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Season Roundup with Rob

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For Great Canadian Heli-Skiing lead guide Rob Dalinghaus, the season ran like clockwork.

Well, almost…

“I did leave my skis in the basket one day” he said.  But who can blame him? Our guides are some of the hardest working alpine professionals in the world.  They are hustling around the lodge hours before the first heli takes off and work well into the night making sure the next day runs perfectly.  As the lead guide, Rob literally has a birds eye view on day to day operations,  so who better to ask about what made this season so fantastic?  But first we find out more about those missing skis!

How did you find yourself out in the field with a group, but no skis?!

Well, it was a combination of distractions.  We added a group to training and I went somewhere far away.  We were picking up weather stations and landing stakes.  I looked in and thought the basket was empty.  And in the interest of making it all work you want to do these things efficiently. You think you are doing things efficiently until you realize… I royally screwed up on this one!  So the guests that day were saying “Well, we’re good to go! See you at the bottom!”  And I just had to stand there knowing my skis are going to be back with the heli in 2 minutes, and I just have to live with the embarrassment. 

Dude, where's my skis?

Dude, where’s my skis?

What made this season special?

We were able to offer the “full package” of tree skiing, tree line skiing and alpine skiing. That was amazing for sure.  It felt really good!

What were some highlights for you as lead guide?

It was a massive team effort. We had some new people lead guiding. Once they got their feet wet you could tell that they were going to be fine.  For me thats kind of a relief because you’re constantly “on” when you’re lead guiding.  You do everything from putting together the groups in the morning, the guides meeting, going out skiing, guiding for yourself, guiding for the other groups and for the new guides, air traffic control, so it was nice to hand that off at times.  That made it a little easier to keep it going.  I think last year I worked a little too much so it was wonderful to have that help. 

Rob explains the ins and outs of heli safety.

Rob explains the ins and outs of heli safety.

Did you have a #bestdayever this season?

I know I did. I know it was a powder skiing day.  The conditions were great. I have it in my notebook somewhere because we write down not only the runs but also the morning conditions and stuff we see.  That day got a special note.

What makes a perfect ski day for you?

When it rolls out without a lot of banter on the radio.  You’re just skiing, just riding, however you get down the mountain, and it just clicks. We go out there and we get some wicked runs and amazing powder.  And a wicked lunch too! We get back to the lodge and you can feel the energy.  At the après-ski, in the room everyone is just stoked, like “Wow! That was sweet don’t you think?!”

Where will you be during the off season?

I work year round and in the off season we are still busy. Summer is basically reporting our activities to the government.  We put a snapshot of how the season went and where we skied.  I always look at which run was ” winner” as in which one did we visit most.  I’m not sure which one that is yet but previous winners have been runs like Eat Your Wheaties, Rocky and Smoke.  

 

Thanks Rob!  See you (and Sue) next season!

Rob with his better half and fellow guide, Super Sue!

Rob with his better half and fellow guide, Super Sue!

 

The Goods… and we’re not talking about the Powder

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Great Canadian Heli-Skiing offers some of the best terrain and snow, great guides, and superb helicopter pilots. Pair that with unlimited vertical and small groups of four, and you’ve got a recipe for a perfect heli-skiing vacation… or do you?

Realistically, you’ll only be spending 6-8 hours a day in the deep white powder, another 8 sleeping… so that leaves 8 full hours to be entertained.

A typical day at Great Canadian Heli-Skiing includes a morning guided stretching class before breakfast to prepare your body for the day… and help it recover from the day prior. Most of our guests make the most of the stretching class so they can make the most of their ski day.

Gotta fuel up for a day that starts like this!

Gotta fuel up for a day that starts like this!

Breakfast is always a decadent affair to fuel the bodies and minds for a day in the snow. Our pastry chef is second to none and a smorgasbord of fresh and healthy food is available for every appetite and diet. Perhaps the best part of breakfast, especially in the early winter, is watching the sun illuminate the mountains on a clear day.

What a sight to wake up to!

What a sight to wake up to!

Once you head out for your day of fun, the lodge staff is hard at work cleaning and preparing for your return. The boot room becomes the perfect après ski story-sharing zone as we play videos and photos from your previous days on the big screen TV. Drinks and snacks round out the scene.

Chef Stefano Leone's apres platters are a work of art.

Chef Stefano Leone’s apres platters are a work of art.

From there, Great Canadian Heli-Skiing guests enjoy massage, have a sauna, take some quiet time, and otherwise prepare for the evening feast. Dinner in the lodge is a grand affair, especially with the large windows revealing perfect views of the mountain sunsets. Our award-winning chef prepares specialities of wild game and locally raised or foraged foods.

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Our cozy sauna in a blanket of white.

After dinner the Wooly Toque lounge is the social occasion of choice. The Wooly Toque has a fine selection of scotch, a pool table and comfortable chairs and tables for recounting the day’s exploits.

Structural engineering games round out the perfect day.

Structural engineering games round out the perfect day.

Great Canadian Heli-Skiing is a boutique Heli-Skiing operation located next to Rogers Pass, Revelstoke and Golden, in British Columbia, Canada. Offering flexible packages, unlimited vertical and small groups of 4, Great Canadian Heli-Skiing is an ideal winter vacation destination for visitors looking for an epic powder experience.

How to store your winter gear. Our do’s and don’t’s.

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Long gone are the late autumn days when our skis and shell jackets got our utmost attention.  Exposing your ski gear to sunlight after 8 months in the darker corners of the garage and the countless hours spent at stores deciding wether you should shield yourself from the elements with gore-tex or gore-tex pro, or gore-tex ultra ultra pro. Let’s face it – winter was epic and we’re still stoked thinking about all the memories it gave us, but it’s springtime, so dry those tears and if you must pack away your ski gear, you darn well better do it properly!

Here are some of the tips and tricks for storing your winter gear so you’ll be up and ready in no time once it’s dumping again!

 

Skis / Snowboard

  1. Get the base clean – a garden hose and towel will take care of the salt, dirt, grime. Let it dry.
  2. Sharpen the edges to avoid the chances of rust.
  3. Fix all the equipment issues while they’re still fresh in your mind. Fine tune your gear.
  4. Wax on (but not off!) Make sure your ski/board is dry or the wax will lock the moisture in. Wax the bases – you’ll want to hot wax the bases with an all-temperature or a softer warm-weather wax to protect them from oxidation. Be generous with the wax and be sure to cover the edges, which will help keep rust away. Leave the wax on as it is – do not scrape it off!
  5. Strap the skis together, base-to-base, and place them away from sunlight, extreme temperatures drops and humid areas. A neutral position with no pressure on either camber or rocker is best. Do not strap your poles with the skis.
  6. Do not relax binding springs.
  7. Come winter, scrape the wax and off you go!

Boots

Clean them as well as the boot bag. Pull the liners out and make sure everything is completely dry, then do up all the buckles as if it’s on your foot for the whole summer. Check the heels and toes of your boots for wear while you’re at it, and replace if necessary. This is a great time to inspect your snowboard boot laces and replace them if they’re worn, too. Crumble some newspaper into the boots and store them in a cool, dry place.

Goggles

Take em off of your helmet, air dry.  Well that was easy!

 

 

Smart Washing

The best way to destroy your waterproof jacket or pants is by not washing them and letting bacteria feast on sweat, grime, beer, hot sauce and that sip of Jägermeister you missed on shot skis. The second best way to destroy it – wash it with regular detergent and fabric softeners and it will take the magic
away. Do not bleach, do not use stain remover. Instead, look towards NIKWAX Tech Wash (or other similar liquid detergents), machine wash with warm water and then – tumble dry it on a warm, gentle cycle. Once it’s dry, tumble dry your garment to reactivate the durable water-repellent treatment on the outer fabric. Lastly, put a $10 bill in your pocket for a nice surprise!

Gloves

Hand wash your gloves in lukewarm water with little aforementioned detergent. Do not use fabric softener. After washing, gently squeeze them from finger to wrist to remove any excess water. When you dry your gloves you should position them so that the wrist opening points downwards. Do not place them in direct sunlight or on a heater to dry. Dry leather gloves at room temperature. Shell gloves can be tumble dried at a low heat setting.

That’s it! Your future you will buy you a nice cold one for this.

March Goggle Tans… #bestlookever

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Spring time may be fast approaching but in our backyard, the season is far from over.  Getting a heli fix in March will give you more than just an impressive goggle tan, you will still see those #bestdayever conditions that we are known for.  

“That day was off the charts!” was how guest Craig described it when he stepped off the heli on March 11th.  He and longtime friend David have been heli skiing for the last four years, this being their second time with Great Canadian. They had no complaints about the conditions they saw during their trip, “We couldn’t have seen any more winter than what we saw yesterday, any time any month. The snow was knee deep to thigh deep.”

David and Craig enjoyed their outdoor apres after another #bestdayever.

David and Craig enjoyed their outdoor apres after another #bestdayever.

When they weren’t thigh deep in the powder, they had just as much fun on the clear bluebird days. Thanks to small groups and the best guides in the business, David explained how these factors truly make a difference. “This is the maximum experience.  We’ve been to other places but the skiing here in the last few days has been phenomenal.  Our guide has honestly been the best, most fun guide we’ve ever had. When there’s different people of different abilities and fitness, we really see that they are very intent on making certain that we have a great experience.”

There you have it.  When the top level service from Great Canadian Heli-Skiing meets fantastic March conditions, you can get the trip of a lifetime on an annual basis.  That’s why David had to add, “We’re going to be making our reservations for next year!”  

 

Welcome Stefano!

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Chef Stefano Leone

We are very excited to welcome new Executive Chef Stefano Leone to the Great Canadian Heli-Skiing Team. As a global chef with over 25 years of fine dining experience on 5 continents, Stefano brings with him a wealth of knowledge, a fierce passion for food and a whole new level of dining experience.  Since arriving in late February, Stefano has already wowed us with beautiful après-ski spreads that are as much a feast for the eyes as they are for the appetite. We took some time to ask him more about himself and his cuisine.  Bon Appetit!

 

What brought you to Golden and Great Canadian Heli-Skiing?

Well, I’ve worked in five continents around the world which includes big 5 star hotels and large structured organizations.  I’m here perhaps just to go back to combining my career with the lifestyle here. My first trade when I was young was a ski racer.  And then I did some certifications for coaching while I worked in Switzerland for Club Med.  I would teach during the day and run the kitchen at night.  I would like to come back to that and combine a lodge lifestyle with nature. I love nature and I love to hike.

You are known for bringing a “farm to table” concept into your cuisine.  Can you explain that?

I was president of the Slow Food Movement in Whislter/Blackcomb, back in 2000.  This is the place where you have to be a part of the slow food movement.  It’s about following the seasons, the organic products.  In Whistler we would work with the Pemberton Farms for nice baby vegetables, from Salt Spring Island we brought in lamb and goat cheeses.  This is farm to table.  Supporting the local farmers and putting their names on our menus.  We need to work with those farmers and go with the season. This is the place to do that. Yes, it’s heli-skiing but I think just like any destination resort, people travel and what makes the business is not just to heli-ski but the whole concept of the experience.  

How does your lifestyle reflect your cuisine?

To be surrounded by good food and wine. Celebrating life all the time. Travel and continuously discovering new cultures, and of course [there] is always something new, never stop learning. To entertain a guest is to make yourself responsible for his happiness so long as he is beneath your roof. The great trumpet player Louis Armstrong once said of musicians “What we play is life”. Through a dinning experience, people will connect and share and exchange and support and heal and do all the things that people crave. They reaffirm that life is worth living. I love to be part of it.

You have worked all over the world, how do you plan to use your experience here at Great Canadian Heli-Skiing?

I’m still very passionate about my cuisine and what I do.  Throughout the years, my experience from all over the world made me more of a complete chef.  A chef has to travel to understand the traditions and culture of each country.  Then you become more open minded and understanding. The more you know about the culture and the history, the better chef you are and you understand the roots.  It’s like a house, if you don’t have a strong foundation your roof will fall in.  

Guests are loving Chef Stefano's cuisine.

Guests are loving Chef Stefano’s cuisine.

Stefano shows sous chef Taylor the art of effortless plating.

Stefano shows sous chef Taylor the art of effortless plating.

Chef Stefano Leone's apres platters are a work of art.

Chef Stefano Leone’s après-ski platters are a work of art.

Chef Stefano and Bartender Shawn explain the dinner line up.

Chef Stefano and Bartender Shawn explain the dinner line up.

An beautiful appetizer.

A beautiful appetizer.