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Canada Does Carbon-Neutral Heli Skiing

11-Dec-2021

For space and privacy, it could be time to look further away for your 2021 – 2022 winter skiing. Like Iceland, Sweden, or perhaps Canada. And Canada being Canada, the heliskiing is cooler, higher and carbon neutral.

Sure, it takes longer to get there, but consider this. Les 3 Vallees has 400kms of slopes and 162 ski lifts. We know a place in Canada, between Alaska and Central British Columbia, with 5500 square kilometres of big mountain powder and hardly a single ski lift.

Yes, this is where you go to ski. Not to be hungover from the apres ski or pose in the latest Moncler ski pants. Where the vibe is more North Face (never stop exploring) than Stella McCartney (prance around in an outrageous coat). So leave the posers back home, because in Canada’s Skeena Mountains you can do a first descent and get naming rights on previously un-skied slopes.

Typically, Canada heli skiing operators promise 30,000 vertical metres during a week of skiing. Restrictions on landing zones and a lack of empty slopes makes this virtually impossible in the Alps. Canada was already way ahead of the Alps in terms of heliskiing. There’s more freedom and more height. With our partner in Canada, clients typically enjoy 45,000 vertical metres in one week (see how your Stella McCartney coat deals with that!)

In the Alps you’re dropped off with another 10 – 11 skiers at a set point on a set time. In the Skeena Mountains it’s hardly worth leaving the breakfast table when there are such crowds. You might as well get fat on maple syrup pancakes instead. Smaller, faster helicopters take a maximum of six skiers and there are over 250 locations the guides can take you, depending on conditions and your preferences.

Northern Escape recently overhauled its operations and introduced carbon offsetting, making them one of the world’s few carbon-neutral heli-ski operators. On days when the snowfall is too heavy they operate a snowcat mobile, essentially a ski tank that carves up the mountain so you can still spend a day skiing.

Guests on their standard heliski packages are based at their renovated Yellow Cedar Lodge. It’s nice, but we much prefer the new Northern Escape Mountain Lodge. It’s off-the-grid comfort for only ten skiers, with a hot tub, a renowned chef and space to lounge around.

An interesting feature of this lodge best explains who this experience is for. Ten skiers can be accommodated in single rooms. It shows this isn’t where you go with a group of friends for some social skiing. It’s for serious skiers who want the ultimate experience on the slopes, whether with their own plus one, or with new like-minded friends.

To get here you’ll need to fly internationally to Vancouver, then take a 90-minute domestic flight to Terrace. From here the lodge is only a 20-minute road transfer. And from the lodge, 5500 square kilometres of empty slopes are waiting. Minimum packages are three days, but we’d recommend five or seven days all inclusive.

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