For the past couple weeks, I’ve asked myself this question a lot. What make me Canadian? I asked around and one friend simply said, “a piece of paper”. I laughed, chuckled, and rolled my eyes, thinking there must be more than that. However, after thinking for awhile and talking to more people, it became clear that Canada is very diverse. Perhaps one of the most diverse places in the world. Canada is the second largest country, has the largest coastline, and more lakes than the rest of the worlds lakes combined. Canada is BIG. With “big-ness” comes variety, each province is unique and has different values and traditions. It’s hard to nail definitive stereotypes for Canadians as a whole. When complying a list, some are true for me, and others not even close. Nevertheless, here’s some bits of “Canadiana” from different parts of country:
Classic Canadian Stereotypes | vancitybuzz.com
There are different ways to achieving 150 day ski seasons. You can work nights, for instance, as a cleaner or a bartender and shred every day. Another option is to pick a job that requires you to ski at work. Those can work. But to truly dirtbag a season, or multiple 150 day seasons, you need to be free of the constraints of regular employment. Being unemployed gives you the freedom to rip lines every day and never be worried about showing up for work. But unless you’re independently wealthy, financing a winter devoid of work but filled with mountain pursuits on two skis tends to get a little expensive. If you’re really good, sponsorship can help, but free skis don’t put food on the table so regardless, you need money, plain and simple. Which leaves only five to six months out of the year where gainful employment is a necessity. But what pays? What jobs, over the summer months, allow for big pay cheques that you can stash for the first storm of the season?
Dirtbagging in style on the Last Frontier.
Photo – Bryn Hughes
If there’s one thing British Columbia has going for it, it’s the natural beauty. Vast as the entirety of Western Europe (and then some), it would take a lifetime to explore all of BC’s splendid nooks and crannies. And while we are all blessed with a single lifetime, until we’re all working five day weekends we have to pick and choose where in BC to explore. Here’s our top 5 places to visit in BC.
What more could you ask for? Whistler, BC. | Photo – Tourism Whistler
I’ve never been good at conventional sports. I don’t have an arm for throwing or a foot for kicking. Baseball becomes floppy-arm-ball, and soccer ball-kicked-in-the-face-game. While most kids are probably encouraged to be team players, my father always advised against, “Just go the other way,” he’d say, or “Make your own path. Don’t be a follower”. Team sports have always confused me, and I’ve usually just run around bewildered and pretending to be useful. It turned out that I was quite exceptional at something different – suffering. Give me sweating, gut-wrenching, back breaking, bush thrashing, groveling up steep slopes to claim some insignificant peak any old day. It’s never been easy, but for some twisted reason I enjoy it. For me, there’s few things better than an ol’ski traverse. A ski traverse is going from Point A to Point B on skis. Some are long, some are short. It could take a day, or it could take years. It just depends on how long you’re willing to go. Here’s 5 notable ski traverses worth trying in British Columbia/Alberta:
Skiing among the mountains. A truly golden moment | Photo – Liam Harrap
British Columbia is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream destination. It has some of the best of everything; skiing, biking, paddling, trail running, surfing…the list is endless. But where it really shines is in the hiking department. BC is a big place, but because of its diverse geography, with everything from sandy beaches to rainforests to deserts to glaciers, BC has some of the best hiking in the world. But where to begin? The West Coast, Interior, The Rockies? We picked what we think are the best hiking destinations in BC. There is something for everyone here, from day hikes near some of the the larger cities to multi-day epics in some of the more remote corners of the province. Enjoy.
The Stawamus Chief in Squamish, BC. A great afternoon hike.
Photo – Tourism Squamish
Northern BC may feel like it’s in the middle of nowhere, but that’s also what make so attractive to ski movie producers. Constantly gathering new, innovative ski footage is how these teams manage to release fresh film offering new perspectives to the skiing community every fall. At Last Frontier Heliskiing we’ve hosted many international members of the ski and snowboard media over the years, some which are featured below. Whether for some summer powder dreaming or inspiration for your next heliski trip, here’s 5 Ski movies filmed in Northern BC.
Drop off during the golden hour of light | Photo – Blake Jorgensen
It’s strange to say that summer is our “off-season”. But it’s true. We all know that summer is “ok”, however obviously winter is better. Nonetheless we do the best with what’s given us. The season for heliskiing is unfortunately short, usually only running from December to April. So to fill the time until the ski waxing and powder shots begins again, Last Frontier Heliskiing staff usually have other jobs. Here’s a small snap shot of what some staff are doing this summer:
Unfortunately we cannot ski through the summer. Sigh. I guess I’ll just reminiscent…| Photo – Dave Silver
The other day I was chatting to a local climber here in the Squamish who is in his seventies. Yep, you heard that right. He’s in his seventies and still out there spending lots of his free time in the mountains. And I’ll tell ya, I could see that he’s as fit as they come and is probably more active than people half his age.
I love living in the mountains.
Photo – D’Arcy McLeish
The action sports industry is extremely competitive, as many action sports startups discover before they even think about launching their product. But if it weren’t for the blood, sweat and tears of these entrepreneurs, many of the fancy tools and devices we use today would not exist.
The Hexo Plus follower drone was one of the most successful action sports/tech startups of 2015 | Photo – Hexo Plus
Everyday is an adventure working at a heliskiing company. No day is the same, and you never know what the day will bring. I’ve talked to some folks that think heliskiing is always extreme, such as skiers jumping from helicopters, 100 ft cliffs, back-flips, and no time for lunch. In 99% of the time, heliskiing is nothing like that. For safety reasons, we cannot jump from the helicopters a la James Bond, and there’s always time for lunch (thank-goodness!). While heliskiing is about skiing untracked powder as much as possible, it’s still important to enjoy yourself. Relax, have fun, and take a couple pictures. Here are examples of our guests and staff enjoying themselves with some skiing related hilarity:
Our guides back in the day. We all wish we had bright yellow one-sies. So Epic! | Photo -
Those who have never been heliskiing often ask how it compares to resort skiing. That’s a good question, but alas, it is one with a fairly short answer: it doesn’t. The two are vastly different. But for fun, let’s look at what those differences are.
No crowds, no lift lines. Just untracked snow all day, as far as the eye can see.
Photo – Jeff Van Driel
1. perception governed by proprioceptors, as awareness of the position of one’s body.
What are proprioceptors anyway and why should we care about them? They are sensory nerve endings located in your muscles, tendons and joints that relay information about positions of the body and its parts in space. If you can hit baseball without focusing on the bat, your using proprioception, what some people describe as a “sixth sense.” A pretty important part of the anatomy for skiing, snowboarding or any action sport, don’t you think?
Awareness of body position at the most critical moment | Photo Andy Wong /AP
When I first saw a Last Frontier Heliskiing tenure map, I was flabbergasted. Not only was the ski-able area enormous, but most of the map was covered in white. Now if anyone (and I mean anyone) is worth their salt, they’ll know what white on a map means – snow and icefields. Our tenure is covered in them. Very-large-and-disappearing-into-the-far-horizon-icefields. Icefields that leave you aghast, breathless, tingling, and makes you realize just how small you really are.
A standard glacier view at Last Frontier Heliskiing. An icefield is made up of glaciers inter-connecting and branching. Glaciers are just “mini” icefields | Photo – Grant Gunderson
The Beautiful Bell 2 Lodge Photo – Steve Rosset
When George Rosset, Franz Fux and Mike Watling first scoped out what would become Last Frontier Heliskiing’s terrain in the wilds of Northern BC, they knew that running operations this far north were going to be a challenge. First, it’s remote up here. Sure, our Ripley Creek Location is in an actual town, but our heliski lodge is at Bell 2, which is pretty much smack dab in the middle of nowhere, nestled between the Skeena and North Coast Mountains. That nowhere, however, has some of the deepest snow on earth, but I digress. Continue reading
Ski and snowboard culture hit the global mainstream decades ago. In 2016, the International Report on Snow and Mountain Tourism estimates around 400 million skier visits worldwide throughout resorts in 80 countries per year. That’s a significant amount of skiers and boarders enthused to slide down the slopes. Yet, not every skier at heart is fortunate enough to live right by the mountains. A typical ski vacation thus usually involves travelling to a resort, lodging in a hotel for a few days, skiing during the day and dining (and perhaps dancing) by night. Resorts can be crowded places both on and off the mountain, so the connection to the natural landscape – particularly in over-developed ski areas – can be watered out by long lift lines, busy runs and endless infrastructures.
Not your typical ski vacation. Ripley Creek Inn, Stewart, B.C. | Photo – Steve Rosset