It was another awesome season at Last Frontier Heliskiing. Operations at Bell 2 Lodge finally shut down this past Friday and we’re now heading into summer after what was our busiest year in operation.
Spring pow. Waist deep at Last Frontier. Photo – Jun Yanagisawa
It was a tough year for skiing in BC and we too had our challenges. But even with winter’s tardy arrival and a slightly lower snow year, our average base at 1000metres was still 300cm and the mountains of Northern BC managed to dump almost 850cm of pow on our tenure. Not bad, considering some ski resorts had trouble even opening this year. Continue reading →
Reuben Krabbe. If you’ve heard the name then you’ve seen his work. Based in Whistler, Reuben is one of the brightest up and coming action sports photographers in the industry. He was winner of the 2012 Deep Summer Photo Challenge and he recently won Revelstoke, British Columbia’s Hot Lapse 72 hour Pro Photographer Showdown. We were lucky to have Reuben shoot during filming of the 2015 Last Frontier Heliskiing promo film and look forward to seeing his work.
With terrain like this we’re looking forward to Reuben’s shots… Photo: Caton Garvie
Working at Last Frontier Heliskiing definitely has its perks. Whether it’s living in one of the more remote and beautiful places in the world, getting the odd seat on a helicopter to shred epic terrain or just plain getting after it in the mountains every chance you get, working on the Last Frontier can definitely work for you.
Guido getting his rad on at Last Frontier Heliskiing…Perks of the job! Photo – George Rosset
No one encompasses that way of life more than our ski tech at Ripley Creek, Guido Schnelzer.Continue reading →
The Atom LT Hoodie from Arcteryx. Photo – arcteryx.com
I’ve spent a lot of time in the Arc’teryx Atom LT Hoodie. According to Arc’teryx, the Atom LT Hoodie is billed as an insulated, mid-layer hoody with wind and moisture resistant outer shell. Arc’teryx rarely disappoints but I was curious with this jacket. I got it as a kind of do everything piece, from riding on cold days to ski touring and even being manly around the house. But to be truthful, it felt almost too light to be a really durable jacket. At just 13.2 ounces, the Atom LT is light. And with 60g of Coreloft insulation, I had my doubts about how warm it would be, but I was looking for something that was light, breathable and offered the warmth of an insulated jacket. In terms of design, the Atom LT is lightly moisture resistant, with a breathable, non-insulated stretch piece running down under the arms on each side of the jacket. Standard zip pockets, scuba hood and Arc’teryx’s usual attention to detail complement the piece.
Whistler is a hub of outdoor and mountain enthusiasts. Long time Whistler local, Wayne Flann, a 30 year veteran of the Blackcomb Ski Patrol, has spent most of his life working and playing in the mountains. His blog, www.wayneflannavalancheblog.com, has become one of the main resources for avalanche and backcountry information in the Sea to Sky Corridor. Started in 2011 because he saw a need for snowpack information for early season backcountry skiers and riders, it has blossomed into one of the sources for weather, snowpack info, and avalanche updates and has a devoted following among avalanche professionals and backcountry enthusiasts alike.
What we all want from the backcountry… Photo – Caton Garvie
Every April, to finish the season, Whistler hosts what has to be the biggest party in North America on snow. Billed as “the biggest annual gathering of winter sports, music, arts and culture in North America“, the World Ski and Snowboard Festival is an awesome time to come visit Whistler. Well, unless you’re going heliskiing, which will always pretty much trump everything. If that’s the case, then ignore this post and say hello to the guides at Last Frontier Heliskiing for me. Otherwise, make it a point to get to Whistler between April 11-20.
Spring is a funny time of year. When the sun is out, it can be the best of the seasons. Long days on the hill, the backcountry or in the valley present an opportunity for us to wear less clothing, do all our favourite activities and escape the long, mountain winter. The flip side to that is when it’s warm and rainy and the mountains are clagged in, spring sucks. Nothing like ski patrolling in the rain, my friends. You’re hot, wet and miserable and the only folks skiing on the hill area a very special breed…
Unless it’s going to be like this…why even bother going up the hill? Photo – Caton Garvie
It’s 4:20am. An ungodly hour and we are still in bed, counting the seconds before that awful alarm of his goes off. It’s tough to sleep this time of year. We usually get a few hours in before even the mild pressure of the blankets brings stabs of pain to our little extremities. But soon it will be time to get up. After that there will be an hour or so of bliss before he rams us into those plastic prisons he wears for work every day. Until then, hopefully we’ll be put into some comfy sandals or softer shoes with those big thick socks of his. Not perfect, but better than what we’ll be spending the day in.
Don’t be fooled. Underneath even Ms. Mancuso’s Boots lie a pair of gnarled little oak trees – ski racer feet. Photo – Lange Boots
We’re feet, you see; the left and right feet of our human host, who unfortunately decided that making a career as a ski patroller was a good idea. Good for him, bad for us…especially at this time of year. Spring is brutal for a ski foot. Long days, severe temperature swings, and free flowing water and sweat make for endless misery. But we digress. Right now, we’re still enjoying the bliss of being in bed. BEEP BEEP BEEP. My god that alarm is LOUD! Is that really necessary, you ignorant idiot? Can’t you see your feet are already awake and thinking of ways to avoid the coming day? At least it’s Friday so we’ll have three days off soon, and that will be a welcome rest. Continue reading →
Scot Schmidt. The name speaks volumes. He was one of the original big mountain skiers and a hero of my adolescence. Along with Glen Plake and Mike Hattrup, The Schmidiot, as he was sometimes known, was the reason skiing became a lifelong obsession and a way to make a living for me.
Business as usual on the Last Frontier. Definitely worth bidding on… Photo – Dave Silver
April 3rd is the annual fundraiser for the Zero Ceiling Society of Canada. The ‘Hullabaloo’ will be held at Scandinave Spa in Whistler. Tickets are $60, and provide access to the spa beginning at 7 p.m. before the party kicks off at 9 p.m. There will be live music, food, drink and of course, an auction, with all proceeds going to Zero Ceiling. One of the big auction items this year is a 7 Day Heliski Safari with Last Frontier Heliskiing. This is pretty much the ultimate heliski trip. The Heliski Safari allows you to book multiple nights at both our Bell 2 and Ripley Creek locations and gives you a chance to really explore what is the world’s single largest heliski tenure. Continue reading →
I’ve wanted to do this list for a while now, but how to choose? There are so many good ski films out there; influential, cinematically beautiful, critically acclaimed and others with the sickest footage imaginable. What about choosing between documentaries, traditional ski films or the few feature length motion pictures that have been made? Finding criteria that covers what skiing is, according to a top five list of ski films, is impossible. Skiing is anything to anyone. For me, it’s been an integral and sometimes desperately needed part of my life for as long as I can remember. It’s also how I make my living six months of the year. For others it’s an obsession and for some a weekend distraction. So for this list I just chose the films about skiing that I enjoyed the most. So here they are, and while it’s a bit of a different list, I hope you enjoy it.
5. Warren Miller’s Ski Time: It’s tough to make a list of great ski films without including one of Warren Miller’s pieces. Always giving us insight into every aspect of skiing, from the extreme, big mountain shredders to the punters falling off the t-bars, Miller’s films helped bring skiing to the masses. Ski Time was Scot Schmidt’s first appearance in a Miller film, and that’s enough to get it to the top 5.
This year, I spent half of the season on the bench, injured. It was/is brutal. Everyone is out enjoying their lives in the mountains, doing things like skiing pow, falling in love, getting engaged, hiking into new lines and discovering new zones, going on heliskiing trips, sled trips, cat ski trips, hanging out in hot springs with cold beers, laughing; all parts of their body soaking it all up and loving it, unaware of how bitter the other side of that is – a haze of Tylenol 3′s, Netflix and chocolate addiction. But in this achey dream state, a few things come clear…like what skiing really means to your life. Here are the Five “F’s” of skiing.
In my humble opinion,Revelstoke Mountain Resort (RMR) is the best ski resort…that I have skied at. Fondly referred to as GnaRMR, there is a wildness about its inbounds terrain that gives you an adrenaline-jacked feeling that you are not skiing at a resort at all. Every person that starts skiing at RMR has stories of getting “cliffed out” – a few seasons later, those same spots of terror become “fun lines.” The mountain elevates skier and snowboarder ability; it breeds shredders. These are the top 5 lines inbounds…in my humble opinion.
RMR is a great training zone…for THIS. Photo: Dave Silver
March Heliski News
This month we have a fresh batch of heli skiing photos, take a quick peek at the new Bell 2 lodge renovations and recap the latest heliski conditions.
March Heliski Photo Update
Longer days and a series of high pressure systems made for unspoiled vistas and great skiing conditions. The following imagery offers a quick peek at a recent March Heliski Safari tour. Highlights included unspoiled powder descents, scenic heli flights, delicious meals and starlit skies cascading over lively bonfires. Get the full story and additional photos [ here ]. Continue reading →
I’ll take conditions like that… Photo – Steve Rosset
What a month. Bluebird skies, deep pow, cold temps and everything in between. While snow levels are still below average for this time of year, the snowpack depths at Last Frontier Heliskiing were over 3 metres at 1,000 meters elevation. Compare that to, say, Whistler, and we’re still double the snowpack at an even lower elevation. So needless to say, below average up here is epic just about everywhere else. Continue reading →