TERRACE, BC — Have you ever been swept away by a place so much that you just didn’t want to leave? That’s exactly what happened to Dave Wilson on his first trip in a chopper with Northern Escape Heli-Skiing.
"This is sick. I have never seen so much snow,” was Wilson’s quote on day one (of four). This line was quickly followed up with, "Do you have any jobs available here at the lodge? I’ll wash dishes if it can plug me into here," said Wilson, with a fixed grin.
And I don’t blame him one bit for wanting to quit his day job and move to Terrace, a veritable snow globe.
Acres and acres to play in
Home to one of the world’s largest heli-ski land tenures, this was Wilson’s first experience with the legendary powder. A season here traditionally features 20 to 30 metres (upwards of 100 feet) of the white stuff.
With a chopper as your chairlift there are never any worries on getting in first tracks; it’s more about whether you’ll be able to get through the day with just one pair of legs. Many can be done by 2 pm, as I have found in my experience heli-skiing, it is as much about physical condition and stamina as it is about ability levels.
Those who have never experienced a full day of the knee deep, light and fluffys with every turn leaving you in a white out shouldn’t worry if their day is shorter than usual because, trust me, a short day heli-skiing is a full day anywhere else.
Let’s get the story straight
From past discussions I have found people carry misconceptions about the sport, thinking that it’s only reserved for those “extreme” double diamond hounds, featuring over-the-top steep lines and that you jump out of the chopper as it hovers over your line. These ideas couldn’t be further from the truth.
Fact is, most days up at Northern Escape are spent in epic powder bowls chowing down on as much snow as the legs can handle. And yes, the chopper lands, the door opens and you get out in single file onto a very stable ridge line, with one of the most breathtaking views before you.
Exceptional and highly experienced guides
Wilson, a confident blue to black diamond snowboarder, certainly wasn’t having any issues, enjoying run after run in the stellar surroundings. Void of any development or any human contact other than your group, the time up at Northern Escape is something truly special.
Experienced guides help navigate the terrain full of impressive crevasses, cornices and endless vistas. All of Northern Escape’s guides come with International or Canadian Mountain Guide certification, translating into six to 10 years worth of training before they can even take out a single guest.
Getting and staying there
Northern Escape is located in the Skeena Mountain Range of British Columbia, about a two hour flight north of Vancouver. Both Air Canada and Hawk Air fly out of Vancouver up to Terrace, BC, where Northern Escape is within a 30 minute drive.
Northern Escape Heli-Skiing offers some stellar accommodations in the form of several lodges – each unique with dining options plus appointments and amenities to ensure your experience is truly one of a kind. For more information, visit www.northernescapeheliskiing.ca.
With an average annual snowfall of 480 inches (1200 cm), Shames Mountain is a powder hounds happy place. Only 35 kilometers from Terrace B.C., it offers 28 runs and plenty of access to backcountry bliss. Planning a weekend get-away is easy with five flights arriving daily from Vancouver on Hawkair or other choices from Air Canada. Rent a car at the airport using the #SkiNorthBC discount campaign then toss the bags in a welcoming room at a local inn or lodge then hit the powder.
If you go
Visit the official Terrace website to learn more about the region http://www.visitterrace.com/stage.php/events/activities
Check out the conditions at Shames Mountain here http://mymountaincoop.ca
Fly into Terrace via Air Canada and Hawkair with daily non-stop daily service: http://www.yxt.ca
For all your Travel Northern BC details, the folks from Northern BC Tourism can help make the planning process smooth. http://www.travelnbc.com
#SkiNorthBC and explore more. SnowSeekers has partnered with National Car rental to secure you a SnowSeekers preferred rate. Make a reservation online, or with an agent and in the Contract field enter XVC4SNO for a savings that could cover your ski pass cost every day.