Reflections on Heli-Skiing in Revelstoke
Coming off one of the best seasons in CMH Heli-Skiing's long history it is inspiring to speak to the guides and other staff that spent the winter in the deep, deep BC Powder. Last week Steve Chambers, Area Manager at CMH Revelstoke rolled through town and we talked about the 2010/11 season.
Jane: Steve, you sent me an email in early April saying that you were skiing in some of the best April conditions you'd ever seen. What made this April so fantastic?
Steve: I think it was just the culmination of a season that just wouldn't end. The last few days of March were a little warm in and around Revelstoke and we saw a lot of rain down in town. It also made for some tricky flying conditions so not a great combination. When Mother Nature gave us a little break with the weather, albeit briefly, we were blessed with another metre plus of storm snow and the reset button was hit once more. Going out in April and getting blower powder conditions after a season of endless powder days was almost too much. I had the pleasure of guiding a small private group to end the season and it seemed on every run for 5 days I was getting more and more jazzed about the conditions. Not only was the snow great but the stability just kept improving and it really opened up the terrain we were able to ski - I have to confess there might have been a few 'selfish' lines skied to get my fix at the end of the season!
JC: OK, so, coming out of one of the best heliski seasons in your career, can you give me two highlights from the season?
SC: This was definitely a 'tie' season with the winter of 1999. Similar to that winter, it started a little slow and conditions seemed lean at the beginning of December. We had great powder snow then but the lower elevations needed work to cover the terrain. When the snow started to really fly, it never let up - I mean it really NEVER let up. It seemed we went weeks with new snow coming in daily and the ground coverage getting better and better. When we get consistent snowfall and fewer periods of clear & cold weather, we tend to also have a more stable snowpack with less potentially weak layers to contend with. This winter allowed us to ski pretty much all of our terrain and get into some of the really fun lines we tend to wait until Spring to ski.
What were the two best moments of the 2011 winter? Wow, only 2 to choose from? An almost impossible answer to come up with... I'd have to say that the guests' daily comments kind of blew me away. On occasion you'll get the individual who pulls you aside and says 'best day on skis or best run ever' but it seemed like it was a daily comment this winter. I mean, I had people telling me it was the 'best day of their lives' and I was stunned. I'm flattered to have given them such an experience and I promise to keep it to myself to not offend any families out there whose wedding day or birth of 1st child just got down-rated by an epic day of skiing or riding!
As the Revelstoke season was coming to an end, we had the opportunity to host a group of 33 friends that booked the whole lodge and had spent a couple of years putting this crew together. It was a handpicked entourage that would be able to keep up on the slopes and with the apres-ski. This crew brought their A-game and reminded us how much fun you can have on a CMH Heli-Skiing trip. Skiing big lines in perfect powder or having the other groups sitting around watching (and heckling) while you skied your group through big pillow lines was a blast and an amazing way to see the 2011 season wrap up.
If I had to add a 3rd highlight of the winter it would just be the consistency of the conditions and the repetition of great powder days we were able to experience.
JC: If I were looking ahead to book my CMH Revelstoke Heli-Skiing trip for 2012, what would you recommend?
SC: I used to always tell guests looking at coming to Revelstoke that if they want to ski the deep powder in the old growth trees, come in December to mid-February. If you want to ski the more open terrain, get up on the glaciers, etc. come in late February to the end of the season when it's most likely we'd have the best weather. Now, after the 2011 season, that advice has been somewhat shattered as we skied epic tree lines right to the last day of the season and the snow machine just kept chugging away with no end in sight. I left Revelstoke in the midst of 'round 2' of Winter and was sad to put the skis away. It certainly has me psyched for what the 2012 season can bring! Can't wait...
What about you? Are you stoked for the 2012 season already? Check out what Steve and the team from Revelstoke have on offer for next winter by downloading the CMH Heli-Skiing Dates & Prices booklet.
Photo: Yes. This is what April looked like at CMH Revelstoke. To see more photos from the season, visit CMH Heli-Skiing's online photo gallery.