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Heli-skiing: A day in the life

Each morning, at 7:30, the quiet of the fresh powder falling outside accompanies the smell of hot coffee and ham omelettes to power-up for the day. Through dim chatter, the group awakens to the adventure unfolding before them as the lead-guide explains weather conditions and the specific destination of each expedition group.

Heli Pick-Up at Last Frontier Heliskiing, Photo by: Dave Silver

The heli-ski guides do a thorough equipment check, ensuring that skis, bindings and safety gear are all in order before lift-off. Commonly, the day before your holiday begins, guides will assist you in fitting your skis and confirm you have all the necessary equipment; everyone will also be instructed in basic avalanche beacon use before they are briefed on the next day’s events.

The excitement increases and pounding heartbeats mix with the thundering blades of the helicopter arriving outside. The chopper dimly appears as the whirling snow begins to settle, and the excitement is almost too much to handle: you are headed into untracked wilderness. The birds are loaded with gear and groups – small, intimate bands of skiers, ensuring a guide/guest ratio of 1:5. The small group size allows more flexibility, more virgin snow and more time to ski. Heartbeats now pound from the throat as the helis take-off straight up and turn, soaring over the peaks of northern British Columbia, and landing on a knife-blade.

Once the helis depart, the 360-degree view of the peaks is breathtaking, and now it’s time to descend into waist deep fresh powder, to take in a 6,000 vertical foot monster run! Lucky for you that Last Frontier also happens to have the most heli-skiing terrain on the planet, with runs ranging from wide-open bowls to technical tree skiing. Before decent, the guide gives specific instructions as to where the group is to follow. Safety is always on his mind, which as a skier, gives you the peace of mind and freedom to fully take in the experience.

Picnics are organized by the guides along the snowy peaks and valleys of the Canadian Rockies – there couldn’t be a better backdrop for a midday meal. More skiing in the afternoon thanks to a Vertical Drop Guarantee (ensuring you get the best value for your heli-skiing investment) before making your way back to the lodge for an evening debriefing.

The guides give out technical instruction as well as one-to-one lessons in order to improve your skiing and increase the amount of satisfaction you get the following day. Gear gets tuned and waxed before the next day’s expedition, and you get stuck into an evening of camaraderie in the bar. Dinner will be served in the lodge or at the nearby Bitter Creek Café, depending on where you make your booking. Time then to reminisce over the day’s activities around the fire, maybe over a glass of malt scotch as the moon rises high in the clear night sky. And then you retire to your rooms, to do it all over again in the morning!

Related Articles: Skis used for Heli-SkiingWeather’s Impact on Heli-SkiingDifferent Heli-Ski Lodges in BC.

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