I have just returned from three days of heliskiing at CMH Kootenay down in Nakusp B.C. Seeing as this has been my life long dream, well at least since I knew what skiing and helicopters were, I was absolutely shocked when I was finally able to go.
My three days started off with 2 days skiing in a group of 9 skiers and 2 guides (Ken, Rob, Dan, and MB) in the Bell 212 helicopter followed by a day in the Bell 407 with a smaller group of 4 and one guide (Steve). I had a great group who thoroughly enjoyed themselves. The 212 makes the most incredible noise known to man. When it lands or flies anywhere near you it makes one of the loudest thumping noises that shakes you right down to the core. The 407 in incredibly nimble and able to make landings you never thought possible. After being dropped off, the helicopter flies back down to pick up the next group and you are left at the top of a mountain in complete silence. That feeling of standing on top of a mountain with nobody but you and your group is one of the best feelings that you will ever have.
Everything about heliskiing ends up being so much more than you think it can be. Even if you are sure that you know what it will be like, you are wrong. I have been completely at home on skis for 19 years now. I was sure that I could at least picture the feelings and emotions that would go along with heliskiing. I too, was wrong.
The terrain is one of the hardest parts to grasp. Even if you are used to skiing the largest ski resorts such as Whistler Blackcomb, Revelstoke, Aspen, or Collingwoood (ok that was a joke) The amount of terrain that heliskiers have to choose from is immense! The first day of my trip, it was foggy and gross down in town. We chose to fly up and about 20km east of Nakusp. Out there it was beautiful sunshine! An unbelievable day. This flight took approximately 10 minutes to complete. Can you imagine how far that would be in a snowcat... or a chairlift! Suffice to say you would be sitting in the fog with any other method of transportation. The other amazing part about the terrain is the runs. Each MOUNTAIN will have approximately 2-3 runs. And these are not small mountains... The majority of the mountains are the same size of ski resorts where you would find 100+ runs. And we were skiing down 3 runs before moving on to the next mountain. The amount of terrain we covered in a single day was outrageous!
The other thing that I really must make a note of was the food. It was unbelievable. Most people would eat the appetizers thinking that they were eating the main course. One night we had king crab legs as the appetizer. One guy across the table from me had about ten king crab legs on his plate and was talking about how good dinner was. Right after he was done with "dinner", the host came with the main course, a massive veal steak, vegetables, and rice. I thought this guy was going to cry. We all enjoyed the meal and the dessert that followed. We at like this EVERY night.
Just like eating the food at CMH, I am sure that you are full of reading my words. I will let you digest for the week until more stories come your way. If you don't believe me, try it for yourself. I guarantee you will not be dissapointed!