As we head into the final two days of our 2017 heliski season, we can’t help but be a bit nostalgic. From epic deep tree skiing to steep pitches on untouched alpine terrain, we had a banner year for snow conditions during all months of the season.
Clear skies made flying a breeze in the late season. | Photo: Mike Watling
With just a few days to go in our 22nd heliski season, we thought it was time to share a few details and photos of our new bar and entertainment area at Bell 2 Lodge. If you did not have a chance to visit us this past winter, we hope you can experience the totally revamped space on your next visit.
Revised Bell 2 Lodge bar space with rustic design elements. | Photo: Steve Rosset
Fresh: Conditions Update
March Heliski Report
March has been a spectacular month for heli skiing at both of our Northern operations. 450cm of snowbase at an elevation of just 1,000m is a testament to the continuous snowfalls that have pounded us. Despite the 265cm of fresh snow that has arrived in just the past three weeks, we have been averaging only half a down day per week in March. When it’s snowing hard we’ve been rewarded with chest deep skiing in the trees. When the skies cleared, spectacular bluebird days rewarded guests with stunning views from alpine peaks. With a massive settled snowbase, cool temps and continuous snow in the forecast, we are looking forward to three more weeks of skiing this season. Continue reading
This March we have been blessed with cool temperatures, abundant snowfall and great snowpack. Regular snow storms in all weeks have replenished the slopes and given us opportunities to ski areas that have not been heliskied in years. The snowpack has benefited tremendously from the high amounts of precipitation, allowing us to ski deep into valley bottoms.
Solid stability has allowed us to venture high up into the alpine. | Photo: Brent Peters
10 Reasons to come Heli Skiing with us this April
- We’re near Alaska. Cooler temps and a deep snowpack allow us to ski late into the season.
- Bluebird days. April has the most sunshine of any heliski month.
Long spring lunches under a warm April sun. Bliss.
Photo – George Rosset
It’s nuking snow right now at Last Frontier Heliskiing. Fairly typical for this time of year, and there’s some epic skiing happening up there right now. March is, after all, one of the big producers of snow for the year. Check out the current conditions [here]. But for a lot of us, myself included, April heliskiing is our favourite. January and March get all the glory, but April is one of the few months that can tick just about everything on the heliski wish list. Continue reading
NEW: BEHIND THE SCENES
Last Frontier Media Trips
The tail end of January was a busy one with back to back media trips. First up was BC based sports photographer Geoff Holman. We showed off Geoff’s Ripley Creek shots from last winter in our January newsletter. If you haven’t seen the photos yet, check them out [here]. This time around, Geoff and his team based themselves out of Bell 2 Lodge. They arrived during a large storm system and breaks in the weather allowed them to ski deep pow in our classic tree skiing terrain. Here is a brief preview from the shoot: !
Lead guide Andre Ike captured the magic on a run named Pattulo in the heart of Ripley Creek’s terrain.
As we are heading into the halfway mark of the season, we’ve seen dry, bluebird heliskiing conditions under crisp, cold temps turn to massive precipitation at both our locations. Several large storm fronts have kept the snow replenished, while bluebird days allowed us to access the most remote parts of our massive heliski area. On the balance, the skiing has been excellent. When wind got to the alpine, we snuck into the trees to find preserved powder. When the lower elevations got warm, we went up high in search of fresh storm snow.
Snow removal duty at Bell 2 Lodge after another epic snowstorm. Photo – Steve Rosset, January 14 2017.
The weather this past month has delivered the goods. Regular storm cycles have been followed by dry arctic outflows, gifting us great tree skiing during the storms, bluebird pow days in the alpine post-storm and a little bit of bottomless snow mixed in for good measure. In short, it’s been an epic month. But January is not without its challenges, as it tends to be, well, weathery up here in Northern British Columbia this time of year. But that wild, rugged and remote feel is what makes this place beautiful.
Every year when fall rolls around, skiers tend to jump on the get-fit-for-skiing bandwagon. Winter is coming, you see. And when the first storms hit and the resort flood gates finally open, we all want our mid season legs of steel to carry us around the slopes from opening chair to closing bell. But here’s the thing; high performance athletes don’t get fit, they stay fit. And even though you might not be hitting the gates on World Cup GS courses, staying active year round will lead to a more fulfilling season with less risk of injury.
Turns like these require a strong and supple body | Photo – Chris O’Connell
Some of the best places in life are the hardest to travel to – like Abbot Pass Hut. Straddling an alpine pass between Alberta and British Columbia in the Canadian Rockies, the hut is a welcomed sight for climbers after a long approach up scree slopes and through cliffs.
I must go up that to get to the hut?! Oh goodness. I-should-have-brought-more-snacks | Photo – Steven Song
The headquarters of Last Frontier looking rather snowy upon our arrival. Photo – Aurelien Sudan, January 2017
While Bell 2 Lodge has already been operational for 4 consecutive weeks this winter, our location in Stewart, BC was calling. It was time for our crew to go back to the land of vast glaciated peaks and incredible skiing potential in the southern part of our tenure. The journey to Ripley Creek is an adventure in itself. While some of us flew to Terrace and hopped on the staff shuttles, others drove all the way from the southern part of British Columbia through an epic Northern BC snowstorm. One of our guides even made the great migration north to Stewart sailing from Vancouver. Yep, you heard that right; they sailed through the famed Inside Passage all the way up the rugged pacific coast and up one of the longest fjords in the world to Stewart. Talk about an epic journey.
As the late, great Alfred Wainwright said, “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing.” He had a point, too. Wainwright trekked across England more than a few times in the early 20th Century, with clothing a lot more basic than what we have access to today. Through experience (and likely a lot of trial and error), this acclaimed British hill walker made do with what was available at the time; a belted coat worn over a woollen jumper, trousers with braces, woollen socks and functional boots, topped with a flat cap.
Synthetics vs Down? Alfred Wainwright donning the technical outerwear of his day | Photo cottontown.org
Last Frontier Heliskiing is about options. Tell us what you’re interested in, your expectations, and what you’d like to experience on your ski holiday and we’ll try and make your ultimate vacation happen. Although we are located in a remote area of Northern British Columbia, roughly four hours north of Terrace/Smithers, there are multiple ways to reach us. You can even take the train.
The “Canadian”: It goes from Toronto to Vancouver. All aboard!| Photo – VIA
Last Frontier Heliskiing is off the beaten path. Located in the remote mountains of Northern British Columbia, Last Frontier has two distinct locations; one in the frontier town of Stewart, BC, located on one of the longest fjords in the world and the other, Bell 2 Lodge, in a remote wilderness perched on the road to Alaska, deep in the Skeena and Coast Mountains.
This is where you’re going to ski for a week…epic, but getting here can be part of the journey as well.
Photo – Jun Yanagisawa