I watched the first skier step out of the helicopter today at CMH Galena, and he sank up to his armpits in the fresh snow. He looked back up at the rest of us, just exiting the machine, with wide, thrilled, stunned eyes behind his goggles - and he’s skied 11 million vertical feet of the world's greatest skiing.
Needless to say, it was the best day of skiing many of us here today have ever experienced. Not only did we ski some the the most famous runs at Galena, like Mega Bubba and Hanging Gardens in blower, choker, creamy, over-the head powder, but there is more snow in the forecast. At one point today, I got back in the helicopter after a nearly non-stop run with face shots on almost every turn, and my face felt like I’d just received mother nature’s most thrilling facial. Yup, ski conditions at CMH are going off.
On another run, I skied nearly 300 metres with the snow streaming over my shoulders and across my face the entire pitch.
Shooting photos in these conditions has been an unusual challenge - the pow is so deep that the skiers and snowboarders are almost entirely obscured much of the time. But in between, when they pop out of the massive powder clouds, the magic of deep powder heli-skiing and boarding with CMH is revealed.
At the end of the day, with classic CMH mountain hospitality, we walked in the door of the lodge and were greeted with cold beers, hot chocolate, and steaming racks of ribs before we even had a chance to take off our snow-packed ski gear.
I had several conversations tonight with guides, staff, and guests with many years of experience chasing skiing and snowboarding nirvana, and everyone had a similar comment: "We are so fortunate to be here right now!" Of course a couple of the guides and guests had this to add, “But it’s like this a lot around here.”
I talked to a guy this morning who just booked his trip last week - needless to say, he’s pretty happy with his last-minute decision to join us. There is still space on the helicopter...