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Vintage Ski Movie: The First Snowboard on Film?


I am not 100% sure on this...but I think this is the first, if not one of the first, snowboard segments caught on film.  

This is a segment from the Dick Barrymore movie Canadian Mountain Odyssey that Dick shot for Hans in the early 80's.  It features Dick's son Blake, AKA Ted Shred, on a very early Burton Snowboard.

From an interview Dick Barrymore did in 2000: "They brought a collection of snow props to the Monashees in British Columbia and Blake decided to try a new Burton snowboard they had bought at an instructor's discount of $40.

The Burton board had little fins on the back. It's nothing like a snowboard today. It had a rope on the front that you held onto with a handle on it," Barrymore explains. Blake took out his Sorels, jumped on that board and took off. "He never had a bad turn on it," says Barrymore.

There is a lot of history in this segment but two things stand out for me.

One, you can see how the snowboard, even this early version, allowed the rider completely different experience from the skiers. I am a skier. I have snowboarded three times in my life. It was fun but I like skiing a lot more. That said, I am thankful for the push that snowboarding gave to skiing.   I think about the line-up of K2 Skis we have now and I can see the progression from this early segment to today.

The second thing that sticks out- you can already see the snowboarding vs.skiing thing beginning.  Check out Ted flying down through the tracks and blowing right by the skiers. For the most part this rivalry has been put to rest...although I see it flare occasionally at a lodge. If you are now in your 40's you have pretty much been around snowboarding most of your skiing life so it really is not an issue. Plus, per the first point above, skis have progressed so much they are now as good, if not better (especially if there is a traverse involved), tool in the hel-ski world.

Hope you enjoy a little history.


Small Group Heli-Skiing at CMH Adamant & Monashee Lodges


You may have heard the rumour. We're sweetening our 2012 offerings here at CMH Heli-Skiing. This post is one in a series of five over the next few days announcing some changes to the trips that we'll be offering in 2012.

First up: More Small-Group Heli-Skiing options for you to choose from.

ADAMANT LODGE  Just you and a few close, personal friends.

Small Group Heli-Skiing at CMH Adamants by Craig McGeeIt's been over 20 years since we hosted our first small-group heli-skiing program at CMH Valemount. Back then it was viewed as supreme luxury. This was the heli-skier's version of tooling around in a chauffeur-driven limousine. Our small-group trips have continued to grow in popularity, and nowadays you can enjoy them at Valemount, McBride, Monashees, Revelstoke and via the Nomads multi-area program.

But it's getting better!

We're delighted to announce the first CMH area devoted exclusively to small-group, small-helicopter skiing. For the entire 2011-12 season, CMH Adamant Lodge will be small group, powder paradise. We'll use two Bell 407s, each will handle three groups of five skiers plus your guide. The nimble little 407 offers supreme flexibility, and can easily handle the pace of the hardest-charging heli-skiers and heli-boarders. Meanwhile, if you don't have four friends who are as powder hungry as you, no sweat.  Join soon-to-be best buddies as a single or couple.  With two helicopters, six groups and six guides, Konrad and the other heliskiing guides at the Adamants will be able to offer a terrific range of terrain choices and group types – enough to suit any Heli-Skier on the planet!

2012 Trips = 2010 prices! Believe it or not, 2012 Adamant small-group parties will pay the same high-season pricing as 2010 — enjoy private nirvana starting at $8750 for 7 days!


MONASHEE LODGE Late season means more room to move and smaller groups, too!

Small group heli skiing at CMH Monashees by Fred HuserThose of you serious about powder skiing already know about the legendary reputation of CMH Monashees. It is, quite simply, the planet's finest location for skiing steep, 1500 vertical-metre runs in bottomless snow, through towering trees.

At the Monashees we typically offer our Signature Heli-Skiing model: four groups per Bell 212. And that works fine when the bulk of our skiing is very close to the lodge, allowing for an average of well over 46,000 metres of skiing per week for each guest. But as the season progresses and the days get longer, we are able to wander the vast tenure, skiing superb drainages that are further from the lodge. Therefore, to make the skiing program work at maximum effectiveness and flexibility, as of February 18, 2012, we will reduce regular groups to 33 skiers and add two groups of five skiers/ riders for small-group skiing in a Bell 407. The net result: you ski big days on big slopes.

Prices start at $10,990 per person for small group skiing and $7820 in the regular groups.

Curious? To learn more, contact the Heli-Skiing Experts at CMH Reservations: 1.800.661.0252. Once word gets out, spaces won't last long.

And don't forget: Book your 2012 Heli-Skiing space by April 30 to qualify for CMH Heli-Skiing's Early Booking Incentive

Photos: Small Group Heli-Skiing in the Adamants by Craig McGee / Heli-Skiing in the Monashees by Fred Huser.

Heli-skiing big vertical: Wisdom after 14 million feet


The most falls I've ever seen heli-skiing happened when we were all tired from a day of great skiing, but one of the guests was chasing some number of vertical feet and needed one more run.  The guide judged it safe, with plenty of daylight, to do another run and soon we found ourselves in a spectacular couloir.  The problem was that an old avalanche had left the couloir dotted with icy blobs frozen to the surface under a blanket of powder.  Even the guide didn't know they were there.  It was impossible to see the ice blobs, but when you ran into one it was as if somebody had just hit your skis with a sledgehammer.  Everyone took spectacular tumbles on that run and thankfully nobody was hurt.

Skiing oodles of vertical is great, but nobody wants to get hurt helping you to reach a milestone of vertical.  For some dos and don'ts of going big,  I asked Andy Epstein, a veteran of 14 million vertical feet with CMH and one of the biggest fans of chasing vertical you'll ever meet.  I caught up with Andy as he packed for a trip to CMH Monashees

TD: Do you do train for skiing so that you are ready for 60,000 meter weeks (double the CMH guarantee of 30,000 meters) in the early season?

AE: All of us keep in shape over the summer, however, the best exercise for heli-skiing is skiing, preferably powder skiing. Cardio training is great, and can prevent one from getting winded, but there is nothing like skiing to get those leg muscles in shape. 

TD: What are the  factors that have to line up to allow you to have a week of huge vertical?


  • First of all you have to get out (of the lodge) on time. To get out at 9am, you need to shoot for 8:30.
  • You need to fly every day - sometimes fog or wind prevents that.
  • You need long runs.  The longer the runs, the more vertical you will have. It takes time to put your skis on and off plus loading and unloading. We can do about two 900-meter runs per hour for 1800 meters per hour. We can also do three 1500-meter runs in 2 hours.  So that's 2250 versus 1800 meters per hour.   (Most skiers prefer good snow to big vertical, so in some conditions CMH guides will shorten runs to give skiers the best and safest skiing conditions.)
  • Fast and strong skiers are a must, and they need to follow directions.  (With 3 or 4 groups skiing on different schedules from a single lodge, CMH can cater to a wide range of skier preferences and abilities, but skiers like Andy often prefer small private group heli-skiing where one group has exclusive use of a single helicopter.)
  • Finally, you must have excellent conditions. In poor snow or poor flying conditions, getting big vertical is impossible.  

 TD: How much is it  acceptable to pressure the guides and pilots to go for more vertical after  they are ending the ski program for the day due to hazardous conditions?

AE: Not acceptable at all.  

TD: Other tips or no-nos for heli-skiing big vertical?

AE: When the guides are comfortable with the group, and they see everyone can ski that kind of vertical, they are more likely to go for it.

  • They will do it when the skiing is really good and when they see that all the skiers are strong.
  • Communication is also important. If you fall, and lose a ski or get lost, by radioing the guide he can rest assured that you are ok. 
  • You also have to respect the guide's wishes regarding keeping the tracks tight when he asks and by not going where he tells you to not go. 

TD: In general, I find going back to the same places in the mountains deepens my appreciation for every element.  Can you explain how your appreciation has changed over the years?

AE: All I can say is that my love for the sport has not waned a bit over 32 years.  I still enjoy it as much as I did the first time. 

TD: Anything you’d like to add?

AE: You never know who is going to become a die-hard heli skier. I have brought people from home and most of them enjoy the experience, but very few get hooked the way I did. I have found that the people I have met up there who feel the same way I do are the ones I enjoy skiing with the most, and who I trust the most. The group I am skiing with now has, for the most part, been skiing together for over 10 years and if they were a baseball team, they'd be the Yankees!

Springtime offers the most consistent conditions for weeks of big vertical.  Long days, good conditions top to bottom on the longest runs, perfect snow for easy skiing.  And there are a few months of resort skiing beforehand give you a chance to get those legs in shape.  Check out our heli-ski space availablity for heli-ski opportunies this season - and read Delia Robert's fit tip post on training advice for heli-skiing.

TransWorld Snowboarding & CMH Shred the Monashees


Tom Burt by Nicholas HamiltonLast month we had the pleasure of hosting snowboarding legend Tom Burt at the Monashees for a 5 day TransWorld Snowboarding Shred Session.  I caught up with TransWorld's Photography Director Nick Hamilton this week to get the skinny on what went down at the lodge. 

JC: Hey Nick, how did you land a cool job like Photo Director for TransWorld Snowboarding Magazine?
NH: I have been shooting for TransWorld for 15 years now. 8 years ago I took the job as Photo Editor at TransWorld and moved to California.  2 Years ago I was promoted Photography Director when TransWorld started really expanding from a print magazine (largest circulation Snowboard Magazine in the world) to a fully multi media company now making Snowboard Videos, TV Shows, Major Events, and also our huge online presence.

JC: Who was you’re hero that inspired you to ride and has your career with TransWorld enabled you to meet him/ her?
NH:I grew up on the US East Coast (Ice Coast) riding New Hampshire and Vermont. I was skiing and then switched to snowboarding but I also got interested in photography as a hobby so have always looked up to pro snowboarders and photographers alike.  One of my first days working for TransWorld I went to the TransWorld Industry Conference in Alaska and ended up at the bar having a whiskey with Craig Kelly, Jake Burton, and Jon Foster (legendary snowboard photographer that worked for TransWorld), that was one of those heavy moments where I got totally blown away by my company.

JC: You have travelled the world covering snowboarding for TransWorld, how do the Shred Sessions differ from a normal magazine trips?
NH: The Shred Sessions are so much fun!  They are the only time I really get to go out and ride with some everyday snowboarders. All of my other shoots are with a group of Pro’s and our only goal is travelling and shooting photos which can be pretty slow setting up shots.  The Shred Trips are a blast as we are all there to have fun and get tons of powder runs in.  

JC: You recently returned from CMH Monashees with Tom Burt and Shred Session I.  How did it go up there?
NH: We had a great time up at the Monashees. It was the first time to that lodge for all of us so we were blown away by the place and totally had a blast.  Unfortunately it snowed too much (?!) while we were there and we got grounded for 2 days but Tom kept us entertained and we even hiked some little powder runs off the road behind the lodge to get some turns in during the storm.  I have heard great things about the Monashees terrain so we hope to redo the trip in March and really get some runs in. I still think Galena is the best place I have ever been for snowboarding and hear the Monashees is on par with Galena so can’t wait to get out there and ride some more.

JC: What were some of the career highlights that Tom shared with the group?
NH: We watched a couple videos from Tom. He was one of the guys that pioneered snowboarding all over Alaska so hearing about “Cordova Peak” and some of his other first descents was really cool.

JC: There’s still space left on the March 20 – 25 Shred Session II in the Monashees.  Why is this an opportunity that serious riders shouldn’t miss?
NH: If you are passionate about Snowboarding and Heli boarding this is the session to come along on.  Everyone in the group feels the same way. The idea is just to fill a group with Snowboarders and have a Pro to shred with and get some tips from, and a Pro Photographer along to get some shots to send home.  Everyone in our group talked about a trip where they were the only Snowboarder on a Heli trip and it’s just not the same camaraderie as when you are a group of Snowboarders together sessioning the mountain and riding the terrain differently.  

JC: Any hints on who your pro will be on that trip?!
NH:HAHA not sure yet. Every pro that has come has asked to come back so our options are always open.  The idea is that people come on the trip for the session and not get too hung up on riding with one specific pro, especially as their plans can change last minute (that’s the nature of being a Pro these days).  However, I saw Gretchen Bleiler the other day after she was announced on the US Snowboarding Team going to the Vancouver Olympics. She was our first Guest Pro the Shred Trips and wants back after the Olympics are out of the way too!

Thanks Nick, See you in March at the Monashees!

Check out Nick's photos from the January session here. To secure your spot on what promises to be a great ride with CMH & TransWorld in March, contact Maria in reservations at 1.800.661.0252 or via e-mail at

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