Keeping it intimate: Why choose small heli ski lodge capacities?

July 20, 2015 Vince Shuley

If you’ve ever been to one of the longstanding backcountry refuges in the Swiss French Alps, you will likely have noticed that some of these popular accommodations along some of Europe’s oldest and classic ski traverses can house up to hundreds of people, complete with reception and restaurants. While steeped in history, these comfortable high altitude huts can sometimes feel like one is staying at the Grand Budapest Hotel.

Small Groups Are The Best Groups At Heli Ski Lodges | Photo Steve Rossett
Small groups are the best groups at heli ski lodges | Photo Steve Rosset

When on a heli ski trip in British Columbia, however, the lodge lifestyle is a lot more intimate. Here at Last Frontier we have a maximum of 35 people at our lodges at any one time, giving guests more chance to socialize with one another after a day of powder-filled heli skiing. Our heli groups are always kept small with four or five people to allow maximum vertical during the day, but at apres and dinner time the groups all congregate in the common areas of the lodge to swap stories, share experiences and make new friends.

The Dining Table Is Where All The Days Stories Are Told, And Sometimes One-Upped | Photo Dave Silver
The dining table is where all the days stories are told, and sometimes one-upped | Photo Dave Silver

The same goes for our guides, who join our guests for dinner every night. With smaller groups and smaller lodges, guests often want to learn about the day to day life of a ski guide and are always enthralled with the hilarious stories that these men and women of the mountains have collected over the course of their careers.

Making Friends Over Foozeball | Photo Rainer Langkau
Making friends over foosball | Photo Rainer Langkau

As much as we encourage guests to socialize, we also understand that some guests love coming to our remote lodges for peace and quiet after their day of heli skiing. With our Bell 2 Lodge, guests are housed in log cabins in a sort of modern heli ski village, free to explore the natural areas surrounding the lodge or kick back with a good book or magazine in front of their personal fire place.

Keeping It Cosy At Teh Bell 2 Lodge | Photo Steve Rossett
Keeping it cozy at the Bell 2 Lodge | Photo Steve Rossett

Another thing that makes our lodges so special is their location. The Bell 2 Lodge sits 220 miles (360 km) Northwest of Smithers, British Columbia along the Stewart-Cassiar Highway. The former site of a service station that fuelled up travellers en route to Alaska and the Yukon, the Bell 2 Lodge boasts the comforts of a first class hotel while retaining its rural and rustic charm. The Ripley Creek Inn services a maximum of 25 guests per week in the historic town of Stewart, BC. The Bitter Creek Cafe across the street is where nightly meals are served with eclectic cuisine and fine seafood, always a talking point among our guests.

Heli ski holidays are all about the skiing, but the memories you take home will also be of the people you meet during your stay.