“You should have been here yesterday!” We’ve all heard it. Sitting on the ski lift listening to somebody go on and on. For weeks now, the CMH Heli-Skiing crew has been talking about how good the snow is in the Columbia Mountains. This photo, taken recently by the CMH Bobbie Burns guides on the 1300-metre Super Duper, suggests skiing is about as good as it gets around there right now.
To get a little firsthand perspective, I tracked down Kevin Christakos, Manager of CMH McBride.
TD: So what makes the snow this season so special?
KC: We have been getting steady cold snow for the past 6 weeks. This has taken the snowpack from below average in December to above average in a relatively short time.
TD: Is there a way you can describe the consistency of the powder skiing in terms of the average conditions over the last month compared an average year?
KC: Much of these past storms have come from the NW and been associated with cold air so the snow has largely been the deep cold smoke we all dream about.
TD: What are the old-timers saying about this year?
KC: That's interesting you ask. Last week Pierre Lemire was guiding here with me and we had a good discussion about how this year compares to years in the past. Pierre has had his nose in the snow here for the past 40 years and was commenting that this winter was somewhat reminiscent of the early 70's where there were a couple of huge snow winters; and similar to this winter those too had a slower start.
TD: How does having exceptional conditions affect the CMH heliski program?
KC: It makes everyone's life better, makes us look younger and has a thinning effect on women.
TD: Sign me up. Any good stories about the skiing conditions lately?
KC: We were closed for a couple of weeks at McBride, and when we returned I checked our field weather station and there was 2 meters of settled new snow on our storm board. It took me a good 10 minutes to dig the board up. All the next week every time I'd step out of the helicopter the snow was up to my waist, it's a beautiful thing.
Next week I’ll be sticking my nose in the snow at CMH and will let the readers of the Heliski Blog know if the rumors are true! But if you've been out there already tell us here how the snow is stacking up! And if you haven't, what are you waiting for?!