2015 Promo Film – Behind the Scenes

February 24, 2014 D'Arcy McLeish

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
Getting rad at Last Frontier…
Photo – Mike Watling

This year, filming took place in mid February and the theme was Last Frontier Heliskiing’s heliski safari. Unlike a typical week of skiing based at either Bell 2 Lodge or the Ripley Creek location, the heliski safari brings together the best of both worlds; skiing out of Bell 2 for the first half of your trip and then flying and skiing your way to the Ripley Creek location in Stewart, BC. Giving a real glimpse into the single largest heliski tenure on earth, the heliski safari is about as epic a trip as you can get.

Suz Enjoying Some Northern Bc Blower.  Photo - Mike Watling
Suz enjoying some Northern BC blower.
Photo – Mike Watling

There were two new additions to the crew this year, with celebrated Whistler photographer Reuben Krabbe snapping shots and big mountain skier, wingsuit flyer, and all around ninja, Suz Graham, showing us what skiing on the Last Frontier is all about. I had a chance to catch up with Suz and got a little beta on her trip to the Last Frontier.

Not A Bad Spot For Lunch... Photo - Mike Watling
Not a bad spot for lunch…
Photo – Mike Watling

Right out of the gates, she said the terrain blew her away. After having skied in some of the more epic spots on the planet, including Alaska, Suz was pretty forthcoming about what she thought of the tenure at Last Frontier Helsikiing. “People always ask me about skiing in Alaska. And yes, it’s big and epic and burly, but to be truthful, you spend a lot of time grounded because of weather. Here, the mountains are just as epic, but because their terrain is so large and diverse, no-fly days are rare.” Case in point, mid way through the week, the biggest storm of the year hit and dumped several feet of northern BC pow. “I was sure we wouldn’t be flying, but low and behold, the next four days, we shredded waist deep turns in about every kind of terrain you can imagine.”

Ten Thousand Year Old Ice In Your Scotch? Absolutely.  Photo - Mike Watling
Ten thousand year old ice in your scotch? Absolutely.
Photo – Mike Watling

Because of the diversity and scope of the terrain on offer at Last Frontier Heliskiing, the options for skiing on any given day are endless. Stormy weather? Go tree skiing down low. Sunny skies? Wide open glaciers and big alpine lines. Warmer temps? Fly somewhere into the terrain where it’s colder. High pressure? Go a little further to find some pow. From a pro skier’s perspective, Suz was quick to point out that while Alaska, which is often used as the bar for big mountain skiing, is great, there is not nearly as much diversity on offer in terms of actual ski terrain.

After A Few Days Of Bluebird, The Storm Snow Arrived. Photo By: Grant Baldwin
After a few days of bluebird, the storm snow arrived. Photo by: Grant Baldwin

Another aspect of the week filming was lodge life. Meeting guests from around the world, trading perspectives of the skiing and riding at Last Frontier and enjoying the comforts of one of the best heliski outfits out there, Suz appreciated the casual elegance throughout the operation. That casual elegance is at the core of what Last Frontier Heliskiing is all about.

2014 Promo Film

Showing only the greatest hits in a promo film can be misleading. Taking an athlete and just filming them heliskiing for a week, much the same as any guest would, is what really showcases Last Frontier Heliskiing as one of the foremost heliski destinations on the planet. Regardless of the weather, there are always good turns, good food and breathtaking views to be had.

*Sigh. That Looks Nice.
*sigh. That looks nice.

For Suz Graham, the week was a bit of a dream trip. The first few days had epic sunshine and the last few days produced what she described as some of the ‘deepest snow of my life’. No small statement coming from one of the world’s more accomplished big mountain skiers. Now we just have to wait until October to see her shred the Last Frontier.

Be safe, ski hard.