Nomads South - Private Heli-Skiing in the Kootenay Mountains
CMH Nomads South offers a custom-designed heli-ski vacation in which guests can design a trip that allows them to ski in multiple CMH Heli-Skiing areas over the course of their trip. Working with our Nomads concierge, skiers custom-design a trip each group essentially mixing-and-matching daily skiing from the Revelstoke, Galena, Kootenay and Bugaboos ski terrain using the beautiful Halcyon Hot Springs Village and Spa in Nakusp as home base.
This week the CMH Nomads program kick into gear and Jeff Bodnarchuck and his nomadic team will welcome their first heli-skiing guests of the season. I caught Jeff before he gathered the team together to begin preparations for guest arrivals to ask him about the heli-ski experience that tops people's bucket list!
JC: Jeff, you guys are getting ready for another season of Nomads. Tell me what is involved with set up?
JB: This is the fourth season of Nomads. The program has continued to evolve and grow, so each season the set up is a little more involved. We do the usual operations set up, snowpack investigations and establishing clear protocols with the other CMH areas. We have been skiing around in all three mountain ranges this season, so have a good handle on what the ski program will look like. That is subject to change if we get a lot of new snow, which we always do! This week we will go to as many areas as we can and put in landing flags and establish pick up areas. We have some new terrain in the Selkirks and Monashees that is quite remote and we plan to explore and get some first descents. The team is really excited about that!
Because each Nomads South trip is a custom-designed heli-ski trip, we have been working with our first group over the past few weeks. This one is going to be quite special and I look forward to sharing the details afterwards!
JC: What sort of an experience can guests expect on a CMH Nomads trip?
JB: The groups can expect the very best skiing that conditions allow. We have epic long runs in the Monashee range, seldom visited as part of our regular heli-ski program. It’s a range of big wild mountains right at our doorstep. Then the Selkirks supply us with some of the most inspiring tree skiing anywhere on the planet. Anyone who has skied the big runs in Revelstoke, Galena and Kootenay will understand what I am talking about. If that wasn’t enough, we also ski the Purcell’s long, long glaciated terrain with views that are world renowned. There’s not another ski program in the world that can offer more variety and opportunity.
JC: Who are the guides working with you this winter and what is their experience with CMH and in the Nomads terrain?
JB: This season will see some new faces to the program, but they are all long-time CMH'ers.
John Newsome will return for his third season. I’ve worked with John for about twenty years. Geez, that seems like a big number. John is as solid as they come.
Georg Dempfle will join us. Georg has been guiding in CMH Valemount for last few years. Before that, he pioneered the program in CMH Silvertip along with Willi Trinker. If you wanted to go way back in time, Georg was the assistant manager at CMH Bugaboos. He’s been around the block and back but has spent the last few years working exclusively with our private heli-skiing guests.
Our flight crew is even more experienced. Mike McKenzie will be our man in the sky. “Sluggo” as he is known, was the first pilot to heli ski in CMH Galena. The past few seasons he’s been the Bell-212 pilot in CMH Kootenay. The guy is a legend!
Larry Hepple is our engineer, aka 'Uncle Larry'. A great guy and excellent motivational speaker!
Our concierge this season is Sarah Watts. Sarah was the lodge manager at CMH Bugaboos for the past four years. She will anchor the entire operation with her strong organizational skills and experience. Plus she is a really hot skier!
That’s our team, 2012,, a real power team!!
JC: What kind of skier does a Nomads trip appeal to?
JB: We get about 25% first time heli skiers and the rest are generally long time CMHers who are looking for something different. Skiers that have a strong emotional bond with the mountains, not content to just look at the far away places, skiers who want to go there, ski that chute. Explorers at heart. We also get the hardcore powder pigs.
JC: For you, what’s the number 1, best thing about Nomads?
JB: I used to think it was the idea of not having boundaries on my skiing, on where I could go and where I could not. Having a limit based on a line on a map. Skiing Nomads takes those limits and boundaries away. I still like that.
Its interesting, as I mentioned this is season number four, and this season the energy of the team and the guests who are coming seems even higher. Maybe I forget over the summer months, but everyone is super keen to get out, and make it happen. That really motivates me to elevate my game. How many people feel like that every day they go to work? That’s my new favorite thing,
Thanks Jeff! Have a great season!
To learn more about Nomads South Private Heli-Ski excursions with CMH, contact CMH Reservations at 1.800.661.0252 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photos: CMH Guide John Newsome enjoying some epic ski conditions in the Selkirks on Tuesday, January 17, 2012 and Halcyon Hot Springs Village & Spa.