AMAZING HELI-SKIING TERRAIN & POWDER
Terrain For All Tastes: Steeps, Alpine Bowls, Trees, Mushrooms, Natural Halfpipes…
The interior ranges of British Columbia – the Selkirk (Rogers Pass) and Purcell mountains – are possibly the most famous heli skiing mountain ranges in the world. As the birthplace of helicopter skiing, they offer phenomenal amounts of light, dry powder snow, good flying conditions, tens of thousands of square kilometers of wilderness and ideal skiing weather. Great Canadian Heli-Skiing is fortunate to have exclusive licence to vast terrain in not just 1 mountain range, but 2! We operate in both the Selkirk and Purcell mountain ranges, along the north and east borders of Glacier National Park and just west of the Banff National Park and the Canadian Rockies. The area we have access to is 14 times larger than Whistler-Blackcomb put together, or on a European scale, bigger than the whole of Les Trois Vallées ski domain!
Most of our runs average in length from 1,500-2,500 vertical feet (460 to 760m). Our longest run is 6,232ft (1,900m)!! Usually, we ski at an altitude between 9,000 and 5,500ft (3,000 and 1,833m) with our highest peak reaching 10,100ft (3,078m).There are hundreds of heli ski runs, offering every type of terrain – glaciers, open bowls, gladed trees – and every slope angle and exposure. Great Canadian stands out in the industry because of the quality and the accessibility of our terrain above our base at Heather Mountain Lodge (our heli-pads are at the lodge and the closest runs are just 60 seconds away!). This accounts for minimal days a year when we are unable to ski due to adverse flying conditions. Historically we average only 2 “down days” during the whole winter!
Deep, light, fluffy powder snow and all untracked just waiting for you to make your mark…that’s why you want to go heliskiing! Great Canadian is blessed with a whopping 46ft/550 inches (1,400cm) of “cold smoke” every winter! That’s a lot in anyone’s book. The “Wet coast” can get more, however, the snow that falls there is much wetter and denser. Because of this, down days are more frequent and you do not often get the deep sinking-in-the-snow feeling you experience when you ski/ride in our super light and fluffy snow.
For those aggressive, expert heli-skiers out there, we have some great challenging runs. Due to the large quantity and dryness of our snow, we are unable to ski the same degree pitches they do in Alaska, however we still have some runs to test you! The best time to experience our steeper terrain is in December to early February when it is snowing heavily and we are skiing in our glades and beautiful burnt forests. This terrain is also perfect for those skiers and riders that like to jump off of stuff. There are plenty of covered logs, rocks and small cliffs to play off of in this type of terrain.
Some of our favourite steeps: Bridge Too Far, Miller Time, Blonde Ambition, High Adventure, McTight
Open Alpine Bowls
“Alpine Bowls” are bowl shaped terrain features caused by glaciation. Most of the bowls we ski are in “the alpine”, meaning the area above tree-line. The helicopters will usually land on a ridge line which is at the top of the bowl. Then it’s a nice, steeper pitch that leads to a wide open run, often on a glacier (see below). We usually ski the bowls when it is a sunny day, especially from February onwards.
Some of our favourite alpine bowls: Eat Your Wheaties, Cheap Scotch
According to Wikipedia, a glacier is a “large persistent body of ice”. Don’t worry, you won’t be skiing on ice, rather, you will be skiing the nice, soft snow on top. Glaciers often offer wide open runs…so if you are timid in the trees, this is your kind of terrain! The slope angle is gentler and the skiing more “cruisy”. When we ski this type of terrain guests can rack up huge vertical. If you are interested in predominately skiing glaciers, join us in late February to early April.
Some of our favourite glaciers lines: Nordic, Twilight, Cherub, Perfect Glacier (name says it all doesn’t it?)
Ahhh glades….one of our best terrain attributes! Glades are areas of trees that are openly spaced so skiing through them is much easier than regular tree skiing. The snow conditions are often the best in the trees as the snow has more protection from the wind and sun than an exposed slope. We ski our wonderful gladed terrain from the start of the season until later in the season when it begins warming up (then we stick to the higher elevations above treeline).
Some of our favourite glades lines: Burn, 40 Watts, Hunter, Short and Sweet etc…there’s lots!
Mushrooms and Pillows
Expert skiers will LOVE our mushrooms and pillow lines! We have a multitude of mushrooms and a plethora of pillows for your enjoyment. Pillows and mushrooms are tall stacks of snow that have accumulated on an object such as a rock or tree stump. These objects are a lot of fun to ski, however, if you don’t think your knees can take it, there’s always a mellower, less challenging line to take!
Some of our favourite pillow lines: Malicious, Bodacious, Drop Zone, It’s All About Me
Snowboarders and aggressive skiers will enjoy our natural halfpipe. This type of terrain feature enables riders to ride up one wall and get some good air. Or you can ride up a wall and then slash it…makes an awesome photo!
Some of our favourite natural halfpipes: JFA