Last Updated: November 14, 2022


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| Featured Trip Report |

March 2009 (Whistler Heli - Calpow Peak/Powder Mountain zone, descents into Callaghan Valley plus Rainbow Mountain)

The 6-week drought finally relented allowing winter to roar back to life for a strong March finish. Desperate to make up for lost time; our modus operandi was to catch as many chair-zero's and untracked lines as possible. For a time it seemed as if Thursday/Friday had become the new Saturday/Sunday. Worries that we wouldn't be able to ride-out our Crystal and WB pre-paids this season were quickly put to rest. Hats off to Lupo and the Crystal crew for taking a couple young padwans under your wing and teaching us the ways of the snow-samurai! As I'm sure Agata can attest, those were some all-time best chuting, slashing, dropping and yes, poaching days on the hill...period. And rest assured, your 'secrets' are safe with us.

Conditions up in BC fared notably worse this season - it seems the storm track this winter has been focused primarily on Vancouver and southward. I found many of Whistler's chute entrances considerably bonier than I recall them being in years past, with the unexpected and propitious consequence of scaring many away (never before seen so many back away in fear from the entrance to West Cirque!). Nevertheless, the 45cm day on Peak was nuts...but, holy hell I've never seen such crowds before either! The secret's out folks. Stay home or go somewhere else please.

Like junkies desperate for the next fix, we decided on a whim to up the ante and reserved our seats on Whistler Heli's new Bell 407. What can I say; the habit certainly isn't cheap, but 11 runs ranging from 2.5k - 4k(?) ft under ideal snow and weather conditions will leave you wondering why you bother riding lifts at all. Not a bad way to wrap up this mixed-bag of a winter we've endured I say. Not bad at all.

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February 2010 (Whistler Heli - Rutherford zone, descents from Appa Peak and more)

Round two with Whistler Heli, this time in the Rutherford Creek zone/area a bit north of Whistler Village. High winds in the alpine and snowpack stability concerns forced a more conservative slope selection than we were hoping for. Great lines were had, but we cut it short after the 6 runs included in the package. Of note was the DHS-style security screening at the Whistler heli-port - yet another 'enhancement' courtesy of the Olympics no doubt.

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January 2011 (Powder Mountain Heli - Cypress Peak zone, descents both sides of divide)

By a sheer stroke of luck, we were offered a last minute opportunity to claim our seats on Powder Mountain's heli (operated by Black Tusk) at a door buster price that I simply couldn't resist. We each had a couple pre-paids on Powder Mountain's snowcat that we intended to start utilizing, but unfortunately all seats were booked by the time we chose to exercise the option. All things said, I'll take a heli day over the cat anytime.

Powder Mountain's tenure seem to be concentrated on slopes around Cypress Peak with the possibility of forays farther out towards the Pemberton Icefields, the Tantalus Range and beyond. The terrain out here is open and friendly and the potential is limitless. PM's cat operation for that matter is also a worthwhile alternative (photos included), with access to excellent alpine terrain that in the right conditions and on the perfect day almost rivals their heli operation.

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March 2011 (Whistler Heli - Tenquile zone, into Birkenhead River Valley plus Chipmunk and Goat)

Having overheard tales of epic lines and only the finest blower powder in the area simply referred to as "Hurley" left me with a burning desire to someday go heliskiing there. More than once have I envisioned the ski potential while climbing around nearby Railroad Pass during the summer. Suffice to say that it doesn't take much of an imagination to get an idea for what is possible out here. Now imagine my surpise and excitement when the shuttle pulled north out of Whistler with the driver informing us we would be heading towards Pemberton and beyond where we would rendezvous with the heli. This could only mean one thing, and it was all good!

Whistler has a number of heli ski tenures out this way actually, and best I could tell we spent the day riding slopes in the viscinity of Tenquile Lake roughly between Birkenhead Lake Provincial Park and Railroad Pass.

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