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Guide to Heli-skiing British Columbia

 Whistler Heli Skiing British Columbia

 

British Columbia in Canada offer some of the best backcountry skiing and boarding in the world, with endless open bowls leading to well spaced tree runs in deep and light snow. Many heliski operators offer multiday trips however with prices averaging around $900 a day, cat skiing (using snow cats to transport uphill) at a third of the price can be a more attractive proposition.

The heli & cat season in BC runs from December through April and booking well in advance is advisable. As commercial heliskiing is forbidden within the National Parks in British Columbia, there are three major areas in use: in the interior near Revelstoke, in the west around Whistler and in the Southern Rockies around Panorama and Kicking Horse

Selkirk Tangiers Heliskiing is based in Revelstoke and runs between the Selkirk and Monashee mountains. It offers day heli-skiing options that appeal to most budgets which include meals, snow safety training plus avalanche transceivers and rentals of top powder skies and boards (to enable you to float in the deep snow). Their ‘powder excursion’ course is a single day option focussed on people trying heli-skiing for the first time which offers a relaxed pace starting at just $797 per person. There are a few snowcat operators strung out south of the town and in the Selkirk Mountains including Great Northern Snowcat Skiing and Selkirk Wilderness Skiing who pioneered the worlds first guided backcountry cat skiing operation in 1975 and where their guests can ride 80,000 vertical of untracked powder in an area larger than both Vail and Whistler combined! Great North Snowcat Skiing currently have on their homepage the fact that so far this season there’s been over 29ft of snow!

 

 

Purcell Helicopter Skiing based in Golden access 2000 square kilometers of terrain and offer some of the least expensive packages in the area with a 3 run package from $847 per person. Their location is ideal for a day trip from Banff in Alberta and Purcell can arrange a shuttle bus from hotels in both Banff and Lake Louise from just $84 for the round trip.

Further south operating out of Panorama is RK Heli-Ski offering easier terrain suited intermediates, so more experienced skiers may find the terrain easy however their strap line of ‘legendary Purcell Powder’ means you would not leave unhappy. RK has been operating for the past 44 winters and offers daily heli-skiing packages with a 3 run powder adventure starting at just $678.

Heading west to the area around Big White and Silver Star is the ability to heliski on Mount Arthur with great views of the surrounding Monashee Mountains and only a 10 minute helicopter flight from Big White. Heli-skiing in the Okanagan region is dominated by TLH Heli-skiing operating from Tyax Mountain Lake Resort on the shore of Tyaughton Lake. TLH service 1200 square miles of the remote and glaciated Chilcotin Mountains where the snows pack is considerably more stable than other areas which opens up more steep lines.

 

 

Way out west in British Columbia, Whistler Heli Skiing offers a classic experience 3 run package for just $815 where no powder experience is necessary and with return transportation from Whistler village included in the price. Trips are tailored according to conditions and the abilities in the group and as with all the operators listed here, confident intermediate (on-piste) abilities are required.

And finally, of British Columbia’s snowcat operators, Island Lake Lodge near Fernie features the most outstanding free ride terrain with steep chutes and natural half pipes making it a favourite for boarders. With 7000 acres of private bowls, valleys and gladed forest and the ability to ski back to the door of the lodge this is epic territory. Accommodation wise they offer 3 different lodging options and uniquely rooms do not come with TVs or phones as they want you to relax and go on a digital device sabbatical! 

Resorts: 
Panorama
Resorts: 
Banff
Resorts: 
Big White
Resorts: 
Fernie
Resorts: 
Kicking Horse
Resorts: 
Lake Louise
Resorts: 
Revelstoke
Resorts: 
Silver Star
Resorts: 
Whistler
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