“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.
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…
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
“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.
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?