Pushing the Limits – Balancing Risk in the Backcountry

This is why we go into the backcountry... Photo - Dave Silver

This is why we go into the backcountry…
Photo – Dave Silver

Is there anything better than laying down fresh turns on a snow covered peak far removed from the hustle and lineups of a ski resort? Well, maybe doing it from a helicopter is better…but getting up there on your own steam is a reward in and of itself. Going into the backcountry is not without risk. For those of us who spend time in the mountains, managing that risk is the key to staying safe and having a good time. Continue reading

Gloves or Mitts for Skiing?

Every winter when the mercury dips into truly Canadian temperatures, a topic of great debate ensues: should I wear gloves or mitts for skiing?

Everyone has their own answer to this age old question. Mitts are warmer but look like they are for kids and give you the nimbleness of a crab trying to paint a Picasso. Gloves leave your individually-wrapped fingers isolated and exposed to cold air and wind, but let you perform simple actions like buckling ski boots uninhibited. There’s also a few other factors  to consider.

gloves or mitts for skiing

Snow science requires desxterity in the hands, which is why most heliski guides prefer gloves | Photo – Steve Rossett

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60 Days to Xmas – What to put in a Skier’s Stocking

I wonder what santa will bring this year... Photo - Grant Gunderson

I wonder what santa will bring this year…
Photo – Grant Gunderson

I had a mild panic attack when I wrote “60 days to Xmas”. Sigh. I have many gifts to buy for friends and family, so I better get started. If you’re still wondering what to get as a stocking stuffer for the skier in your life, look no further.

Here are five gifts that anyone would be thrilled to receive: Continue reading

A Skier’s Journey – The Final Season

As skiers, all of us are on a journey. On the surface, it’s the search for deep, untracked snow. But if you dig a little deeper, skiing becomes a way to move through the terrain of life, seeking out the hard to reach places in the world and within ourselves. How skiers move down a snow-covered slope, with gravity pushing them along, is a tool to navigate the daily struggle of existence.

Episode 2, season 1. 

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Hobbyist Drone Options – What’s hot this season

Drones are hot right now. What was just a few years ago a piece of specialized flying video equipment has now trickled down to consumers, with affordable options for every level of drone hobbyist. Whether you’re looking to record aerial video footage, a toy for your kids this Christmas or entering the growing culture of drone racing, there’s dozens of choices currently on the market. For the purposes of this article, we’ll be sticking to camera drones in the price at or below $1,000 USD. And there’s plenty of hobbyist drone options in that category.

drone options

Spiders in the sky. Drone options are becoming cheaper and more advanced every year. | Photo – Cape

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Beyond a Ski Trip at Last Frontier Heliskiing – A Foodies Holiday

Most guests at Last Frontier Heliskiing discover that the food is beyond what they were expecting. When booking a heli-skiing vacation, people usually choose solely on the snow quality, type of terrain, and snow pack, thus food becomes an afterthought. Nevertheless, Last Frontier Heliskiing believes in providing not only world-class skiing, but everything else that goes with it. And food is of the utmost importance. Here’s what you can expect with Last Frontier Heliskiing cuisine:

| Photo - Geoff Holman

First you eat with your eyes | Photo – Geoff Holman

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Even Bigger – Heliski Area Expanded for 2017

In a heliski operation, flexibility is key. If you only offer high alpine skiing, for instance, it’s great for sunny days, but in weather it’s a problem. Storm skiing is something that a lot of operations just don’t have that much of. A heliski operation has to be able to deal with all sorts of challenges, from inclement weather, avalanche stability and temperature fluctuations in the snow to snow coverage, fuel costs and flying time; lots goes into it.

For 2017 we are expanding our heliski tenure with an additional 600 sq km of terrain.

For 2017 we are expanding our heliski tenure with an additional 600 sq km of terrain.

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Top Weekend Ski Touring Destinations in BC

While a heli-ski trip may be the ultimate powder experience, self-propelled ski touring does have its merits. Namely, it costs relatively little and you can do it every weekend. British Columbia is home to some of the best ski touring in the world and a lot of it comes with the bonus of easy access. There are too many great spots to list here, so we’ll be keeping to the classic zones near a select group of ski towns. Here are the Top Weekend Ski Touring Destinations in BC.

Weekend ski touring destinations in BC

Past the boundary rope and two glaciers over on Mt. Pattison, Spearhead Range | Photo – Vince Shuley

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Help Wanted: Last Frontier Heliskiing

I will never forget my job interview for Last Frontier Heliskiing. I applied for various heliskiing outfits in 2013, such as CMH and Mike Wiegele and heard nothing. Eventually I got a phone call from Franz Fux, one of the original owners of Last Frontier Heliskiing. I didn’t even know where the company was, but thank-goodness-for-Google. Turns out, you drive to the edge of the map and just keep going north. Franz asked if I was available for an interview and if I’d meet him at a nearby airport. He was going to fly his own plane to come see me. I was flabbergasted that a company would put so much effort into meeting potential staff. Thus, I trimmed the beard, patched the holes in my pants and duct-taped the bumper back on my truck (have to make a good first impression) and drove the 60 kilometers to the airport to pick-up my interviewer.

| Photo - Franz Fux

Franz’s plane | Photo – Franz Fux

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Getting Fit for the Heliski Season

Doing this all day for a week...you'll feel it. But it's a good kind of pain! Photo - Randy Lincks

Doing this all day for a week…you’ll feel it. But it’s a good kind of pain!
Photo – Randy Lincks

How do you get fit for ski season? Every year, I struggle with this question. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I’m out of shape, it’s just summer legs are different from winter legs. Every year, without fail, after the first few days skiing, my legs are SORE. It’s a little different for me, in that I work on skis, so for my first week back, there’s no real rest. At a ski hill, you can ease into it, skiing short days as your body transitions to winter again. Continue reading

Hottest big budget ski films of the season

T’is the season for fall ski movie premieres and there’s no better way to build anticipation for pow shredding  than to watch pro skiers do rad stuff in front of a camera. But in the age of YouTube, a bunch of stitched together segments of skiing to a soundtrack of the year’s alternative hit songs doesn’t quite cut it anymore. The skiing audience wants a story. They want narrative. Productions such as Sherpas Cinema and Sweetgrass Productions are masters of this art, but with significantly smaller budgets and lots of other contracts on the go, they can’t keep cranking out films every year. But the big guys can. So grab a caffeinated or hopped beverage and enjoy some teasers from this year’s big budget ski films.


Fall ski season premiers... ROCK! | Photo - Bryn Hughes

Fall ski season premiers… ROCK! | Photo – Bryn Hughes

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The “Local Spots” in Stewart

Stewart, located in northeastern British Columbia has a bright and colorful history. It’s a boom-bust town, with stories of miners striking it rich or losing it all throughout the ages. Today, Stewart is quieter as the mining industry has slowed, but it still has plenty of the magic and charm from its glory days. Built at the end of the Portland Canal, the fourth longest fjord in the world, Stewart is the northernmost ice free port in Canada. The town is nestled between tall and striking peaks, thick forests, and tumbling glaciers. Being the last stop on Highway 37A, Stewart is literally at the end of the line. Life in Stewart isn’t easy. Winter is long and since the surrounding mountains are so high, sunlight is limited. Getting there is difficult, it’s a four hour drive north from Terrace, on a narrow winding road that can be horrendous in winter. Cars are infrequent and animal sightings can be numerous. Nevertheless, it’s an awe-inspiring destination. Here’s a couple places popular with the locals that are worth check-out:

| Photo - Lorenz Masser

The walkway along the ocean in Stewart. A must see-I-mean-walk in town!| Photo – Lorenz Masser

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The Waiting Time – Prepping for the Ski Season

Fall in Northern BC. Gorgeous.  Photo - Cliff Umpleby

Fall in Northern BC. Gorgeous.
Photo – Cliff Umpleby

Patience is a virtue. At least that’s what I have always been told. But this time of year is tough. Waiting for the coming ski season can be brutal. Don’t get me wrong, fall is a magical time of year in just about every part of the world. The hot summer temperatures have given way to cool, crisp temps and warm, gorgeous days. In the mountains, the loam is tacky, the rock is grippy and the conditions are ripe for every outdoor endeavour. Hikers, climbers, mountain bikers, road riders, paddlers, runners…everyone loves the fall. Continue reading

Ski and Snowboard Camber and Rocker Explained

Pick up a ski or snowboard from a shelf these days and you’ll likely be bombarded with terms such as camber, rocker and early rise. The thing is, these are all pretty much the same thing. When ski companies design a ski they have to consider important factors such as material and shape, but the character of how a ski performs also depends on its camber profile and amount of rocker.

Ideal rocker conditions. | Photo - Vince Shuley

Ideal rocker conditions. | Photo – Vince Shuley

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The Ultimate Base Layer for Hitting the Powder Slopes

The British author Alfred Wainwright once said, “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing”. Dressing oneself has never been easy, whether its for a wedding, or down to the corner shop for a pickled egg. I’m 27 years old and still learning. When it comes to skiing, it can become difficult. What if it’s windy? What if Stan makes us ski in the shade for the whole darn day? What if it’s too cold to eat my meatball sandwich for lunch? What if what if. After many trips of shivering, over-heating, and being outright miserable, I finally have some suggestions to make the whole skiing experience a delight.

| Photo - Ales Fevzer

It’s important to dress properly for skiing, you just never know where your skis are going to take you on the slopes  | Photo – Ales Fevzer

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