If you’ve ever wondered why 95% of the world’s heli skiing operators are based in Canada check out our 4 reasons why heli skiing in Canada is a must for everyone’s bucket lists.
They say size doesn’t matter, but in the case of heli skiing, Canada’s sheer scale makes it the perfect place to use a helicopter to access skiing which otherwise would be impossible to get to. To give you a comparison, we work with Canadian Mountain Holidays (CMH Heli Skiing) whose heli ski tenure is a third of the size of Switzerland! On top of this, the variety of terrain in Canada is unrivaled; you can expect endless pillow lines, giant Alpine bowls, massive glacial runs as well as amazing tree runs. So, it is safe to say, in terms of skiable terrain – Canada has it all.
TWO// SNOW QUALITY
There’s an abundance of snow in Canada which is why it attracts 2.5 million skiers per year – and by abundance we mean it has a world famous reported annual snowfall of 12-15 metres.
However, the devil is in the detail; not all Canadian mountain ranges in western Canada have been created equal.
The Rocky Mountains for example are a little further east and as such much of the precipitation has already fallen by the time the systems reach, so they have a lower (relative) snowfall. In contrast there’s the Coastal Mountains to the west (home to the famous Whistler) where there are big snowfalls from systems straight off the Pacific, however these can often lead to quite wet snow. The magic really happens in the interior Columbia Mountain range of western BC which sits right in-between the two and has the best of both worlds, namely heaps of light, dry, snow.
Central to these perfect snow conditions is the Columbia River, a natural snow river that runs through the Columbia mountains and which re-charges the clouds and leads to consistent precipitation throughout the season.
The tree skiing in the interior ranges of western Canada is unique. The trees are where the powder tends to be the deepest and staying perfect for longer as the snow is less affected by the wind and sun. The huge bonus of having skiing in the forests is that when it’s not sunny and you can’t ski the big glaciers up in the Alpine you can still get out to ski these beautiful majestic forests. The trees provide some protection from inclement weather as well as also providing better visibility for pilots and skiers, massively reducing the risk of the dreaded ‘down-day’. This is without doubt the reason why the interior ranges of British Columbia have the most reliable heli skiing in the world.
You are spoilt for choice when heli skiing in Canada because 95% of all the heli ski operators in the world are based here. Not to mention that 80% of them just operate in British Columbia. We work with the biggest (and longest running) of these operators, CMH Heli Skiing. CMH have access to a tenure that is a third of the size of Switzerland, and within this area they have 11 different lodges to choose from. Each lodge offers something a little different in terms of heli ski terrain, lodging and group sizes and so the scale of the operation means that whether you’re an expert looking for a faster programme or a beginner looking for an introduction to powder there is something that suits – your choice is limitless!