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Skiing Magazine Article Talks Trash About CMH


Skiing Magazine published an article recently, called “Trouble in Paradise”, in which the author gets a free trip with a small, new heliski company, and in return spreads a few myths about the big, established heliski companies - especially CMH Heli-Skiing.   Among other things, the article provides a perfect template for clearing up a few misconceptions about heliskiing with CMH.  Here are a few quotes from the brown-nosing article, and a glimpse of what really happens while heliskiing and snowboarding at CMH.

“Unlike traditional heli trips, where tame terrain is the rule, ours had a guide who charged steep tree shots at a speed well beyond the normal commercial limit.”

We’re unaware of any commercial speed limit, and every CMH ski guide I've ever skied with descends each given line at the speed that is best for the conditions and terrain at hand.  It is often safest for a guide to ski the line quickly and wait for his or her group at a place where they are visible and out of any potential avalanche zone. 

The only rule we have for terrain is to avoid slopes that could avalanche on us.  Ski with CMH during poor snow stability, and we’ll ski a lot of really fun, safe and “tame” terrain.  Show up when the stability is good and we’ll safely blow your mind.  Do you think “Hanging Gardens” in CMH Galena got the name for being tame?

“Heli-skiing was synonymous with sushi buffets, tight turns, and massive tenures in the BC Interior.”
describe the imageThe author got part of this one right – CMH has massive tenures in the BC Interior, and the occasional sushi buffet, but the diameter of your turn is your choice.  Some groups like to lay down a symmetrical pattern of tight turns, while others prefer big GS arcs, and still others prefer to let each individual skier do their own thing within the limitations of the mountain conditions on a given day.  

I’m not sure what the author finds so unappealing about massive tenures in the BC Interior – the snowiest weather station in Canada is on Mt. Fidelity near Revelstoke, where 12 metres, or 40 feet, of snow fall annually.  With 11 big CMH heliski playgrounds in this region, our skiers seem pretty happy with massive tenures in the BC Interior.  We’d even venture so far as to guess this is part of the reason 70% of our guests have skied with us before – and ski with us again and again and again. 

“The new operators recognized these customers’ needs and began offering smaller groups and more aggressive line selection.”

The smallest group we ever ski with at CMH is one guide and one guest.  It doesn’t really get any smaller than that, unless we let a single skier go it alone – which we don’t.  Our biggest group is 11 skiers supported by a Bell 212 helicopter.  Our Small Group Heliskiing Trips use the Bell 407 helicopter to support groups of five skiers. 

As far as line selection, that’s a factor of conditions and landing options for the helicopter, not the size of the business.  With groups of strong riders in stable conditions, CMH goes as steep and big as any commercial ski guide service on the planet.  We even offer Steep Weeks in the springtime for aggressive skiers and snowboarders who want to take the extra time to access and rip the steepest lines one rider at a time.

The author concludes the article by poking fun at “German tourists” and suggesting steep terrain is not for them.  The author obviously didn’t do his research here either - some of the best skiers I’ve encountered while skiing in Canada, the US, and Europe are Germans.

CMH guests include skiers and snowboarders from all over the world, former Olympians, freeride superstars, young jibbers who go inverted every chance they get, old-timers hoping to milk one more season out of their knees, and thousands of everyday people who come to the oldest, most experienced, biggest and best heli-ski company in the world for these very reasons.

Photo taken by Topher Donahue at CMH Adamants, without speed limits or turn radius rules, just before the sushi buffet.


Nice comeback Topher! Was this guy actually taking a shot at large tenures? Is it a bad thing to have over 1000 sq kms/area to find the perfect turns in? Yeah that must suck.
Posted @ Monday, September 20, 2010 4:13 PM by CMH Becky Reservations
Well said - pretty much nailed it. Not sure you could ever really get an unbiased article out of someone getting a free trip so I'd take the comments with a grain of salt (or snow in this case?).  
Your last line regarding the photo was perfect by the way!
Posted @ Monday, September 20, 2010 4:14 PM by Steve
When you are the biggest and the best, no matter the activity or business, the small people will always want to take cheap shots at you to hopefully improve their image (and usually fail). I have loved every moment of my association with CMH since 1970 and every foot of vertical. Nice response, Topher.
Posted @ Monday, September 20, 2010 4:36 PM by Ralph Jumago
We all know you never bit the hand that feeds you. If the guys wants really heli-skiing have him pay for his own trip to the Monashees or maybe Gary can show him some "sick s--t" at Bobbie Burns! He can join my group Monashees first week of March 2011
Posted @ Tuesday, September 21, 2010 12:08 AM by Bill Carveth
Topher, good on you for disputing the overwhelmingly one-sided paid for advertorial. We may be competitors and one of the new small upstarts, but I couldn't agree with your reply more.  
As responsible operators we need to be promoting safe skiing/riding first and then show them the goods as conditions warrant. Reckless guides "snaking" other groups is not something to look up to or aspire to and certainly has no place in my organization either.  
Thank you and again, good on you for setting the record straight.
Posted @ Tuesday, September 21, 2010 12:37 PM by John
A few things... 
That post is not recent (posted over a year ago) and doesn't even mention CMH. Seems difficult for a Skiing Magazine article to talk trash about CMH if the article doesn't mention CMH.  
Further, the article is primarily focused on the certification criteria and standards for these guides- and mentions very little about safety, line selection, and terrain. Those were just entry points into the article.  
Did those who commented above even read the article?
Posted @ Tuesday, September 21, 2010 3:18 PM by Sally
I stand corrected: the article does mention CMH via mention of Hans Gmoser.
Posted @ Tuesday, September 21, 2010 3:41 PM by Sally
Besides mentioning Hans Gmoser, the print version of the article (Skiing Vol. 62) also mentions CMH specifically, IN LARGE FONT, making it a pretty obvious assumption that they are talking about CMH whenever the article talks trash about the bigger, established heliski companies. The online version of the article also fails to mention the authors name...
Posted @ Tuesday, September 21, 2010 7:26 PM by Topher Donahue
Comments have been closed for this article.