CMH has three lodges for private helicopter skiing in BC that are available for groups of 1 to 10 heli-skiiers- Valemount, McBride and Silvertip. To get a feel for the true advantages of a Private Lodge experience at CMH Heli-Skiing, I asked Greg Yavorsky, Area Manager of CMH McBride to share some of his guests’ reasons for booking an exclusive lodge.
JC: Greg, how did you come to be the manager of CMH McBride?
GY: I had worked if quite a few CMH areas and had been the Assistant Manager in Revelstoke. One summer, when I was mountain guiding in Switzerland, Walter Bruns called and asked if I’d like to go to McBride. I hadn’t been there or even heard of the town, so I said yes right away. That first winter, Dave Cochrane and I guided all the weeks together and in the spring, Dave went over to manage the Bugaboo operation. Kevin Christakos and I have been tearing up the skiing in the Robson Valley since then.
JC:What’s all the buzz around private group heli-skiing? What is the big advantage?
GY: In a private lodge, the ski program for your group is totally flexible. Some of our guests are still running their businesses on their ski holiday, so if you have a morning conference call, we can start skiing at 10 instead of 9 o’clock if necessary. Also, the chef and pastry chef are at your disposal so you can work with them to design the menu for your ski week, if that is of interest to you. With a staff to guest ratio of nearly 1:1, the level of service is very personal. Around the lodge, you create the atmosphere with your group of friends, family or business colleagues. It’s a great way to connect. In the context of skiing, you can split up the group to ski different lines
JC: What about the pace of private group skiing?
GY: Because the helicopter is yours you can go at your own pace. We can rocket or… we can take the time to take photos, build a jump, have a conversation, work on technique… There’s no pressure to get to the pick up, and it’s quiet because the helicopter is shut down at the bottom waiting for you.
JC: And guest to guide ratio?
GY: For 10 skiers or riders we have two guides. This doubles the expertise so if you want some ski tips you’ve got a guide to ski with. The 2nd guide also adds to the element of safety. In the multi-group area, you’ve got another group behind you on the run, or at least nearby and the guide for that group is your back-up. In the private group that back-up is part of your group.
JC: Is there one magical element that makes Private Group skiing the be-all and end-all of Heli-Skiing?
GY: Being a heli-skier in a private group is like being a kid in a candy store. There’s nothing quite like flying into a valley and seeing no tracks, all that those clean lines just waiting. Silvertip & McBride are unique operations in that they don’t share their terrain with a multi-group operation. In McBride when you see tracks, they’re usually made by your group, and the area is so big that the character of the skiing changes from valley to valley and the view between your ski tips is rarely the same. The Cariboo mountains are truly magical for skiing and we’ve got a big chunk of that terrain. For comparison, Vail Mountain has 5,289 skiable acres, at McBride, we have 399,569 skiable acres! For 10 guests!
JC: Greg, anything new at McBride this year?
GY: There are quite a few people who don’t realize what a great experience Private Lodge skiing is so at McBride we’ve just announced some shorter trips for the 2010 season. This will allow groups to try it out and see if this Private Lodge thing is for them. We’ve got three five-day trips throughout the winter that are currently available. Jan 25-30, Feb 15-20 and Mar 27- Apr 1. There’s been strong interest in the dates so if any of your readers are keen, they should contact Erin in reservations.
JC: Thanks for sharing this insight with me, Greg. Any New Years Resolutions for 2010?
GY: That’s easy….more skiing!!
Do you have a small group that would like to book a lodge for their very own? Want to custom-design your own Heli-Ski trip. Call Erin, one of our Heli-Ski experts at 1-800-661-0252 or drop us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org and she’ll start working on a quote for your group.