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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).

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Saber Sundays at Great Canadian Heli-Skiing

Posted by & filed under Lodge Lifestyle.

There’s a lot going on in the evenings that suits our lodge lifestyle. For instance, Sundays at Great Canadian Heli-Skiing are for sabering.  Some have never heard the term, some of you have done it – maybe even during dinner with us. There’s a slight chance that it’ll be you or your ski buddy on your next heli-ski trip doing it!

Victor, showing how it's done

Victor, showing how it’s done

Although it rhymes with “sobering”, the act itself tends to lead the people involved in the opposite direction. If you dig into the history of sabering, two names surface more often than others – Napoleon and Madame Clicquot. One had victorious army and the other one was running a champagne house. Cavalry had sabers and she had the bottles. Destiny connected the dots, they threw a big party, and the joyful practice was born. Some might argue that perhaps we’ve fallen for a marketing campaign that has lasted for centuries. Or are we following a tradition that suits well with our desire to celebrate the long lines drawn on the fields of pow? Either way, heli-skiing makes us feel exultant, and sabering helps to convey that emotion.

The Champagne Saber - can be used instead of skis and snowboards.

The Champagne Saber – can be used instead of skis and snowboards.

What goes through the minds of first-timers? Probably the vision of exploding shards and countless questions about how is it even possible – to open a pressurized bottle with a saber (or something more ski-lodgy, say a ski or a snowboard) and walk away with intact fingers and a clean shirt. And we agree, things could get messy and sticky if certain steps are not followed. After all, we’re not sitting on a horse in Madame C’s rose garden. Since we expect you to hold your poles the next day, the bottles go through saber-prep – we cool them, ice the neck, remove the foil, and the wire cage gets moved up by one rim.

One must steer clear from others and follow the saber up the faint vertical seam on the side of the bottle. The inside pressure of a typical champagne bottle is around 620 kilopascals (90 psi), which creates enough force to send the cork (and the top of the neck) flying. It usually takes 2-3 attempts – it’s like hucking pillows, we start small and a bit hesitant until we’re confident enough to commit to bigger jumps.

Sabering-related fun facts: According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the greatest number of champagne bottles sabered in one minute is 66 and it was achieved by Ashrita Furman. The greatest number of champagne bottles sabered simultaneously? 630. The GCH high score is 5 bottles, but we’re willing to up the number, just talk to our barpersons!

Our previous post was about the Legend of the Monastery

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