2020 Heli Skiing Season Recap – Photos & Slideshow
On March 18th our last guests departed Bell 2 Lodge – roughly 4 weeks ahead of our planned closing. This is our look back at some of the many incredible moments that unfolded in what shaped up quickly to be a very memorable heli skiing season.
2020 Heli Skiing Season By The Numbers
At Last Frontier, we keep an open book in regards to our seasonal weather, snow and ski statistics. During the season, we keep a daily record of ski conditions, vertical skied, snow accumulation, temperatures and snow quality. Those numbers get consolidated into weekly ski reports every Friday [view here]. In many respects, 2020 was a banner year. We received the most in-season snow [late December-late March] since 2012. Here’s a quick snapshot of how the season using some of our core benchmarks:
- Average vertical per week: 44,500m [146,000ft]
- Average new snow per week: 78cm [31″]
- Total 12-week snowfall: 863cm [340″]
- Peak snowbase @ 1,200m: 550cm [216″]
- Average down days per week: 0.9
If you’re curious how this compares to other heli skiing seasons, please don’t hesitate to reach out and we will be happy to share seasonal stats.
2020 Heliski Season Slideshow
By the time late December rolled around, it was clear 2020 was going to be a huge snow year. Our pre-season reconnaissance and guide training revealed over 160cm [63″] of snowbase at 1,200m [3,900ft] in elevation at the end of November. This base quickly grew to over 230cm [90″] by late December and allowed us to literally ski Peak to Creek [valley bottom]. For a full recap of early season conditions, see our Mid-December update.
The snowpack kept growing rapidly in January and we wasted no time taking advantage of the best tree skiing in years. Halfway into the month, a blast of cold air resulted in bluebird conditions for a week and the opportunity to ski in dramatic early morning and mid-afternoon light. The second annual String Cheese live music week kept the energy levels high and we are looking forward to a repeat in 2021 [get in touch for details].
With both operations [Bell 2 Lodge & Ripley Creek] running at full capacity, our guests devoured the onslaught of fresh snow arriving weekly. We received over 320cm [125″] of snow in January and another 300cm+ by the time February came to a close. We’ve never seen so many “wicked” and “awesome” entries in the daily heli skiing reports. Breaks in the weather ensured we got to ski plenty too – on average over 46,000 vertical meters per week [151,000 ft] and less than one down-day per week. Full monthly recap [here].
The first two weeks of March extended the snowmageddon experienced from late December through the end of February. As the days lengthened, the heliski verticals rose accordingly and we were able to spread far and wide when the second high-pressure system of the season came around in the final week of operation in mid-March. Our snowpack kept rising all the way to 550cm @ 1,200m in elevation. Bell 2 was buried and we had over 140cm of snow at sea level in Stewart. See the full March recap [here].
We would like to express a huge thank all those that visited. To those that could not travel – we look forward to sharing our world with you next season and beyond. Our 2020 heliski season came to a close far too soon. It’s a bittersweet end to an incredible season and we are thinking of everyone that has been affected by this global event. Stay safe.