It was crisp and clear with lots of cold smoke early in the month.
Photo – Gian Salzgeber
It’s been an interesting last few weeks at Last Frontier Heliskiing. We’ve seen dry, bluebird conditions under crisp, cold temps turn to massive precipitation at both our locations. The skiing has been good; everything from deep pow turns to wind pressed alpine laps to low elevation tree skiing. Continue reading
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
In a perfect world, every winter ski vacation would have snow falling from the sky between the hours of 4pm and 6am, then clear to bluebird skies for that picturesque moment captured in all those ski resort marketing photos. But the reality is, Nature rarely works that way. Snow storms come rolling through mountain ranges, dropping the white stuff but sometimes lingering for a tad longer than needed. This can play havoc on heliski holidays, limiting flight time and restricting terrain. The good news is that at Last Frontier Heliskiing, storm skiing is a regular occurrence and one that our guests enjoy.
No sunshine? No problem. | Photo – Dave Silver
Frequently when people book a heliskiing holiday, the focus is primarily on skiing. However, it’s important to look at the bigger picture. Today, there are many heliskiing outfits in Canada and it can be difficult for people to chose where to go. Most of them offer excellent skiing, which makes the decision even harder. Nevertheless, Last Frontier Heliskiing stands out from the rest. While the skiing is outstanding, Last Frontier Heliskiing goes beyond the skiing to provide a once-in-a-lifetime vacation. A holiday isn’t a holiday without mind-blowing cuisine. The following is a look at apres-ski and why it may be the best part of your holiday at Last Frontier Heliskiing:
A welcoming sight after a hard day’s ski | Photo – Geoff Holman
We are three weeks into the season here at Last Frontier Heliskiing and so far it’s been a great start. Our base, measured at 1000m in elevation, sits at 155cm. Our guides have been taking our guests all over our heliski area in the last three weeks, constantly on the search for good snow. This January, we’ve had some great tree skiing, lapped some big, wide open alpine bowls and had some all around deep days.
Cold smoke in the Alpine
Photo – Michael Brackenhofer
Taking media footage while skiing has never been easier. Smart phones, compact cameras and the ubiquity of GoPro units means there’s pretty much always someone capturing the moment. When on a heliski or cat skiing trip, sometimes there’s even a dedicated photographer with you on every run to make sure you get your chance to look good in front of the camera. But when flying smaller helis (like the five-seater A-Stars we run here at Last Frontier), often there’s only room for the pilot, guide and the guests. That means all the photos you bring home will be the ones captured by you and your friends. In order to give you the best chance of bringing home the banger shots, here’s some pointers on taking photos on a heliski trip.
Getting the shot isn’t always as hard as you think, but it requires planning | Photo – Vince Shuley
In the buzz of our hectic lives there’s an easy answer to leaving all the stress behind – tents. There is nothing simpler than setting off into the woods with a backpack and a tent. Forget the cellphone, the laptop and the social media feeds. A ten allows for other pleasures; read a book, study flowers, count snowflakes, or make conversation. In an age where so many of us use so much, it’s amazing how small a space a person really needs. Just 2.25 meters by 1.25 meters will do. The following is a story about tent life:
“Clifford” – the Big Red Tent has taken me to amazing sights | Photo – Liam Harrap
There are a few great pleasures in life. Having a tarry black espresso, Beef Wellington, an old world Pinot, waist deep snow, a really good book and getting a massage after a day of skiing. That last one has to be one of the best. Nothing compares to the bliss of laying down for a massage at the end of a day of leg burning laps on your skis or snowboard, especially when those laps are out of a helicopter.
Photo – Greg Foster
Congratulations! You made it to 2017. Now that we’ve all loosened our belts a couple of notches from indulging over the holidays, it’s time to start thinking about what our big plans are for this year. And I’m not talking about losing weight, running a Tough Mudder course or achieving some level of personal financial stability. Instead, let’s look at your skier’s new year’s resolutions.
A New Year brings new challenges and rewards ahead| Photo – Ashley Barker