The Heli-Ski Blog

National Geographic’s skiing Top 10 forgot about the skiing

Posted by Topher Donahue on Nov 3, 2011 7:23:00 AM

A recent article in National Geographic on the world’s Top 10 Ski Runs and Lodges brings to mind snow-laden luxury accommodations below mountains laced with fantastical ski lines.  We’re proud that Western Canada’s very own Whistler/Blackcomb and the Fairmont Chateau Whistler tops the list, and even closer to home, Banff/Lake Louise and the Fairmont Banff Springs (though not exactly slope-side) is number five.

Interestingly, the article, while it contains “ski runs” in the title, doesn’t mention a single ski run, nor does it include heli-ski areas.   The reader can only surmise that the writer intended “ski runs” in the most general sense, and not singular spectacular ski runs.  Which for me, as a skier, was a bit of a disappointment.  I was truly curious what the iconic National Geographic's list of the world’s top 10 ski runs would include. 

monashees heliski lodge

Photo of the CMH Monashee Lodge and behind it the kilometre-tall ski run known as Elevator - a ski lodge and ski run that many have called the best in the world.  Maybe next time National Geographic will include heli-skiing in their selection...

It's obvious why the article didn't include heli-skiing - heliskiing is so much better than resort skiing as to make comparisons seem absurd.  What can compare with the CMH tenture?  It is bigger than the rest of North America's ski areas combined!

Also, I can see why the writer chose to weight the article towards lodging rather than skiing.  It’s much harder to give both lodging and skiing equal weight in such a selection.  Even within CMH there are sometimes heated conversations, especially among the 3,921 guests who have skied over a million vertical feet with CMH, debating which is the best CMH area.  Most understand that the whole discussion is subjective, and many ski at different areas every time, but each CMH area has its committed fans who have skied millions of vertical feet exclusively at their favourite CMH area. 

So, if you asked CMH heli-skiers and snowboarders to pick their favourite ski run and lodge, which would they choose?  The skiing is great everywhere, so some pick their favourite area based partly on the view from the lodge, and pick the Bugaboos or Adamants; others choose based entirely on the volume of steep tree skiing they can shred in a week, and might vote for Galena, Kootenay, or the Monashees; still others choose based on the variety of terrain they can encounter and might pick the Cariboos, Gothics, Bobbie Burns or Revelstoke; some like the most private luxury and mountain experience and would pick the private heli-skiing areas of McBride or Valemount

Really, such a thing is utterly impossible to judge fairly.

But it’s fun to consider.    So, just for the fun of it, what is your favourite CMH ski run and lodge?


Topics: Galena Lodge, Gothics, Bugaboos, CMH Bobbie Burns, heliskiing, Cariboos, CMH Valemount, Monashees, Bugaboo Lodge, Adamants, heli-skiing, resort skiing, helicopter snowboarding, McBride