Five heli-cool lodges that will let you heli-ski
Heli-skiing is one of the most exhilarating experiences one can have in life. Just the thrill of riding in a helicopter can be satisfying, but to be dropped off on the side of a mountain that isn’t groomed and is fresh with perfect powder-like champagne snow is the pinnacle of skiing and snowboarding.
Heli-skiing was born in British Columbia, Canada, where the abundance of skiable terrain has been tenured to heli-ski outfits. These five outfits offer a variety of experiences for any desire and any level of skier or rider.
Go big or go home, right? The Bighorn luxury ski chalet is located on the Revelstoke Mountain resort, but provides exclusive heli-skiing for guests. The lodge houses eight staterooms, a wellness centre, sauna, indoor and outdoor hot tubs, a cinema, private chef, a bar, a three story grand salon and access to some of the best snow in Canada. Consistently rated one of the top ski chalets in the world, Bighorn is the crème de la crème.
Canadian Mountain Holidays
Canadian Mountain Holidays began back in the 1960s with an idea from ski mountaineer Hans Gmoser, who inadvertently invented heli-skiing. The company has grown and is the biggest heli-skiing outfit in the world with 12 lodges across British Columbia. Their lodges vary from the far remote backcountry locations that feature amenities such as climbing gyms, saunas, bars and picturesque hot-tubs to more convenient in-town lodges. They run large and smooth Bell 212 helicopters that can take up to 15 people at a time.
Great Canadian Heli-skiing
But what if you are looking for something not so grand, you don’t have a whole week to ski and would like a bit more intimacy? Great Canadian Heli-Skiing is your best bet. GCH, whose terrain includes the Selkirk and Purcell Mountains, was founded in the late 80’s on the premise of “being better not bigger.” GCH is an outfit for smaller groups of skiers who want the most amount of vertical with the most flexibility. They offer 2 - 8 day packages with options to stay in either the Heather Lodge or in one of their private cabins for the cosiest backcountry vibe. GCH is also easy to access for guests can drive up to the lodge rather than having to be flown in.
Eagle Pass Heli-Skiing
Looking for something a bit more adventurous and but still a tad decadent? How about Eagle Pass Heli-Skiing in the Monashee Mountains? Eagle Pass was the first heli-ski company to offer a ski touring program. Unlike most hut to hut ski tours, Eagle Pass will pick you up at the end of your day and take you back to their lodge (which opens January 2017) for a more comfortable night’s stay.
Panorama Mountain Resort
What if you have never heli-skied before and not sure if you can? You can learn at Choppers Heli Prep Sessions offered by Panorama Mountain Resort. Panorama is located in the Purcells and is just a three and half hour drive from Calgary. Panorama provides all the resort conveniences and luxuries one might want, like their Spring Pools and snowmobiling on rest days. They also offer the ultimate winter après with “heli-fondue.” Life can’t get much better than hot cheese and helicopters.