Bell 2 Lodge vs. Ripley Creek

December 02, 2015 D'Arcy McLeish
Night time bliss. Bell 2 Lodge. Photo - Steve Rosset
Night time bliss.
Bell 2 Lodge.
Photo – Steve Rosset

Making the choice to book a heliski trip is a big decision. First, you have to choose an operator. But if you decide to come to Last Frontier Heliskiing, we offer another choice: Should I book my trip to Bell 2 Lodge or Ripley Creek? You see, Last Frontier Heliskiing operates out of two distinct locations in Northern British Columbia. And trust me, it’s a tough choice, almost like choosing between two winning lottery tickets. Each location has its own special vibe and character and each offers a unique experience and epic skiing.

An after ski soak at Bell 2. Bliss. Photo – Greg Foster

Bell 2 Lodge

We built Bell 2 Lodge for people who wanted to ski and ride in some of the best terrain on earth. As such, it’s a dedicated heliski facility devoted to one thing: waist deep turns and easy living. Nestled deep in the towering mountains of Northern BC, the area around Bell 2 boasts some of the deepest snowpacks in the world. Our rooms, each equipped with plush beds and soapstone fireplaces, are set in small, rustic chalets surrounding the main lodge. It’s not uncommon for the snowbanks to touch the roofs during the height of the season, but don’t worry, we’ll do all the shovelling. There’s an outdoor, covered hot tub, gym, yoga and massage spaces; all a stone’s throw from each chalet. The main lodge sits in the heart of it all. Here are the dining room, games room and my favourite, the bar. This is the spot for epic apres, where Raclette is served to guests and folks can spend their after ski time unwinding and sharing the stories of the day. Bell 2 is larger than Ripley Creek, and can accommodate up to 35 guests.

Don't worry, we'll do the shovelling. Bell 2 midwinter. Photo - Steve Rosset
Don’t worry, we’ll do the shovelling. Bell 2 midwinter.
Photo – Steve Rosset

One of the great things about Bell 2 is that you start your day right there. The helipad is just a 10 second walk from our gear room in the lodge and our operation here is self contained. The skiing at Bell 2 ranges from wide open alpine bowls and long glacier runs to beautiful tree skiing in old growth forest. The terrain here is massive, spanning across the Skeena and North Coast Mountains and offers good skiing in all but the worst weather. Bell 2 Lodge is the classic heliskier’s retreat that really caters to the experience of being in a remote, wild setting coupled with a touch of rustic elegance.

The Ripley Creek Inn. Our winter home in Stewart BC. Photo - Steve Rosset
The Ripley Creek Inn. Our winter home in Stewart BC.
Photo – Steve Rosset

Ripley Creek

Ripley Creek is the smaller of our two heliskiing lodges, with accommodation for up to 25 guests. Located in the town of Stewart, BC on the border of Southeast Alaska, Ripley Creek focuses solely on the southern part of our tenure. With the massive bulk of the Coast Mountains right on the doorstep, Ripley Creek is built for those searching for just a little more in their ski day.

Ripley Creek: Rustic accommodation with access to fabulous skiing. | Photo: Reuben Krabbe
Ripley Creek: Rustic accommodation with access to fabulous skiing. | Photo: Reuben Krabbe

Huge glaciated slopes, coupled with long tree runs in steeper terrain are what await the powder hound in you. Stewart is a wild and beautiful place with a real frontier town vibe that feels a little like it’s at the end of the world. Located at the head of the longest fjord in North America, the mountains here are breathtaking and come straight out of the ocean.

An evening stroll in Stewart BC. Photo - D'Arcy McLeish
An evening stroll in Stewart BC.
Photo – D’Arcy McLeish

For accommodation, we manage the Ripley Creek Inn during the heliski season and it offers comfortable, intimate accommodations in a country style inn. Meals are taken just across the main street at the Bitter Creek Cafe. There are even a few watering holes to visit at night for a couple of pints with the locals. For a little more excitement, Hyder, Alaska is 2km down the road and offers the chance for guests to see what life on the edge of the world is like. Bring your passport!

Ripping some pow at Ripley. Photo - Reuben Krabbe
Ripping some pow at Ripley.
Photo – Reuben Krabbe

Both of our locations are remote and off the beaten path, but we guarantee they’re both worth the trek. Bell 2 is a classic heliski lodge, where all your needs are taken care of and the week is spent with other searchers, looking for the next deep turn. Ripley Creek is a little more rustic and set in a town that is steeped in BC’s frontier history and offers guests something on the wilder side. Both locations offer epic terrain in the single largest tenure on earth. So really, the choice isn’t that hard. But if you have to experience both, Last Frontier has you covered. Our Heliski Safari offers the best of both locations and allows you to spend your trip skiing your way through the bulk of our tenure from one location to the next. So give us a call and we’ll see if one, or both, works for your trip. 

Be safe and ski hard.