains.

2010

Expansion

A third helicopter is added at Bell 2 Lodge, enabling more flexibility for private groups. Capacity rises to 35 guests.

Bell 2 Lodge’s heliport. By day and by night.

2014

The Beginning of a New Chapter

Founding partners George Rosset and Franz Fux divest of their stake in Last Frontier Heliskiing. Franz remains on as Director of Operations and George is succeeded by Mike Watling in the role of Managing Partner.

George & Franz [left] and Mike [right].

2017

Smaller Groups of 4

Groups of 5 were great, but groups of 4 are even better. That’s why starting in the 2017 season Last Frontier is skiing/riding with only groups of 4 guests. This important change means we can carry more fuel in the helicopter and thus travel deeper into our massive heliski area. You will be rewarded with a better guide to guest ratio and more time in the remote terrain that we are renowned for.

The People

Mike Watling

Mike Watling

Managing Partner / Owner

Originally from central London, Mike moved to Canada in 1995 and has been involved with Last Frontier since the very beginning. Having worn all manner of hats and with his longstanding passion for heliskiing, he now leads the team. He spends a considerable portion of his winters at Bell 2 Lodge and Ripley Creek ensuring our guests are having the time of their lives. When he’s not at the lodges, you'll generally find him and his partner Megs cultivating new relationships for the business in distant corners of the world, kite-surfing, sailing or enjoying the mountain lakes of BC in their floatplane.


Franz Fux

Cliff Umpleby

Director of Operations & Lead Guide

Cliff stepped into the Director of Operations role in the summer of 2016. Born in Falkirk, Scotland, Cliff moved to Canada in 1982 and has been part of the team, on and off since 1999. He brings a wealth of experience having held senior guiding and management roles at heliski operations across BC, as well as several stints in Europe. He’s climbed the formidable Mount Logan three times, and is as solid as they get in the mountains. Cliff is extremely organised and plays a key part in ensuring that our ‘behind the scenes’ systems and protocols run smoothly.


Steve Rosset

Steve Rosset

Media & Marketing

Steve has been exposed to heli skiing since childhood when his father, George Rosset founded Last Frontier Heliskiing (and before that TLH Heliskiing). It wasn’t until 2011, however, that he left a career in real estate consulting to join the Last Frontier team. With a deep-seated passion for travel (he and his wife Priscillia have traveled around the world), photography and the outdoors, Steve is on a quest to broadcast Last Frontier Heliskiing to the world. When he’s not devising our next ‘sermon’, you can find Steve hiking and skiing, usually with a camera in hand.


Jordan Grasby

Jordan Grasby

Lead Sales

Jordan was lured by the mountains and the British Columbia lifestyle. He joined Last Frontier Heliskiing in 2001 and apart from a short stint with a small startup heli operation plus time at home with his daughter, Jordan has been with us ever since. His passion for biking and skiing are deeply engrained in his psych. Jordan’s keen sense of adventure, deep technical knowledge and broad range of industry experience are qualities that ensure a seamless booking experience. When you speak to Jordan about your next heliski adventure, be sure to dig into that reservoir of experience.


Natalie Ovens

Natalie Ovens

Sales / Reservations and Head Office Manager

Born and raised in Germany, Natalie was pulled to Canada for love [she met her Canadian husband on vacation in Spain]. Natalie has a great love of travel and wants to ensure that all of our guests are well taken care of – before, during and after their trip. Charming, multilingual and highly organized (did we mention she’s from Germany?), Natalie has a natural knack for sparing no detail which results in the flawless execution of each and every trip. She joined Last Frontier in 2007.


Elaine Childs

Elaine Childs

Reservations

With a (very) dry British wit, Elaine ups the sass factor on the Last Frontier team. Originally from Manchester, Elaine and her husband relocated to British Columbia in 2005 in search of adventures in the great outdoors. Her sharp and quick mind assists guests in setting up their ideal heli skiing vacations. When she’s not looking after her young son (or husband) and has a moment to herself, she enjoys a glass of wine, a good book, knitting and sarcasm. Elaine has been with us since 2007.


Maggie Van Der Meulen

Maggie Van Der Meulen

Accounting

Maggie has two very obvious passions in life. Accounting and cows. She therefore splits her time between her family dairy farm and all things numbers at Last Frontier. Always cool, calm and composed, not even a recent audit by the taxman flustered her – she’s a solid rock at our head office. She also has a (not so) secret love for reading fantasy and a great passion for 20th century history. Not an accomplished skier yet, she’s under heavy pressure from the rest of us to get on the program and join the fun. Maggie’s been on our team since 2011.


George Rosset

George Rosset

Ambassador

As one of the founding partners George played a pivotal role in what Last Frontier Heliskiing has become today. He started TLH Heliskiing in 1991 and later Last Frontier Heliskiing in 1996 and has mentored many of those now in key roles. While George retired in 2014, he continues to be involved as an ambassador for all things Last Frontier. He and his wife Edith live close to our Vernon office and regularly stop by for a visit.