Mid-December Conditions Report & Guide Training

December 18, 2019 Steve Rosset

If you’ve been following along over the past few months, you’ll already know about the phenomenal early season conditions we’ve been having. If not you can catch up here and here. Fall quickly turned to Winter in late September and it’s been snowing ever since. After a brief relief in early December, another large storm system has brought in excess of 60cm to the mountains around Bell 2 Lodge. The temperatures have dropped nicely and we received well over 40cm just at the lodge. It looks like proper Canadian winter out there.

Our guide team arrived on December 15th for their annual week of guide training and operations setup. This is a critical time of the year for the guide team to work together conducting mock rescue exercises, discussing the latest safety techniques and honing their mountaineering skills. Rope techniques, crevasse rescue, helicopter evacuation procedures, snow safety and first aid are put to the test. New members of the team are mentored by the many veteran guides.

On December 13th Cliff (Director of Operations) took advantage of clear skies to install one of our radio repeaters in the Owl Creek Drainage. He got in just in time as a large storm system rolled in a few days later. A team of guides went for a subsequent snow check on December 17th. Reports came back of overhead powder and the all-time best early season conditions according to legend Franz Fux. Franz is not known to boast. Given the stormy conditions, they had to keep their skiing in the trees. Our runs close to Bell 2 Lodge are skiing all the way into valley bottoms.

Setting up for a heliski season takes a lot of work and organization. To get things ready for our first guests, radio communications gear is installed in the lodge and up on ridge tops. New skis need mounting and the safety gear is thoroughly inspected. Our heli provider, Access Helicopters, has been busy running through training exercises with the pilots that are new to the area. They also have a team of veterans that know our tenure intimately. Fuel systems need to be deployed and helicopters maintained. On the lodge end of things, the kitchen needs to be re-organized and the entire lodge thoroughly cleaned. Not to mention all the snow that needs clearing.

Return guests will notice plenty of familiar faces around the lodge and up on the mountains. Is this continuity that allows us to provide a welcoming and personalized experience. We can’t wait to get skiing with our first guests on December 28th. Stay tuned for more updates. Oh and if you want to take advantage of these stellar conditions, click here.

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