Powder Alert – January 2020 Heliski Report

January 28, 2020 Steve Rosset

January is a special month for heli skiing in British Columbia. Temps are colder, the snow is deep and the sun is low on the horizon. It’s easy to appreciate Bell 2 Lodge’s frozen landscape as you settle down in the comforts of your own log cabin with a crackling fire. So without further ado, let’s look at our January heliski conditions.

Highest Snowpack since 2012

Since we checked in with you at the end of December, we’ve received over 309cm [121 inches] of fresh snow at Bell 2 Lodge. Our snowbase now ranges from 290 to 300cm at only 1,000m in elevation. That’s 114 to 118 inches at 3,300ft in elevation for our American friends. Our January snowbase is the highest it’s been since 2012. So what does this mean for you? A high snowbase allows for generous terrain coverage, making tree skiing more enjoyable at lower elevations. We’ve been skiing down into valley bottoms since December.

January conditions started off snowy, with temperatures averaging an ideal -8 degrees Celcius. A big storm system pushed us down into the trees. Later in the first week, we were rewarded with clear skies to explore the nearby Owl Creek drainage. As we ventured into the second week, temps maintained around minus 10 to minus 13 degrees Celcius and we received over 50cm of storm snow. This made for some of the best skiing this season with excellent to awesome conditions reported in both the alpine and trees. We skied over 34,700 vertical meters in 5 days [114,000 vertical feet].

2nd Annual String Cheese Heliski & Music Week Kicks Off

As we moved into Week 4, an arctic air mass set in for a few days with icy cold temps. This also marked our second annual String Cheese Live Music Week. We filled the lodge to the brim with friends and family of the band to celebrate all things music and skiing. It’s one of those easy-going weeks where everyone is here for a good time. Costumes mandatory! If you’re curious about this new concept, please enquire about our 2021 #heligrass week [here].

Following the String Cheese music week, another large coastal system moved in from the Pacific. This time a mass of warmer air resulted in two days of unfavorable weather for flying. We quickly jumped in the choppers once the weather cleared and have been rewarded with amazing conditions in the sub-alpine and the trees. On Monday, January 27th our groups managed to ski over 9,550 vertical meters [31,300 feet]. A tidy sum for January. More details in our weekly ski summaries.

Looking ahead, temperatures look favorable for the rest of the week [-3 to -10 C]. Some breaks in the weather should allow us to climb higher into the Alpine areas by the weekend. Should you have the unexpected desire to join us for a tour this winter, please get in touch about limited remaining availability. Plus, also consider booking for 2021.

As a parting note, we look forward to the 2020 season start of our Ripley Creek base on February 1 in Stewart. Stay tuned for updates on that front.

Over and out.


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