I work as a ski patroller, and finding a glove that can withstand the abuse of the job, keep my hands warm and dry and actually last the season is difficult. While not perfect, Hestra has a couple of gloves on offer that come pretty close. Understand that no glove is going to do everything, and the debate between leather and synthetics can be a long one. I choose leather. Sure, it’s a little high maintenance and requires constant treatment with wax to keep it waterproof, but if you take care of them, leather gloves are durable and tough.
A daily occurrence ski patrolling in Whistler…well, maybe not daily. Regardless, good gloves are key when you’re neck deep in BC blower.
Photo – Grant Baldwin
So you’ve arrived in Whistler to dirtbag for a few years. You’ve got your ski gear, a couch to crash on and the beginnings of a hard core local attitude. Now all you need is a vehicle; one that can do anything, go anywhere and will put up with night missions to Mt. Baker when the snow starts falling. But what’s the best ski bum vehicle? Bit of a hot topic, really. Being a ski bum usually means you’re a little financially strapped, so that new Dodge 3500 with the Cummins Turbo Diesel might be a little out of the question. But you need something reliable, cheap and preferably 4WD. An added bonus would be if you could live in it from time to time.
When you look this good shredding, you need a vehicle to match.
Photo – Chris O’Connell
So for this top five, I’ve put together a list of vehicles that will truly suit the ski bum lifestyle: Continue reading
When you have nothing holding you back from going outside, sometimes it’s easy to take the great outdoors for granted. But when you’re stuck inside, we all notice pretty quickly how much better it is to be outside playing in the mountains than it is to be inside sitting at a desk. We know an inactive, sedentary lifestyle does damage to our bodies and minds. So how do we fix that? Hmm…
Let me think. Photo: Randy Lincks
Making a promo film is never easy. For many heliski operators out there, the best shots and segments of an entire season are edited to create a short film showcasing their product. Last Frontier Heliskiing takes a slightly different approach. They pick a photographer, a filmmaker, and an athlete, and they book them in for a week of skiing and filming. The week is booked months in advance so weather, snow conditions and accessible terrain are the same for them as they would be for a typical heliski guest on a typical heliski trip.
Getting rad at Last Frontier…
Photo – Mike Watling
Perhaps the mystery of the modern day ski bum lies in the ability of social media to veil what is truly happening behind-the-scenes. Is every turn really that deep? Is every outfit really that sharp? Is every party really that fun? Or has ski bumming turned into a glamour lifestyle; one to be sought after, one that isn’t really that hard or dirty or broke at all…here are the reasons why modern day ski bumming isn’t that bad.
Besides the obvious. Photo: Randy Lincks
While it’s fun to shred when there’s a foot of fresh, sometimes it’s good to mix things up a bit and forgo the skis or board for an engine and four snow tyres. And while trucks are great, on a snowy country road, a fast car is about as good as it gets. Here’s a list of my top five ‘dream cars’ on a powder day. And yes, all of them are fast.
5. Audi RS6 Avant: With the world renown Quattro AWD system and a 500+bhp, 4.0ltr V8 under the hood, this ‘sport wagon’ is a caged lion that will give your average super car a run for its money. In the snow, with a proper set of winter rubber, it’ll blow the doors off just about anything that comes in its way. Best of all? You can take the kids to ski school in it.
The ultimate station wagon…
Winter has finally returned to the South Coast. With over 50 inches of snow in the last week, Whistler has been going off. Grumpy locals are friendly again, ski patrollers are throwing bombs, the tourists are stoked, the village is bustling and the snow gods have returned. It’s been a tough winter on the South Coast, and while we’re still well below our yearly average, a week of powder days has given everyone a big sigh of relief. Not a moment too soon, either. I was starting to think winter was over. Now I’m thinking of getting even fatter skis, and am excited of the prospect of actually going ski touring for the first time this year.
A daily occurrence at Last Frontier…this has been all too rare in Whistler this year.
Photo – Grant Baldwin
Sometimes, everyone deserves something special. A little treat, if you will. It’s hard to spoil yourself, but hey, life’s too short to not roll out the carpet of self-love every once in awhile. But “treatin’ yo’self” is just one of the reasons why booking a private helicopter for your heli-skiing vacation at Last Frontier Heliskiing is a little taste of the fun that you can allow yourself in life. Realists, listen up: when you break it all down, private groups just make a lot of sense.
You deserve the good things in life. Photo: Dave Silver
There’s nothing like a first date. A test of sorts, first dates are the shopping experience for romance. Meeting someone one-on-one for the first time is always a little nerve wracking. Will they like me? Can we relate? Is this guy going to turn out to be Joe Weirdo? Will she tell me kids are the number one priority right as dinner is being served? In most cases, first dates usually come in the form of dinner or meeting for a drink. In a ski town, however, there is another option: going on a ski date.
The ultimate ski date
Photo – Dave Silver
It happens somewhere, every year: there is a dry period. High pressure systems reign, precipitation drops, and so does winter stoke morale. Winter enthusiasts all hope for a few things: steady snowfall, consistent temperatures, and low avalanche danger. Unrealistic, maybe. But so is making it through a dry spell without going a little crazy and taking any/all possible measures to have Ullr descend upon us again and bless us with snow, oh glorious snow.
Need. More. Of. This. Photo: Randy Lincks
These are the five best ways to pray to Ullr to get the snows to let loose upon us.
Moving in the mountains isn’t a casual affair. Avalanche terrain is a complex and varying environment that is home to two kind of people: those who have been humbled, and those who will be humbled. Avalanches are scary, and can be seriously destructive; but they are also tucked up into the snowpack that we all love to ski. So how do we mitigate avalanche danger and still ski wicked powder? We do our best to understand what is going on.
Beacons. Get to know how to use them right away. Photo: Ales Fevzer
Growing up skiing I had my heroes. Glen Plake, Scot Schmidt, Doug Coombs; they were the big mountain pioneers and extreme skiers I looked up to. But another skier that I had a bit of an admiring crush on was Wendy Fisher. She was a true big mountain charger. With a race background that rivaled any world cup skier, Wendy Fisher set the standard for women’s big mountain skiing. Even more than that, she’s up there as one of the most accomplished skiers in history. Her aggressive, technically perfect style, inspired an entire generation of both men and women to get out there and make it their life’s work to explore the mountains and shred big lines.
Photo – Powdermag.com
Big mountains, deep trees and endless lines. In a nutshell, Last Frontier Heliskiing offers up some of the best terrain and deepest snow on the planet. With the world’s largest single heliski tenure, there is lots to choose from at Last Frontier Heliskiing and people often ask us what the runs are like at both our locations. Choosing between Bell 2 Lodge and Ripley Creek is a bit like comparing two prize racehorses: they both offer up something special. In terms of terrain and what the skiing is like at each location, there are some differences. Bell 2 is all about big, wide open, high alpine runs and deep bowls in some of the most remote, glaciated terrain BC has to offer. Ripley Creek offers up old growth tree skiing, deep pillow lines and can be as steep and deep as you like. But what better way to showcase each location than with some photos of what we like to ski? So here are a collection of run photos from each location.
Bell 2 Lodge
No clouds, not trees…just snow.
The skiing and riding at Bell 2 is truly awe inspiring. It’s big mountain terrain and there is enough of it to cater to virtually any taste or ability. Because of the size of the Last Frontier Tenure and the scope of terrain on offer weather is very seldom an issue; there is always somewhere we can fly to. Do you want a long run in a big, wide open bowl? How about skiing your way through a massive glacier that no one has ever skied? The options at Bell 2 are endless. Continue reading
What’s the big deal about skiing in British Columbia? I’ll say it: British Columbia is a premier destination for heli skiing. It has the fierce chutes and descents of Alaska, the open powder fields of Europe, and of course, the famous pillows and tree skiing of…well, British Columbia. Have you been skiing in BC? The way to do it right is to get out into the province’s famous powder.
One of the guides. Photo: Hugh Barnard
We have all seen ski industry media: helicopters blasting through massive mountains, landing on top of an exposed peak, the athlete hopping out on to a dangerously corniced ridge. Backpack straps flapping, they hold their skis down while the helicopter slowly lifts up and nose dives down the side of the mountain at what looks like free fall. Or, the helicopter hovers over massive terrain while the athlete jumps out of the helicopter and into a gnarly couloir, where they point it straight and ride an impossibly steep line without turning. They are alone.
Where the pros drop. Photo: Blake Jorgenson