I wanted to share the experience with you since this is my first time and you're probably like I was: Wanting to take a heli-ski trip at some point, but not sure what it's like or if you should do it.
I'm happy to answer your questions in the comments.
Also, feel free to contact my friend Brad Nichols who works with CMH and can let you know if there's any
To see a full list of CMH's terrain and trips, go to the CMH website.
Day 0, December 22, 2012
I was so excited to be going to Galena, I texted Chris Davenport because I knew he had been there as well. Here's his reply to me...needless to say it made me more excited than I already was. That's a pretty big compliment to Galena when a guy like Chris Davenport writes it!
Day 1, December 23, 2012
"Take the best run of your life, do 10+ of them in a day, and do it for 6 days in a row - that's
I'll post more action shots soon, but here's an idea of how much snow is on the ground...
16" of light snow on top
36" of skiable snow (light on top, spongy below)
7 feet of base (89 inches or 225 centimeters)
This is at the base...imagine how much snow is at the top.
When life-long skiers smile like this, you know it's good
The scenery is as beautiful as the skiing
There's so much snow, every terrain feature becomes a playground
Day 2, December 24, 2012
I was going to write a long narrative about how good today was. I was going to try to make the writing as beautiful as the skiing. But instead, I copied below an email I wrote to a good friend right after I got off the mountain. I think it exactly captures how I feel and how good it was.
"Best day of skiing in my life. Period. Clear skies. No Wind. 15-20 degrees. A good 15-20 inches of fluffy stuff on top and a deep base . Long runs of 3,000 vertical feet. Arcing turns in open areas. Steep trees. Great stability so skiing steep powder in wide chutes. Did my first pillow line. Jumping off of every little thing with spongy soft landings. Losing my voice from "whooping" so much. Not writing this to rub it in, just to acknowledge that I now understand what some people have known for a long time. This place is unreal. All 11 of us in our group can ski fast...no waiting. Unbelievable. I see the light. Must come back here. This is as good as it gets. Time for the hot tub and a beer. I've skied about 900 days from age 4 to age 31, and this was the best day of all."
We exited the helicopter into waist-deep snow
On top of the world! Rolling alpine pitches followed by steeper trees.
Gorgeous views of skiable terrain
Are you kidding me? Nope. It was this good.
A perfect night after a perfect day.
Day 3, December 25, 2012
Today was play time.
I usually hate jumping, but these landings are so soft, so why not? Tons of fun!
In the comments, James Griffin wrote the perfect description of what it's like to ski in British Columbia after spending a lot of time in Colorado and the Rockies. He points out that for eastern US skiers, the chance to ski Colorado or other areas in the western US is a game changer. And going from Colorado and the Rockies to British Columbia is a similar type of game changer, both in terms of terrain and snow quality. I've skied for 27 years over about 900 days and the last three days are the most fun I've had since I started skiing at age four.
Day 4, December 26, 2012
It was another great day, though my legs didn't warm up until the third run. In Colorado, I usually don't ski from 9am-4pm with a short lunch break but rather ski a few hours in the morning with friends or do a nice backcountry tour. So my legs, while in pretty good shape, aren't necessarily used to all this skiing, and at 2,500-3,000ft vertical per run, it's real skiing all the way from top to bottom. Some light snow fell during the morning while the skies were mostly sunny, which is always fun to see. Lots more steep yet open tree runs today. I think we did eight runs and I'm now just shy of 100,000 vertical feet skied in four days. Good snow + good weather + a strong group = lots of skiing!
Smooth, buttery snow through long tree runs. Does it get much better?
Day 5, December 27, 2012
I keep thinking that I've seen all that Galena has to offer, and then we have a day like today. A few inches of fluffy snow fell on top of an already deep and soft base, so the fast and open tree runs were especially fun, and we also explored one of the most fun areas of terrain I've ever seen. Our last two runs were in a playful area with steep lines, pillows, and cliffs. The coolest part was that everyone in our group of 11 could find something for them. Our most experienced jumpers including J Weingast and Air Japan (a man and a woman from Japan that jump off of EVERYTHING) tried the bigger stuff, myself and a few others pushed our limits and hit some 10-15
J Weingast finding the fluff. (photo: Megan Gilman)
Joel Gratz enjoying yet another untracked run. (photo: Megan Gilman)
Megan Gilman can't find her legs in the pow. (photo: J Weingast)
J Weingast sending it (and he skied perfectly out of the landing)
photo: Megan Gilman
Day 6, December 28, 2012
I have a good friend Brad that lives in Boulder and has been
"Yes it [heli skiing in British Columbia] will forever change your definition of "epic" but a good powder turn is a good powder turn no matter where it happens. The thing is that a
I'm not the most eloquent writer, so it's hard for me to adequately describe the joy of
A few more pictures...
First turn of the first run on Friday. Snow is soft, so go for it!
Not a bad lunch spot, eh? Megan Gilman & Jason Weingast enjoy the view.
The terrain ranges from perfect turns in the wide open high
...fun rollers and
...jumps with perfectly soft, squishy landings (not mandatory, but too much fun to resist).
And the best part is that it only takes 5-10 minutes between runs!
Day 7, December 29, 2012 (the last day)
It was the perfect end to a perfect week. A quick-moving storm from the north moved in during the early morning hours and snow fell from about 4am through noon.
Snow moved in during the early morning hours.
Nice-sized flakes falling silently through big trees greeted us on our first run.
Morning report: 9 inches of
Our group of 9 numbered 11 for most of the week, representing five countries.
(USA, Japan, Brazil, France, Switzerland)
Megan Gilman bounds through the powder (photo: Jason Weingast).
Joel Gratz attempts to copy Megan's grace with marginal success.
(photo: Jason Weingast)
Mike Oliver of Denver finds the freshies (photo: Jason Weingast).
Joel Gratz enjoys perfect powder (photo: Jason Weingast).
Megan Gilman & Jason Weingast
Check out all of CMH's terrain and upcoming trips at the Canadian Mountain Holidays website.