You’ll experience some of the best downhills of your life, swooping over open glacier fields and then slaloming down steep forest gullies, up to your waist in fresh, powdery snow. Thanks to the helicopter transfers, you can easily cover 10,000m in one day. The only limit is your level of fitness, as the helicopters can take off in any weather, delivering skiers and snowboarders to the summit – which is, somewhat unnervingly, often not much wider than the chopper itself.
The conditions provided by Mother Nature could hardly be better. The Columbia Mountains experience snowfall of 15m and upwards each season, and the ideal form of the landscape means you can choose between a playful or serious skiing line.
As a bonus, the risks here are far lower than at other deep-snow resorts because cliffs and large slopes prone to avalanches are a rarity.
“This is the place to come for the best week’s skiing of your life, regardless of the weather,” says Cri Maierhofer, a former professional snowboarder who now works for specialist tour operator CMH Heli-Skiing.The atmosphere at the lodges is another reason to stump up €9,000 or more for a week of powder. Despite all the wonderful luxuries on offer – whirlpool baths, sauna, massages, multi-course dinner menus – the whole thing remains relaxed and informal.
The millionaire – and there are quite a few of those here – sits next to the guy who does the dishes and talks shop with the pilots and guides about what they’ve done that day. And the best thing of all? There’s zero mobile reception, meaning absolutely all the focus is on finding the ride of your life.
“Ambitious skiers and snowboarders should book into the Galena Lodge,” according to Cri Maierhofer. “The area around there is steep and varied and dotted with little crests and crags that you can jump over.”