Guide Training Week 2015 at Last Frontier Heliskiing
As resorts open their flood gates to the masses across British Columbia this December, the guides at Last Frontier Heliskiing are getting ready for what is looking like an awesome start to the 2015/16 season.
First off, condition updates from guide training week (December 13-18).
Temperatures: Between -10C and -12C during the day; -15C to -24C at night.
Snowpack: Average of 160cm at treeline, up to 320cm in the alpine.
Terrain: Excellent early season conditions with lots of fresh snow. Good coverage, allowing some guides to ski all the way to the valley.
Lodge: 50cm of snow at Bell 2 Lodge.
Something new for 2015/16 season – the 21st year of Last Frontier Heliskiing – are the guide uniforms. Gone are the orange shells of 2014 in favour of our brand new blue (and very fetching) Bergens of Norway jackets. The logo stands out perfectly with that colour, don’t you think?
On a more serious note, Guide Training Week isn’t just about parading around in new uniforms and skiing powder. Following a warm welcome from the lodge staff, the first day consists of a tour of the facilities, good practices at the helipad, as well as a presentation of the tenure and strategically located fuel caches.
In any outdoor guiding operation, an emergency plan is required in case anyone is injured or requires evacuation. Our guides receive the highest level of training for all sorts of emergency procedures, making sure our guests and their loved ones are well looked after.
A big part of training is familiarization with the snowpack and available rescue equipment. To that effect, the guides spend plenty of time in the field under tutelage of our forecasters assessing the snowpack stability, recording readings and noting any natural or human-triggered slides, no matter what size. Guides also run through rope rescue scenarios on top of rehearsing avalanche rescues.
Running a successful operation also requires strict procedures and effective communication. To that end, guides are introduced and rehearse daily operations with lodge staff, helicopter pilots and engineers. Lodge staff also need to keep the lines of communication open with the booking office in Vernon to make sure every guest has their needs met and exceeded, whether that’s lodging, transfer requests or dietary requirements.
And at the end of the day, it’s you, the guest, that we aim to please. Guide Training Week may involve a bit of sneaky powder skiing, but with the largest single heliski area in the world, there’s plenty of fresh tracks waiting for you.