“We have really only explored 25 per cent of our tenure,” says Jevon Zyp, an experienced engineer in the Kitimat-Stikine region and founder of Skeena Cat Skiing Inc.
New Hazelton sits along the Yellowhead Highway, about 45 minutes outside of Smithers, and is home to around 600 people.
Zyp basically turned his house into a cat ski operation.
A former freestyle snowboarder, Zyp has been mining the white gold for around 12 years. One day, he took a sled tour through this region and was sold.
“Look south (in B.C.), there is no tenure up for grabs anymore,” he said. “Here in the Hazeltons … tenure is available.”
This is the land of cold smoke, “blower POW” as Zyp calls it. He has about 100 square kilometres to tour guests around – about the size of 1,100 football fields.
Every season they explore terrain that no one has skied before. Guests can name these virgin runs, leaving a legacy.
Around here, you are pretty much on your own; it’s the Wild West of skiing. Zyp has been an innovator, building one of the world’s only cat-accessed backcountry camps. At this base camp to pow-topia you pick out your lines over breakfast. By après, you can revel in the day’s adventures.
“It’s the wilds of B.C. around here, and we get to we host skiers and snowboarders looking for a wilderness vacation.”
Frei knows this area is rugged because he grew up here. Building a heli-ski business allows him to construct an experience that allows for plenty of exploring opportunities.
It's people like Zyp, that can get the mind blue-skying about the possibilities up here. To start his business, Zyp sold the $80,000 house he purchased in 2005 (Yes, here in northern B.C. you can still buy houses that won’t take you 60 years to pay off).
If you go
Adventure into the wilds to the rest of the region of Kitimat-Stikine check out the region’s website at http://www.rdks.bc.ca/.
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