Imagine soaring through a plush duvet of powder, blankets of untouched snow as far as the eye can see. After a scenic heli-ride drops you on site, it’s just you, your snowboard or fat powder skis and a vast terrain of heavenly powder calling you to carve fresh tracks.
Whistler Blackcomb, located north of Vancouver, British Columbia, may be one of the largest ski resorts in North America, but it’s also where 90% of the world’s heli-skiing takes place because of its exclusive access to pristine alpine terrain.
It’s become a cult destination for skiers: guests can indulge in heli day trips ranging from classic three-run packages to elite six-run packages. Additional treats include a heli-picnic and photographer/videographer ride-alongs, which are available to purchase aprés-ski.
Heli-skiers create fresh powder tracks in the Pacific Coast Mountain Range in Canada. (Photos by Andrew Strain)
Exclusive rights to close to a half-million acres of the Pacific Coast Mountain Range is offered by Whistler Heli-Skiing, whose expert guides will, from the sky, scout the terrain that includes 173 glaciers and 475 runs. Some 50 adventure-seeking heli-skiers or snowboarders a day are given access to miles of fresh powder, each fitted with a transponder (in case of an avalanche) and safety tricks (like how to dig your way out of an avalanche by creating an air cavern).
Skiers and snowboarders can expect everything from tree-gladed runs, wide-open bowls and steep narrow gulleys filled with untracked powder. For those few hours, you’ll feel like you’re flying, like some arctic bird over the snow-white range.
Operating dates are through April 13. For more information, visit heli.life.
By Tess Hezlep