Aprés Ski - CMH Style
There’s something about après ski at CMH - even considering the over-the-shoulder powder, fantasy-land ski terrain, and fine dining – that makes it a highlight of anyone’s CMH heliski trip.
Perhaps it is the quick and effortless transitions of the CMH experience. One minute the helicopter’s downwash is blowing cold snowflakes against your cheeks, already tingling from the last hundred face shots, and the next minute you’re greeted with platters of steaming ribs or nachos, pitchers of nutritional smoothies, and a goggle-tanned bartender who likely shared a few turns with you just hours before.
Perhaps it is the remote location of many of the CMH Lodges. Consider the Google Earth view of the remote CMH Lodges. Zoom in close. Your lodge, surrounded by pure wilderness. Zoom out a little. Mountain valleys on either side contain no buildings, ski lifts, or highways, and even the logging roads are drifted closed. Zoom out a little more. There are mountains stretching for a hundred kilometres or more in every direction. With CMH it’s like having your après ski on your own private island – a long way off shore.
Perhaps it is the intimate experience of a CMH ski trip. You and your fellow skiers are the only humans around. It’s quite possible to ski with nearly everyone in the lodge, including staff, over the course of a single week. During the CMH après ski, you are surrounded by people who just took off their ski boots too; people who helped you climb out of the snow after your last wipeout; people who loaned you a ski pole so you could get across the flats on your snowboard; people who just watched you link your best powder turns ever; people from all over the world who are having as much fun as you are.
Perhaps it is the nature of heliskiers. Heliskiers tend to put experiences above possessions on their list of life values. This means après ski conversations tend to be with people who share common passions in life. There’s something refreshing about seeing people who met the day before, sitting around the fire, buying each other drinks, laughing, telling stories, and sharing one of the best days of their lives.
Whatever it is that makes it so great, the only problem with après ski at CMH is that it doesn’t last long enough. One by one people stand up and leave the room on shaky legs from a long day of powder skiing and make their way to a massage, the hot tub, the sauna, a nap, or just a hot shower. Even those who don’t drink leave the room rosy-cheeked, with tired legs, and with just as big a grin as those who had that extra Kokanee.
And the next day everyone gets to do it all over again.
Photo: Aprés ski in the Cariboos by Topher Donahue.
Any veteran heliskiers out there who can share a favorite CMH aprés ski story?