The news of the most epic early season snowpack ever in the Canadian Rockies is getting entirely over the top. Over the last week I have received several reports of ski conditions that are unbelievable for this time of year, even in the deep powder heliskiing paradise of Western Canada.
The first was from CMH Bugaboos manager Dave Cochrane, who spent a couple of days ski touring above the CMH Cariboo Lodge near his home in Valemount, BC. After the first day, here’s what he had to say:
“This is Dave Cochrane, back in my old stomping grounds in the Cariboos. I just had the pleasure of joining Doug Dowling on a ski tour up the ever daunting Neckroll ski run. We skied from the Lodge up the switchbacks on the Neckroll road, to the avalanche path which is the main part of the run.
We started with 50 cm on the ground at the lodge, very supportive snowpack, with about 15 cm of ski penetration in fluff. At the top of the logging road where it meets the chute at 1450m there is 70-80 cm of well supported snow. We skied to the top of the slide path to the “low heli landing” on the skier’s left of the slide path. There, at 1780m we had 120 cm. Lower down in the chute @ 1680m. there was 100 cm At the heli landing the ski penetration is 25 cm and the boot penetration is about 35 cm. The boot penetration tells a good story for early season snowpack, not much penetration and the boots don’t go any further in since the snowpack is so supportive.
The downhill run was truly outstanding in an average of 25 cm of super powder with a great support, no breaking through in weak snow anywhere. If I had to open heli skiing today here, based on my limited observations, the skiing story on Neckroll would certainly make it a good opening.
I am hoping to return here tomorrow for some more skinning up and great shredding going down. Since 10:00 this morning it has been snowing steadily at just less than 1 cm an hour, with thick overcast skies.”
The next day, Dave sent this follow up:
“I skied up Neckroll again today. I just couldn't get enough yesterday. Where I took my skins off at 1780 m. the same high point I went to yesterday, there was 25 cm. of new overnight snow, making for spectacular skiing on the way down. The storm today was very intense with strong winds all day and while I was skiing there this morning it was snowing 2 cm. an hour. We had warm temperatures and rain in the town of Valemount, but as soon as one left town for the mountains it was snowing hard. Keep it coming!”
Then I received a note from a long time CMH guest who forwarded me an email from Rob Rohn, the Director of Mountain Operations at CMH Heli-Skiing:
“Hello everyone – We’ve had a really great start to the winter with a snowpack that’s well above average. There’s a meter and a half to two meters at tree line with a very solid base already. Konrad went for a ski tour today in the Adamants and had good skiing to the lowest pick up on Bungee at 1200 m. We’re all wishing we were open now! So spread the word that the best skiing on the planet is out there waiting for our first guests to show up. Anyone who’s been contemplating an early season trip should get off the couch – winter has arrived!
See you on the slopes!”
"It’s snowing again and we’re expecting a substantial accumulation over the day. I was just talking to the long time Monashee guides this morning and none of them can remember a year with this much snow and such a solid snowpack this early. It’s like mid-winter out there. A couple of days ago we skied Come Again to the bottom at 950 m and it was really good all the way. Some winters it doesn’t get that good that low ever! All the big tree runs in Soards Creek are in prime condition. It really is a phenomenal start to the season and our first guests are going to enjoy some incredible skiing."
Photo of ski touring on Rogers Pass near Revelstoke by CMH Guide Marty Schaffer during November 2011.
There are still a few spaces left in the helicopter for the most epic early season heliskiing ever - give CMH Reservations a call at (800) 661-0252.