The Heli-Ski Blog

Living the dream at CMH Galena!

Posted by John Entwistle on Mar 14, 2012 4:10:00 PM

Last week was my first week back at work after a week at CMH Galena. And, after just writing that first sentence, I want to go back already…

Galena Lunch Spot

When I left Banff at 7:45 in the morning for the drive to Galena, there was a heavy snowfall warning forecasted for Revelstoke. As many of us know, this can be both a good thing, and a bad thing. Heavy snowfall means EPIC skiing, but it also means that the roads across the famed Rogers Pass are quite often delayed or closed due to avalanche control. Luckily, we made it through the avalanche control gates just as they were opening, and we were on our way.

Upon stepping out of the helicopter, we were greeted by the lodge dog, Topaz. Topaz was rescued from the Revelstoke area and I must say he sure lives the life now… Chasing helicopters, getting fed better than the staff, and bunking in the staff house!

The food was, as always, fantastic. I don’t think I have ever had a rack of lamb that I have enjoyed so much…Valerie really knows what she is doing in that kitchen!   PK (the pastry chef) rocked it with the cookies all week. White chocolate was a winning ingredient. Some nights Mike, the bartender, did his job a little too well, but made sure that nobody was ever thirsty!

Although stability was getting in the way of us skiing some of Galena’s signature runs such as Freefall, Hanging Gardens, and Mega Bubba, we still managed to get in some amazing runs. That heavy snowfall warning that hit us on the first night provided a cool 20-30cms of light snow that was perfect for ripping through the trees.  “No Hotties” and “North Goat” were definitely the highlight runs of the week. We skied “No Hotties” on at least 3 of the days… It is that good! Burnt trees and steep lines made for huge smiles all around!

The second last day we came in early because it was snowing too hard. I considered this a good reason to come in. It gave us time to rehab in the hot tub with the essential “vitamin K” (Kokanee) to prepare for the onslaught of snow that we would face the next morning.

Saturday morning I was the doorman, and so I was the first (after Roger, the guide) to get out of the helicopter. When Roger cracked the door, I slid it the rest of the way open, and the snow level was actually above the floor of the helicopter. I stepped out and was immediately submerged in snow to near my waist. Once we all dog piled out of the helicopter and the helicopter took off, we had the task of wading through the snow to go and get our skis. This was by far the deepest snow I have ever skied. We were skiing runs that we had skied earlier in the week, and nobody knew until we got to the bottom and Roger told us where we were going next. Not a single sign of tracks, and it was still snowing so hard that you couldn’t recognize any of the mountains nearby. It really was one of those epic heli days we all hear about!

A great week with my group with David and Emi from Chicago, Forest from Newport Beach, Jerome and Virginie from France, and the crew from Belgium: Greet, Dirk, and Herman! We also had Mike, a practicum guide with us for most of the week. This was Mikes first week guiding with CMH after guiding touring trips in Revelstoke for most of the winter. He was stoked on the terrain we were skiing and how the helicopter was getting us there with such ease!

A HUGE thanks goes out to Mike Welch, Carrie Dooh, and the whole Galena crew for giving all of us such a great week! I know I already want to go back!


Here is one of my videos from the week: