Heli Skiing

Trip Start Mar 01, 2009
Trip End Nov 01, 2010

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Flag of Canada  , British Columbia,
Thursday, March 12, 2009

After Jackson I booked myself into a few days of Heli Skiing up in Canada. It was run out of a town called revelstoke, about 5 hours west of Calgary - so basically in the middle of nowhere.

I flew into Calgary, then the tour company, CMH, picked everyone up on a coach and we drove for 5 hours out to Revelstoke - fantastic drive, great scenery driving through the mountains.

The package was one of those one price for everything deals, so from when we're picked up in Calgary to when we're dropped off 5 days later there's nothing to pay for, everything was included, from cooked breakfasts and stretching classes to 71,000 guaranteed vertical feet of skiing.

The hotel in Revelstoke originally looked a little shabby but after some looking around I realised the hotel was home to the best restaurant in town, a ski shop, an Irish Bar and as unexpected bonus, the local strip club, 'Shredders' (aka The Revelstoke Ballet).

The way it was organised was there were about 30 people on the trip and since the chopper carried 11 skiers we got split into 3 groups, and each group had a designated guide.

The tour company, CMH, had access to several mountain ranges in all directions from Revelstoke so we could pretty much go where ever we wanted to ski. The two main ranges we skied were the Monashee's and the Caribous.

Most of the drop off points and pick up points for the chopper were pre-determined and marked by not much more than just a small flag in the ground, so the guides were completely familiar with the areas.

When  we got dropped off at the top of any run, the guide would always give us a run down of the hill and terrain. On day 1 we had a super nice guy guide who would pleasantly say  'stay within 20ft of my tracks', or 'follow my tracks exactly'.

For the rest of the trip I got into the fast group and we had Todd, the head guide. His run downs on the slopes were more like, 'if you go to the left over there, you're fucked, and if you go to far to the right you're really fucked'. He was also dyslexic so he kept saying right as he pointed left... confusing at first but an excellent guide.

When we got picked up by the chopper at the base of each run we had to get on our knees and huddle in a tight group while the chopper came in and landed about 2 ft away from the group. The first couple of times was kind of concerning, felt like it was going to land right on top of us. Check out the video of this and you'll see what I mean.

We'd punch out 3 or 4 runs before lunch and 2 or 3 after lunch depending on everyone's energy levels. The last run was always referred to as the beer run - t was considered bad luck to call it the last run since thats when all the accidents happen. so we never did a last run, just a beer run.

When we got back to the hotel the routine was dump the ski gear, whack on the swimmers and a bath robe, grab a couple beers from the hotel bar then head out to the hot tub and let the legs recover.

After 5 days of leg killing skiing it was over. For the last day and a half everyone was going harder and faster, we were all making the most of every run and taking every jump and flying straight down every hill.

On the last night, we all piled back onto the bus to Calgary with a couple cases of beer to keep us entertained.

CMH estimated that each skier gets 71,000 vertical feet of skiing. When I left I'd squeezed out 99,000. Regardless of whether or not I have a job next year, I'll be back.
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