What is
Unlimited
Vertical?

All heli-skiing operations will guarantee a certain amount of vertical feet/metres. At Great Canadian, we offer a generous amount of vertical (e.g. 30,500m/100,000ft for a week long trip).

More

Welcome to
the Great canadian
helisking Blog

Why Skiing makes you Happy

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

Skiers now have a valid excuse to book that epic heli-skiing holiday – it’s officially good for our health!

Researchers claim the pleasure gained from a skiing holiday is enough to improve a person’s overall happiness – even if they only get to the mountains occasionally! So now is the time to solidify that happiness in your life by booking your heli-ski vacation for next season!

Engagement is defined as the manner in which you lose yourself in an activity, and are almost oblivious of all else around you. Therefore, the skiers and boarders who get the most benefits are those who get “into the flow” meaning they focus on their skiing and forget everything else in their lives while on the slopes. So by booking now you get to enjoy the anticipation and motivation of getting in shape, and when you join us next season you reap the benefits of becoming engaged. Furthermore, it’s been proven on various occasions that adult playfulness can influence people’s happiness, while socially convening around a sporting activity such as skiing has positive psychological outcomes and contributes to overall well-being, sweet! I always knew those mountains at my doorstep were more than just a pretty sight.

Besides the mental euphoria that skiing elicits there are the obvious physical benefits attached too. You can burn upwards of 3000 calories a day skiing! There are three prominent health benefits associated with skiing and snowboarding which every person at every ability experiences:

1)    Tones your stomach muscles – who doesn’t love abs?

2)    Improves your cardiovascular system – i.e. your stamina

3)    Helps you lose weight

So in other words, if you enjoy skiing or snowboarding don’t deny yourself the “health benefits” and get out and do it! And yes, I am aware that this is simply a way to justify all those hours and paychecks spent on mountaintops, that said I’m sure you all will agree!

Pic

 

Snowboarder shredding amazing video perspective

Posted by & filed under Great Canadian Heli-Skiing, Guest Stories, Guest Videos, Heliboarding.

Prepare yourself for an Awesome snowboarding video!

What do you get when you combine an awesome snowboarding guest that has a passion for video production and chest deep powder?

The answer is a fantastic video created from a very talented shredder. Our recent guest has an amazing ability to hold a pole mounted camera very still as makes his way down through glades, burnt forests, pillows, and all types of unique BC terrain. This shout out goes to Jim, a world class snowboarder that has given us some great footage!

So what do you expect when you click the play button? Just some jaw dropping great turns with incredible faceshots! The scenery is awesome and the riding is just great!

Follow your ski dreams. Live like “Harry the dreamer.”

Posted by & filed under Great Canadian Heli-Skiing, Guest Stories.

skiing in the backcountry

 

 

 

Many of our guests are dreamers… they have answered the beckoning call of powder in hopes to ski that “perfect run,” and some even make a lifestyle out of it! Out of those whom have pursued that dream for their entire lives, there is one that stands out as a legend:

“Harry…the dreamer”

Before he had even arrived at the Heather Mountain Lodge, whispers of his name echoed through the halls.  Like an old Clint Eastwood movie where Clint was about to arrive in small village, guests and staff acted the same way as the villagers in the bar and the passed stories of “Harry,”  from one to the other.

It was fitting when he finally arrived this year, that he matched his description of a “ski bum unlike many other.” His relaxed demeanor and gregarious personality immediately draw you in and you can see why he has left a trail of great relationships with other skiers and the staff during his travels.  Now, it will come as a real shock to most, but “Harry,” is a name that was bestowed upon him by his fellow ski peers, his actual name is “Al.”

When I asked how he ended up getting named “Harry,” he went onto explain that he was named after “Harry the dreamer, from an old Greg stump ski movie about a guy who’s life is extremely boring…that left for out west to live a dream life.” This astounded me because it reminded me of many ski hero epic tales where the skier must leave all they had ever known to experience the true delights of deep snow.  So how did this all start?  And who named him this in the first place?

He told me “in the movie (Harry) is a bald headed guy that sleeps on a mattress on the floor and dreams about skiing all night long.  He eventually goes off and lives out all of his dreams after he abruptly leaves the life he is currently living.”

Al surprised me when he said that “he had named someone else in his ski group “Harry the dreamer.” Over the course of a few years,  the group started to call its members “Harry the dreamer.”   At one point in time, there was over 40 people that called themselves Harry the dreamer.   As the years passed on and the skiers slowly left the group, he was eventually bestowed the name that he had given another.  In a weird cycle of events, he had become the ski hero from that movie incarnate.  Al had left the east to go out west and become a resident of  Salt Lake city, and he has been an Alta season pass holder for 32 years.  His whole journey had started with a feature of many great stories, the catalyst that changed the course of his entire life; his fantastic wife “Sally.”  His world changed when Sally accepted Harry’s invitation to go out west in a van with him and his dog.

How does he thank her for urging him to follow his dreams which involve skiing our great tenure?  He always sends home great photos based on the theme of “When Harry met Sally.” This year “Cathy, ” one of our great helicopter pilots from Coldstream Helicopters, took some skiis and with the help of the guides, made them into swords.  The theme this year involved “Sally” being one sword and “Hairy” being the other.”    The swords made their way to the top of the mountain and made for an epic photo shoot.   They were also used to saber some delicious champagne to celebrate!

When asked for words of wisdom…. “Harry” simply replied: “Stay focused on what you want and you will get it.”

Why does Harry come here? “The whole package, the culture and because it is on one hand very professional and on the other hand very personal.”

Thank you Harry!

 

Pirates on a ski day

Helicopter video perspective of heli skiing

Posted by & filed under Great Canadian Heli-Skiing, Guest Videos, Heliskiing.

 

Sometimes, when everything just comes together, magic happens… Or it did the day that this video was taken from a helicopter looking downwards at some UK skiers as they journey down a run called “Miss Intensity.”

We are tremendously fortunate to have great helicopter pilots that work with us through Coldstream helicopters.  Their flying skills get our guests and guides to their locations safely all across our large tenure just outside of Golden BC.  On this day in particular, we had perfect skies and great skiing, and “Mike,” the pilot, decided to follow along and take some video footage from his aircraft.  The video and the photos created from it are outstanding, and we urge for you to share it with your friends and family via your social networks so they understand why you choose to ski with us!

Great Canadian Heli-Skiing Run – Miss Intensity – Shot from the Helicopter

Why a VIP guest visits years in a row.

Posted by & filed under Great Canadian Heli-Skiing, Guest Stories, Guest Testimonials.

Flying in, let's do it again

“Let’s do it again!”

That is the sentiment that drives many of our guests to return to our operation year after year.

It made me wonder if there was something that triggered that thought, an underlying experience that created the motivation to sign up for a heliskiing trip for the next season a year in advance.

I found my answer when I was interviewing one of our guests recently and it came with a wonderful story that blew my mind.  Jeff came in from his third day of skiing with the same look on his face that you see when a guy  just drove a sports car really fast for the first time; it was a look of shear excitement.  This successful businessman that is turning 50 soon told me “I just hit the biggest air I have ever done…off of the run 40 watt at the very top…I jumped two pillows at the same time.”  Jeff was overjoyed with his bluebird day in the mountains, and this was his just a part of his yearly tradition.  I wondered if maybe he had a favorite run, and he responded that “there was too many to count, Hunter with huge pillows, Long chute after lunch, Bodacious and deep powder….We hammered all of it.”  He mentioned that it had to do with the great alpine entry’s and the fact that “its all good whether knee high or chest deep snow.”  He volunteered that he chose to ski with us because of our guides and the fact that “you feel safe and they will let you go as hard as you possibly can.” Obviously in his case, his whole group went really hard that day and they all pushed themselves to greater heights of powder self mastery.

Then Jeff told about the experience that had changed his life in regards to powder skiing.  His eyes darted off to the side as he accessed the beautiful memories and he smiled with a sheepish grin.  He told that it all started 4 years prior.  He had joined another group and they went up in the helicopter after a large snowstorm that left 45cm. It was a super cold day and the snow was very dry and light.  As they headed down the mountain, about halfway down their guide Syl, started to laugh hysterically, pulled her goggles unto her toque and stopped rather abruptly.  The rest of the group stopped by her side and they asked her why she was laughing so hard.

Her answer said it all: “I don’t know what you have done in your lives gentlemen, but this is one of those days that you will remember for the rest of your lives.” That was the moment that Jeff said he got hooked. He said “The guide was laughing, that it how you know that you have a great day ahead of you.”  He said that a moment like that in these mountains compares to ” skiers herion,” and once that had happened, he was hooked.

In his final words Jeff simply said “a moment like that is off the chart.”  I suppose knowing that those moments are possible is a good reason for guests to take advantage of our incentive plan.  If your curious about it…Just give us a call.

To Jeff…and all the others like Jeff  that have experienced a similar moment.  We will see you next year!

Looking at BC ski terrain

 

 

 

 

Women heli skiing? of course!

Posted by & filed under Guest Stories, Guest Testimonials, Heliskiing.

 

oman in front of ski mountain

 

“Chicks ruled today, there was a female guide, a female pilot, and me…a female guest.”

The quote above is from Heather, who recently told me as she walked in from what she explained was an “outrageously great ski day of fresh pow!”  Heather is a rare breed of woman in an almost completely male dominated sport of helicopter skiing.  It seems that many women make their way out to the resorts and cat skiing but when it comes to signing up for helicopter skiing, there are but a select few that will choose to join in on a heli adventure.

Heather figures that it has something to do with fears of large mountains or helicopters. In her words “the thought of backcountry skiing to some women may appear daunting, but you really do limit the risks involved when you have a great guide.”  We cannot agree more with her about having a great guide.  The guide is there to help you through the entire process of entering and exiting the helicopter and throughout the entire big mountain experience.

When asked candidly about what she thinks about few women coming out to go heli skiing, Heather responded:

“Living in Vail Colorado, there are plenty of go0d, strong, capable women skiers that could ski comfortably on this terrain.  I mean, you see a lot of them skiing at resorts, but it surprises me that you don’t see more coming out heli skiing.  They should, they don’t know what they are missing!”

Heather went on to describe her first helicopter skiing experience.

“On my first heli ski experience there was an extra space that needed filling in the helicopter and I jumped at the opportunity. I was hooked, before the trip was over I had already put a deposit down for the next year! That was 4 years ago and I have been coming ever since.”

Heather  has no doubts when choosing our services at Great Canadian Heli Skiing year after year.  She knows that she can depend on our guides to take her through some great terrain that will push her limits, but they will keep her safe in the process.  She trusts our pilots with the safety of the helicopters and their judgement of flying conditions.  She also trusts our kitchen to prepare great food so that she has plenty of energy for all of the great skiing that she puts in daily.

I guess, when it comes down to it… Maybe our entire industry needs to appeal to that need for trust and safety while giving outlandishly great ski experiences through backcountry terrain.

 

Woman Heli Skiing BC

 

Why skiing here may be better then skiing in Alaska

Posted by & filed under Great Canadian Heli-Skiing, Guest Stories, Guest Testimonials, Heliskiing.

better then alaskan skiing

 

A guest explains why he prefers skiing with us instead of skiing in Alaska

 

It is all about convenience he explained to me as we chatted over apres ski drinks.  He relayed the story as such “I flew all the way to Alaska to experience great skiing, but what I mostly experienced was waiting.  It started when we landed at the airport and we had to get our rental vehicle to drive to where we would be staying.  The drive was fairly long along the highway, but we also had to drive up a long narrow driveway until we reached where we would be staying.  In the morning we drove even further from the lodge they had until we reached a snowcat that would drive us to our helicopter that was situated away from the trees because it was a larger model that could not land near where we stayed.  We stayed in a smaller building near the helicopter dressed in full gear waiting for good weather for takeoff.  Sadly, we spent 5 days out of 7 waiting for decent flying conditions that would allow for us to go skiing.  This means that we only spent 2 days skiing after all of that effort.  To make matters worse, when the helicopter did take us out, 16 people scrambled out of it to take a similar route down the mountains.  It was as if we didn’t really get fresh tracks at all.”

 

He told me that he had given up on the entire experience until he  spoke to Deane in the booking department at Great Canadian Heli Skiing.  She told me “that there is usually about 2 down days a season,” which absolutely floored me he said.

He arrived in Calgary and drove along the highway fairly quickly until he reached our Lodge near Rogers Pass.  He was surprised to “just drive in and be greeted by the lodge with its warmth and pleasant staff.”  He had a large dinner and stayed up and spoke to other guests that evening.  The next day, after a heli briefing and transceiver training, he was up in the helicopter.  It was a completely different experience then he had prepared himself for.  There was very little waiting, his feet stayed warm and  he enjoyed non stop skiing for 7 days. The level of excitement that he had always expected from helicopter skiing was maintained throughout.  The rest was history.

He has returned ever since…

 

 

 

Why flexible scheduling is great when planning a heliskiing vacation

Posted by & filed under Great Canadian Heli-Skiing, Guest Testimonials, Heliskiing.

 

Balance schedule heli skiing

 

Care free Heli Skiing is all about balance.

Many of our guests have very busy lives, whether it be running a large organization, managing a busy business or balancing a life of work and family.  I have heard on many occasions that “life is a balancing act,” where priorities are weighed and measured and important matters are dealt with first.

So how does one get to balance all of that work with a bit of play? Of course when I say play, I really mean helicopter skiing in the BC Selkirk mountain range!

It all comes down to flexibility in scheduling and in our case at Great Canadian Heli Skiing, it is all about offering ski start days that accommodate our guests hurried lives.    In an industry that typically offers week long ski vacations with set start and stop days, Great Canadian Heli Skiing stands out in the crowd.  We offer flexible packages that suit our guests needs because we know that by accommodating their work and family lives, they will be able to spend quality time on the mountains worry free.   Our guests can choose from a 2 to 6 day package and some have been known to stay even longer, but the most important fact is that they can choose a time period that fits their schedule.  We have a great success record of being able to get someone on the mountain on the day of their preference.

Just take a look at what our guests think:

I chose Great Canadian Skiing because it is so flexible for my schedule and easy to get to. When I fly in from Japan, I want to get onto the slopes as soon as possible and that happens here.
-   H. Y. Japan

I was able to ski 1 day and 1 day off. I asked for a flexible package that would allow my body to recover between skiing periods. Great Canadian Heli Skiing provided me with the opportunity to ski a day and then rest in my great room for a day.” S. K. -  Canada

Wunderbar! I have skied my whole life and I have never seen this. Deane organized everything for me, we went Catskiing, then Kicking Horse, then Heli skiing….Thank you Deane!” -M. S. Germany

 

Good time to heli ski

 

A guest perspective on why smaller groups are better.

Posted by & filed under Guest Stories, Guest Testimonials, Heliskiing.

small group heliskiing

 

I have been coming here for years because I love small groups. ” – Steve K.

Have you ever wondered what truly sets apart the smaller boutique heli skiing providers like ourselves from the other guys that use the larger helicopters? 

We decided to ask our guests over a 2 week time period to find out the answer.  We figured that the answer was going to simply be about our personalized boutique experience or the ability to ski more vertical feet in a day.  Nothing could have prepared us for the variety of answers that we received.  We have listed them below for you to get an idea of why our guests have chosen to ski with us season after season.

 

  • You get to know the skiers in your group and you develop strong relationships with them while skiing down some great slopes.
  • When you sit in the back of the helicopter, you can see out of most of the windows which is a great experience in itself.
  • You can quickly get in and out of the helicopter which means that you will be warmer between runs.
  • The helicopters are smaller and more nimble and they can set down in secluded landings.
  • When it comes to the apres skiing and dinners, it feels like you are spending time with your closest ski buddies.
  • With less people coming down the hill, you can easily find a place to set down some fresh powder tracks.
  • You end up getting to know the guides quite well and they give you more feedback about your skiing.
  • The servers and the kitchen get to know your preferences and they will try to accommodate you in a personalized fashion.

As you can see, there are many reasons to choose our services when it comes to the benefits of small group sizes.  If you and your group are  looking for great skiing in some of the best ski conditions and mountains on the planet, then consider us first.  This is a great place to take your family, friends and business associates because they will get the attention that they deserve.

 

Spouse sends husband heliskiing. A story of love.

Posted by & filed under Guest Stories, Heliskiing.

 

Helicopter view of heliskiing

 

There are so many different ways to show your love and gifts are not a requirement, but when they are given, we can all hope they leave this deep an impact on the one that is to receive them.

I met Paul early in the Heather Mountain Lodge dining room before most of the servers had arrived for their shifts.  It was clear to me that he was a man that was used to getting up early and making the best out of each day.  As I poured him a morning coffee, Paul started to share with me the story of how he ended up becoming one of our guests.   Paul told me that the only reason that he was able to experience his first heli skiing trip was with his wife’s  blessings and the gift he received from her and his mother  at Christmas.

Now he didn’t quite say it because he is a humble man, but it was clear that Paul is a tremendously supportive husband to his wife.  He spoke about  long hours away from her in the oil fields in order to make their home and their life together more comfortable.  He went on to say that “his wife owns a candy store and has quite an entrepreneurial drive,” and that at the end of the day they retreat back to their small farm they had bought in order to spend quality time together.

Paul is familiar with big mountain skiing, but he usually ends up touring and spending most of the day climbing as opposed to skiiing down through glades and bowls.  His reasoning is very practical and sentimental; he is the type of guy that puts his family first and he would typically choose a trip for 2 to somewhere warm before living out his own dream of heliskiing.

This year was different though…

His wife Liana had been taking a keen interest in the videos that Paul had been watching on Youtube.  She had seen that he kept bookmarking the footage that our guests had given us to put up on our social networks. She could tell that the footage was raw and that it was not professionally edited in order to look like great experiences.  The videos she caught over his shoulder where of previous guests that had huge smiles from skiing in our tenure with our guides and she wanted Paul to have the same experience.  She knew that he would never give himself a ski trip like he was watching online, so she contacted our sales department and took the matter into her own hands.

Christmas arrived, and beneath the tree stood 5 gifts of varying dimensions, Heliskiing Santa had visited. When Paul told me about this there was a real excitement in his voice, as if he was re-experiencing the sensations associated with that morning. They had all been gifts from his wife in regards to Great Canadian Heli Skiing.  The first gift was a tee shirt which he tried on and showed off quite proudly. Then came a toque that he put onto his head and he reveled in the images of helicopters across the front.  They proceeded to get bigger and he found a fleece sweater that looked great with the toque.

Finally, the last gift remained… When he opened it, he grinned from cheek to cheek and that sense of elation when something you really wanted finally came true went through him.  His wife had given him a gift that he could have never expected in his wildest dreams.  She had put her trust in our guides and our services, and she had given him a push towards his dream of heliskiing.  His wife had given him a heliskiing vacation to some of the best slopes and snow in the world.

When it comes to powder skiing…Don’t we all just love a happy ending?

Skiing the backcountry BC