Heli skiing is pretty tough to beat: it’s the ultimate backcountry ski experience and we consider ourselves very fortunate to be living the bucket list year after year. But, despite the obvious pros and upshots – like skiing untouched powder in some of the world’s most beautiful and remote terrain – there are a few things people don’t often tell you about heli skiing. We count five.
It’s tough to imagine anything but pros and upshots… | Photo: Steve Rosset
Weather prediction is a fickle thing. The last two seasons in Western North America haven’t exactly been stellar in the snow department. The only places that have really lucked out are Northern BC and Alaska, and even then, it’s been below average. The difference up there is the averages are enormous. For the rest of us, sure there have been powder days, but it’s definitely been back to back below average seasons. In some cases, like California, they haven’t had a bottomless day in four years. Not good news if you like living life on two skis. But according the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), this coming year looks to be a strong El Nino year and that can mean waist deep turns across the West. Yum.
Typical El Nino season in North America. More Precip in California…less in the Western US and Southern BC. Good up north.
The human body is a beautiful creation, or product of evolution depending on whom you ask. It can withstand a lot of punishment, be honed into an aerobic or muscular machine and has an uncanny ability to regenerate itself.
But just like most things in nature, the every part of the human body rarely develop perfectly, particularly the eyes. Around half of the adult population of the U.S. requires some sort of refractive correction such as glasses or contact lenses, which amounts to around $15 billion of spending on eyewear.
For days like this, you want to be seeing clearly | Photo Randy Lincks
Word of mouth is one of the best forms of advertising and, as such, there is nothing quite like the endorsement of high-profile professional skiers/snowboarders and their film teams. We’ve been fortunate to have built a mutual fan base amongst some of the industry’s top names and faces over the last decade or so. Most recently, Red Bull athlete and snowboarding phenom Mark McMorris returned with Nicolas Mueller and Mikkel Bang to shoot with us, and the week did not disappoint. “Last Frontier Heliskiing has every kind of terrain imaginable, great snow and the sun shines all the time (at least for us!),” he shared. While we’re certainly proud to see our name in the credits of ski and snowboard movies year after year, however, we don’t take a single visit or day of shooting for granted. In order to ensure that we maintain this relationship and build on past successes, we have to continually ask ourselves a very important question: why do pro athletes keep coming back to Last Frontier Heli Skiing?
To get the shot | Photo: Blake Jorgenson
Summer is awesome. Not only is it a much needed break from our snow addiction, it’s a chance for us to do other things. The options in summer are endless. For myself, I like to stay busy. My days are filled with riding bikes, climbing, swimming, hiking, and spending afternoons reading a good book in the shade. But another aspect of summer is the road trip. Road trips can be taken at any time during the year, but I always find they go down smoothest in the summer months. So if you’ve got some time and a reliable vehicle, here a a few road trips worth doing this summer.
I love summer road trips. This was last week, driving around Colorado at 10,200 feet.
Photo – D McLeish
Is barefoot running for you? One way to find out | Photo Vibram.com
After a long winter season in ski boots, it feels great to give your feet some breathing room. But as supple and comfortable running shoes are these days, they still can feel like prisons for your feet. So should we start running our flip flops and Teva sandals? I think not…
Skiing has evolved in many ways since the days of wool pants and leather boots. In 2015, we’re seeing the effects of modern technology in everything from the lightweight yet heavy-duty materials used in our hardware to the ability to browse for and book heli ski vacations on websites exactly like this. There will always be someone sporting an unironic onesie and mirrored sunglasses as they bounce through a mogul field on their 205 Elans, and they will always be awesome: but old school isn’t the only school. In many cases, if you don’t keep up you risk being left behind or, at the very least, uninformed and ill prepared. Below, we offer some of the best smartphone apps for skiers and snowboarders.
Topo Maps you don’t have to fight to refold in the wind and snow! | Photo: topomapsapp.com
Fires are no joke.
Photo – James Dahmer
It’s been hot this summer. Hot and dry. Riding the bike park these days, you would think it’s mid-August, not June. There’s an inch of bike park flour over everything and it’s as dusty and loose as can be. Even further south, in the second wettest place in Canada, the forest in Squamish is tinder dry and the bike trails are a little ragged. We haven’t really had rain since April. On the one hand, it’s been a beautiful summer, but on the other hand, the fire hazard is slowly going through the roof. Continue reading
While winter may be well and truly in the rear view mirror, the month of June is one of the busiest for ski photographers and photo editors. Tens of thousands of images from the 2014/15 winter season are currently being transferred across electronic delivery systems, dumping terabytes of image files on servers across the continent and the world.
Wading through these images to choose which ones to edit and submit (and which ones to shortlist for publication) is often considered the bane of the action sports photographer profession. Hours, days, even weeks are spent in a dimly-lit room (affectionately referred to as the “pain cave”), gently adjusting dozens of little sliders in editing software, all in the name of bringing breathtaking images to the pages of magazines and the occasional billboard poster.
Blower pow makes a photographer’s life slightly easier | photo Reuben Krabbe
The only thing better than a day spent hunting fresh tracks in the snowy alpine and hot lapping the perfect run is sharing the bliss with a few choice friends. The ideal ski buddy is different for everyone but generally relies upon a fine balance of evenly matched ability, riding style and personality. Below, we run through some important things to consider when looking to round up a posse of best friends on a powder day.
Buds, being buds | Photo: Caton Garvie
Hiking has to be the most prolific of outdoor activities. It’s one of the few sports out there that is accessible to just about anyone with a pair of running shoes and provides an easy way for people to enjoy the outdoors. For myself, I’ve never really been a hiker. I’ve hiked, sure. A lot. But hiking has always been something of a means to an end for me. Hiking to a remote surf break; a massive approach to a climb; hiking to the snow line to ski. Hiking has never really been something I’ve done as an end in and of itself. But this summer I thought I would change that. Maybe it’s age, or maybe it’s the fact that my need to conquer things just isn’t what it once was.
Winter sunrise on the North Shore | Photo: Mirae Campbell
If you’ve ever ridden or purchased a mountain bike, you are likely aware of how expensive the sport can get – quickly. No, those aren’t gold plated brake levers, but for the number of zeros on that price tag, it wouldn’t be surprising.
While there are plenty of deals can be had in the second hand market, many folks demand the highest quality products and are willing to pay for it. The only issue is that when spending anywhere from five to 10 thousands dollars on a bike, you really need to take it out for proper test ride. After all, who would buy a car without actually driving it first?
The Ibis Mojo HD rides like a dream, starting at $5,099 | Photo Vince Shuley
Online reviews, spec sheets and photos/videos of World Cup racers demonstrating how much better they ride than you is all well and good, but the most important thing is how a new bike feels. And the only way to feel a bike isn’t simply throwing a leg over it and riding it around the car park in front of the bike shop, it’s by getting that new whip out on trails.
Outerbike Whistler took place this past weekend in beautiful Whistler, B.C., an event riding on the coattails of the uber-popular Outerbike Moab, where hundreds of folks spend three days commuting out to the Moab Desert to test the best bikes from the best brands. It gives attendees the chance to not just sample the one or two of the bikes available at their local bike shop, but to try dozens of different brands on some of the best trails in the world in Moab, Utah.
All you need to bring to Outerbike is your helmet, pads and pedals. | Photo Vince Shuley
Every summer I commit to staying in shape so that I’m not struggling to fit into my long johns and keep up with the cool kids when the snow flies: then patio season happens and every workout ends with a BBQ and all the beer. This year, however, I’m serious. Below are some of the activities I’ll be doing to keep fit and have fun while I wait for winter.
Keep up! | Photo: Dave Silver
Summer in BC: it’s beautiful here, from the ocean to the mountains, BC is a summer paradise.
Photo – D’Arcy McLeish
Living in British Columbia, I often hear this statement: ‘I came here for the winters, but summers are what made me stay permanently.’ Yep. That about sums it up. I came to BC to ski. For sure. I thought of nothing else when I moved here. In fact, I looked at a map of the world and then looked at who got the most snow, where the best opportunities for work were and that was pretty much it. I packed up everything I owned, which fit into an old VW Golf, and came to Whistler for a winter. Out of necessity, I ended up staying on that first summer, and that did it. BC is now my home. And while the snow here is epic, summer is what did it for me. Continue reading
Let’s face it, we’re all a bit sad to see winter go. But like the soon-to-be blooming wildflowers in the alpine, summer is sprouting with full force this year and British Columbians are wasting no time in firing up barbeques and getting after their favourite forms of outdoor recreation. The summer solstice – the longest day of the year – is fast approaching (June 21, in fact), so it’s time to start taking summer by the horns now. Here are some popular activities and destinations to get you started.
Road cycling on the Sea to Sky Highway at the annual GranFondo Whistler | photo Vince Shuley