Over more than two decades, our team at Last Frontier Heliskiing has carefully honed our approach to heli skiing and heli boarding. We’re passionate about heli skiing and believe in calling it like it is. This expert guide provides you with everything you need to know about helicopter skiing in Canada with Last Frontier, without too much hype and marketing guff so that you can plan the best heli skiing adventure possible. But first, a short introduction to our heli skiing company. We ensure optimal heli skiing conditions by focusing on small groups, providing world-class guides, and by being located in the largest single heli skiing area in the world.
Last Frontier Heliskiing is located in the heart of Northern British Columbia’s mountain wilderness and is where we secured the world’s largest single heli-skiing area. We chose it for the massive terrain and even bigger snow. The best part though – we have it all to ourselves and we can’t wait to share it with you. Here is what you should know. We love skiing – our heli skiing packages and trips are based around our passion for powder. We have an incredible variety of terrain to our disposal that includes heli skiing runs with vertical drops of over 2,000 meters.
Are you planning a heli skiing trip to Canada? Wonder when the Canadian heli skiing season starts and ends?
We might be biased, but we believe Canada heli skiing is some of the best in the world, particularly between mid-December and April. But it all comes down to personal choice. Conditions vary throughout the winter season, and while we can’t control the weather, we can sure make the most of it.
Mid-December through January sees plenty of snowfall over the Coast and Skeena Mountains. Days are shorter and colder, but we can still heli ski from approximately 09:00 to 16:00. We tend to get deep in the trees. When the skies clear, we’ll head for the alpine. The snowpack might not be as deep as later in the heli ski season, but it offers up some of the best quality snow all year. It tends to be a little quieter around the lodge as many can’t escape their schedules for another break right after Christmas. Prices are lower, so chances are you can score a great deal.
We hit our stride as winter moves into February and March. The snow is deep and effortless and there is more daylight. We spend more time skiing high-alpine peaks, bowls and glaciers. When the weather turns, we head down into the valley to plunder the trees. Mid-season heli skiing offers the best of both worlds. For that reason, it tends to be in greater demand and subsequently more expensive.
In April we spend most of our time in higher elevations to take advantage of the best snow conditions. This is when you can expect classic, alpine glacier skiing and panoramic vistas during long bluebird days. Many skiers have lost their mojo by this time in the season and are already heading for their bikes and golf clubs. At Last Frontier, however, this time of the season is highly underrated. Beware: Don’t be distracted by spring and summer activities too soon. April offers up steeper lines, powder on the north-facing slopes and, if we are lucky, some corn skiing on the other aspects.
|EarlyDec & Jan||MiddleFeb & March||LateApril|
Mix of Alpine & Trees
|Average Vertical Skied|
|33,000 m||48,000 m||43,000 m|
at 1,000m Elevation
|200 cm||320 cm||330 cm|
|Average Daily Low|
at 1,000m Elevation
Heli skiing and heli boarding is not for novices — there we said it! As much as we’d like to invite everyone to join us, we want to ensure our guests enjoy their experience. You don’t need to be a pro, but you do need to be proficient. Whether you ski or ride, you should feel comfortable in a helicopter and be able to confidently navigate the challenges of varied terrain and snow conditions. From chest-deep powder to wind-whipped crust, wide-open alpine to steep and narrow trees, we encounter it all in our backcountry. Skiers should be able to make strong and controlled parallel turns with confidence and, if the situation calls for it, you can side slip, step up sideways, traverse and make kick turns. Snowboarders need to have balanced pressure and edging skills. Even if you don’t have a ton of powder experience, you need to be able to maintain control in backcountry conditions.
Endless terrain is a label thrown around far too loosely, but at Last Frontier it’s the cold truth. At 10,100 square kms, our location gives us the largest single heli skiing area in the world. To put that into perspective, it’s about four times the size of an average British Columbia heliski area. That kind of size means we have an incredible amount of terrain choice and flexibility. An annual bounty of 15 to 25 meters of snowfall coupled with our northern latitude makes for the kind of deep blower pow you can’t get enough of. Combined with over 1,000+ named runs, the longest topping 2,000 vertical meters, and you start to get an idea of the colossal magnitude. It’s not all about numbers, of course. The real draw at Last Frontier is our diverse variety of terrain: high alpine, massive glaciers, sprawling tree runs, and everything in between all ready to be pillaged. The choice is dizzying — and there are still a few peaks to be claimed.
When you visit Last Frontier, you might just feel like you have reached the edge of the earth. After arriving in Vancouver, British Columbia you will hop a 1.5-hour flight to the northern hubs of either Smithers or Terrace. From there a 4-hour ground transfer leads you deep into the Coast and Skeena Mountains — home to Bell 2 Lodge and Ripley Creek Lodge.
Our vertical drop guarantee is unique to Last Frontier Heliskiing. Quite simply, we guarantee that you will enjoy a set number of vertical metres depending on the length of your stay. If, for some reason, you do not get to ski the guaranteed vertical distance, you will be refunded for the number or metres you didn’t get. You only pay for the vertical metres that you actually do ski. For example, if you stay with us for four days, we guarantee that you will ski a minimum of 17,500m vertical. If you come for a five-day stay, we guarantee 22,000m vertical.
We appreciate that you have come a long way to enjoy your heli skiing holiday and we want to make sure that you get what you came for – and what you are paying for. We assume that you are here to really get your money’s worth and do as much skiing as you can possibly fit in. We will increase or decrease the pace and amount of skiing as you wish, but our vertical drop guarantee is the baseline for what you can expect from a visit to Last Frontier Heliskiing.
Upon arrival in one of our well appointed lodges in the Skeena or Coast Mountains, you will have the opportunity to relax in our, off-the-grid cabins, or at our hotel in Stewart on the Alaskan border. Once you’re settled in, the heli skiing begins. We offer a vertical drop guarantee, which means that you only pay for the metres you ski. Assuming the weather cooperates, you board the helicopter with your guide and a small group of skiers, and head off to find some of the best, off-piste, track-free skiing in the world.
At Last Frontier Heli skiing, we want to offer you the most enjoyable skiing experience possible. One of the most important parts of this is to make your safety our Number One priority. Our guide team meets twice a day to discuss the terrain and the weather conditions. This helps us establish the safest zones at any given time in the largest single heli skiing tenure in the world. We maintain constant contact with other heliski operations and provincial avalanche safety organizations – sharing expertise and learning from their best practices.
Our guides and pilots are there to give you day after day of incredible skiing, but they’re also there to bring you back safely. They will know when it’s safe to push the limits, and when it is better to hold back and be a little more cautious. Trust their experience to ensure that you have an enjoyable, incident-free skiing experience.
“Less waiting, more skiing” is Last Frontier Heliskiing’s motto. One of the cornerstones of our unique offering is our ability to offer you more skiing during your trip than some of our competitors that ski with larger groups. One of the main ways we make this possible is through small-group tours. When you ski in large groups, or in the context of ski resorts, you have to share your experience with many other people, which means you spend more time waiting your turn. With Last Frontier Heliskiing’s small groups, on the other hand, you share your descent with only three other guests, meaning less waiting, more freedom and more space.
Depending on when you visit us, you will experience different conditions and varying degrees of daylight. No matter what time you choose to ski with us, however, we know how to maximize your experience and minimize downtime.
Last Frontier Heliskiing is located amongst some of the world’s largest skiing terrain in Northern British Columbia, near to the Alaskan border. It may take a little longer to get there, but our remoteness is part of the appeal. Your journey begins in Vancouver, where you board a 1.5 hour flight to Smithers or Terrace. Then, you take a four-hour ground transfer that takes you deep into the heart of the Coast and Skeena mountains – home to Bell 2 Lodge and Ripley Creek, where you will be staying for the duration of your trip, and will provide the “homebase” of your heli skiing experience.
We provide flexible skiing packages for groups of between four and eight people. These small group packages allow for a personalized experience in which each skier gets more time on the slopes and more vertical meters per trip. You get unlimited vertical, your very own A-Star B2 or B3 helicopter, and two guides with ACMG, UIAGM or CSGA certifications, who are there to keep your party safe and help you maximize your enjoyment of your skiing trip. No ski resort and few other heli skiing operations can offer you this kind of unique, personalized small group skiing experience.
Both Bell 2 Lodge and Ripley Creek offer advanced and challenging heli skiing terrain both in and out of the trees. Ripley Creek does not have as much easy access to mellow terrain as Bell 2.
Based in the Skeena Mountains, Bell 2 is located right in the middle of our heliski area, so we fly in all directions from the lodge. The closest runs are a short five-minute flight from the lodge, which reduces the amount of time needed to commute.
Situated in the heart of the Coast Mountains, the terrain at Ripley Creek tends to be a little steeper and more rugged. Sweeping glaciated slopes and longer tree runs will satisfy those itching for just a bit more adventure. Be prepared for a longer commute in the morning and after skiing as the terrain is situated further from our base in Stewart.
At last Frontier we are committed to providing our guests with the experience of a lifetime. That life changing experience begins with a simple formula, smaller groups means more world-class heli skiing and heli boarding. With groups of only 3-4 guests flying in an A-Star B2/B3 helicopter we can ensure that each skier receives the attention they deserve and ski experience they crave.
Heli skiing with Last Frontier is a full-service, all-inclusive, luxury experience. That means we will provide everything from the helicopter to the ski gear if need-be. We provide a wide selection of ski and snowboard equipment of numerous makes and styles. Beyond the ski gear, our whole team at Last Frontier is committed to keeping you safe and that means ensuring every skier and boarder has the proper safety equipment. We will provide you with the use of an avalanche transceiver, ABS airbag, radio, probe and shovels, all to ensure your safety on the mountain. Lastly, but most importantly you can expect top-notch guide service. Each of our guides are ACMG, UIAGM or CSGA certified. Our guides are some of the best in the world and they know our heli skiing area inside and out, guaranteeing you the best experience possible.
Off the mountain you can expect double occupancy accommodation and meals at either Bell 2 Lodge or Ripley Creek Lodge. We offer 7, 5 or 4-day heliski trips from both locations. Just like any holiday, it’s a simple formula: the longer you stay, the better. You’ll get more skiing, there will be a deeper disconnect from the rest of the world and you’ll engage more in the present. In short, come for as long as you possibly can.
Finally, we offer return ground transfers to and from Smithers or Terrace – included in the package price.
Our most exclusive heli skiing packages provide you the flexibility to call the shots and conquer it all with unlimited vertical and endless terrain. You plan your perfect day with your guides and set the pace with your own helicopter. Our Single Group Private rates are for 4 guests or double up your squad with our Two Group Private for up to 8.
Private Heli skiing tours and adventures at Last Frontier include unlimited vertical, meaning you can heli ski or heli board as much as you like. Each private group will have their very own A-star B2 or B3 helicopter at the ready and two private heli ski guides with ACMG, UIAGM or CSGA certifications. Your heli assisted ski adventure will be second to none. We also offer all private tours meet and greet services at all airports and private transfers to and from Vancouver airport or from Smithers/Terrace.
You will be clocking over 4,500 vertical meters a day for four or more days straight so it is important you’re in good physical shape. Simply put, the fitter you are the more you’ll enjoy the experience. We recommend a conditioning program to help you elevate your strength and endurance. If you’re unable to keep up with your group, you may be asked to sit out and will not be reimbursed for any missed heliski time.
We would never dream of telling you how to pack, but if we were to make a couple suggestions they would include:
Don’t forget your sense of adventure…..and humour!
We’ve made the process as easy as possible, but there’s still a lot to cover and consider. Visit our 10-step checklist to complete your booking and bring your heli skiing experience to life.