Bella Coola Heli Sports

Canada: British Columbia

Bella Coola Heli Sports is your choice if you are looking for a special experience: small groups for skiing, all this within wild and breathtaking, heavily glaciated scenery!

Base 2: Big Mountain Lodge Packages

Big Mountain Vertical

More Powder, More Turns And More Bang For Your Buck

You asked for it and here it is. The Big Mountain Vertical program is all about maximizing the amount of helicopter skiing and boarding per dollar spent. We have stripped out the fluff and focused on the goods.

Trip Highlights

  • The best priced small group heli ski program in Canada
  • Maximum of 3 groups of 4 people per helicopter
  • Flexible dates and lengths of stay
  • Heliski on your arrival and departure days thereby maximizing your vacation time!
  • Single occupancy available at modest additional cost

 

This is the best priced small format heli skiing in Canada and we encourage you to make your own comparisons. How do we keep the price down? Certainly the ski and boarding quality has not been compromised, but it's a fair question. The answer is that this is our "lost leader", we want to introduce you to heli skiing in Bella Coola and are not making much profit on this program.

We have retained all the key elements that make our original Tweedsmuir Lodge Heli Skiing programs so special. Ski groups are small and cohesive and we are flying the extremly versatile A-star helicopters. This format is a proven winner, delivering a superior helicopter skiing experience. 

Another advantage; the package boasts flexible dates & durations. No need to commit to a week if you do not have the time. Pick from 3, 4, 5, 6 or 7 night stays. This flexibility is particularly advantageous for clients wanting to combine a heli ski trip with a warm up visit to Whistler, or for people living in the Pacific Northwest south to California who can pop up for a long weekend.

Accommodation is at Bella Coola Mountain Lodge. This is a centrally located motel style establishment located just 5 minutes from the heli port. Meals are made and served on the premises specifically for you and your group to ensure you are fueled up to heliski and ride as long as there is daylight.

The Big Mountain Vertical program adds up to the best value for your dollar of any heli skiing in the world. Yes, there may be less expensive programs available in places like Russia, or places with equally good skiing, but no other program offers all the advantages and attributes of our Big Mountain Vertical program. Afterall, you will be skiing in British Columbia, the birth place of heli skiing, and you can expect reliable snowfalls, tree skiing options during bad weather, and of course the world's most comprehensive safety standards as set and mandated by HeliCat Canada.

It's all about the vert, and you'll be sure to find like minded hardcore skiers in your heli. Come by yourself or with friends for 3, 4, 5 days or more. We've got a lot of lines to shred this winter, hopefully you'll be here with us.

It is recommend to book early as we limit numbers to 10 seats per week.

 

Heli-Assisted Ski Touring

The Best of Both Worlds! Ski Touring with Helicopter Support.

Discover the beautiful Bella Coola Mountains by using both helicopters and your "low speed" quads. Our Heli Assisted Ski Touring program is the perfect hybrid of Alpine Touring and Helicopter Skiing: more exploration and freedom than touring, and more economical than traditional heli skiing.

Trip Highlights

  • Heli drop first thing in the morning for a warm up run day
  • Ski and tour in a different area every day enjoying the varied views
  • Stay in a comfortable lodge at night with superb food and massages
  • Enjoy the serenity of the beautiful and rugged mountains surrounding Bella Coola while getting exercise
  • Option to ski additional heli runs when conditions warrant it

The day starts with a heli drop high in the alpine, a bonus heli run so to speak. The remainder of the day the group uses their “low speed” quads and generally can ski another 2-3 runs before hitching a ride on the helicopter back down to the lodge.

The days' pace and objectives are formulated in conjunction with the guide starting the previous evening and on an on going basis throughout the day. We want to make it clear that these trips do not need to be backbreaking expeditions. The emphasis is to have fun and enjoy the beautiful Bella Coola mountains while getting a decent bit of exercise at the same time.

A particular advantage is that every day you can ski in a different geographic area. One day it can be by the fjords, the next near the ice cap and the big glaciers, then in the Big Snow Zone or some nice tree runs. We can also engineer traverses of terrain where you end the day in a totally different zone from the start of the day. This variety is of course not possible when you book a trip at a ski touring lodge where you end up skiing the same couple bowls every day.

The best thing about the program is the flexibility to do additional heli runs when and if the group decides it wants to do so. For example, once you are already up in the mountains it doesn’t take much additional flying time to do a second drop and a third or fourth or alternatively, to do one additional heli drop in the afternoon when the machine is back to pick you up.

We recommend coming later in March or during April. By this time the days are longer and the weather is generally a bit more settled. It'll be getting on to spring in the valley, but the snow will still be powder in the alpine so no worries on that score. However, it’s possible to do this program any time starting early January through to the end of May. Each month has its particular attractions and advantages.

If you'd like to get a feel for our program, there's a great article on it here: Mountain Life (Coast Mountains).

Lodging

Ski and tour all day and experience true adventure then return to a warm bed and personalized Canadian hospitality at Bella Coola Mountain Lodge.

Educational Value

Our goal is to share our knowledge of the magnificent mountains. Our guides are well versed in the local flora, fauna, history and culture of this dramatic landscape. They are happy to share their mountain skills too.

Packing List

Clothing

• Wool and/or synthetic socks
• Base layer Top and Bottoms - synthetic, wool or silk
• Mid-insulation Layer Top and Bottom
• Light wind shell
• Weather layer Top and Bottoms – Gore-Tex or other waterproof breathable fabric
• Down or synthetic jacket
• Toque – wool or synthetic
• Brimmed Cap
• Face Warmer – Scarf, neck tube, face mask
• Light Gloves
• Insulated Gloves or Mitts

Travel Equipment

• Skis or split-board
• Boots
• Poles
• Skins
• Ski Crampons (optional)
• Helmet (optional)
• Repair kit – Tools and parts to fix your personal travel rig
• Light weight ski/mountaineering harness
• One triple action carabiner or two locking carabiners, two non-locking carabiners
• 2-5m 7mm prussick cord, 1-1.5m 7mm prussick cord
• Skin wax

Safety Equipment

• Light weight Shovel
• Probe

Personal

• Ski Pack – Light and comfortable, 30-40 litres
• Sunglasses
• Goggles
• Sun and lip sunscreen
• Water bottle or Camelback
• Thermos (optional)
• Blister kit
• Camera (optional)

 

Experts Only: the Steep Skiing Challenge

Experts Only Heli-Skiing: Arguably the Steepest Guest Heli-Skiing in Canada

If you like to ski or board more challenging terrain, then this is the program for you. Whether it's couloirs, big faces or steep lines, Bella Coola is the ideal place to push your envelope. The terrain is impressive, as showcased in any number of ski movies, and the snowpack is on average more stable then most anywhere else in the world.

Trip Highlights

  • Ski arguably the most challenging steep terrain in Canada
  • Enjoy heli-accessed warm-up runs before hitting the bigger slopes
  • Small, cohesive groups of skiers with two or more guides
  • Learn and practice basic ski mountaineering skills including “slough management”, rappelling, glacier travel, rope ascending and others
  • NEW for 2014: Single, private rooms!

We operate this program in late March, April and early May. The days are longer, the weather is more settled and most importantly the snow pack has firmed up. It is at this time of year that the steeper slopes are in the best shape, while at the same time still likely to have a covering of fresh powder.

The program will start with some regular heli skiing so that your guide can asses everybody's ability level. After all, they want to make sure to challenge you, but don't want to get you in over your head. Weather permitting this will be on the afternoon of your arrival day.

In addition to the opening half day of skiing, the program includes a further five full days of skiing/boarding with an average of 6-7 runs per day. The first runs will be warm ups, and then after lunch the idea is to go ski a couple of proper objectives. These can be couloirs or a big mountain faces. The runs may include some hiking, climbing and rappelling to get into position. Our estimate is that you will ski 15,000 or so vertical feet (5,000 v.m.) per day. In any case, over the course of your week the program we guarantee a minimum of 75,000 vertical feet of skiing regardless of how many runs you do per day.

We are anticipating that one of the days you are in the valley will be a rest or a weather day and that is why we have only included 5 and half days of skiing. To ski the bigger slopes requires flying into the alpine and if the weather is bad this may not be possible. However, if it is blue skies everyday and the group does want to ski and snowboard every day then it is easy to do so. Additional heli-skiing is based on the amount of vertical skied, at a rate of C$50 (plus tax, per person) for every 1,000 foot of vertical skied.

One of the Lead Guides for the group is Jia Condon, one of Canada's most accomplished ski mountaineers and adventurers. He has many first descents to his name, years of guiding experience, as well as tons of stories and one heck of a slideshow to share with you. In addition, there will be a second guide with the group to help out.

Important Info

  • Snowpacks are variable and we can not guarantee steep skiing every day, but with some of the best heli skiing in the world as your consolation prize on those days when it is not safe to ski steep, you will still have a blast!
  • If you overrate your ability we reserve the right to move you into our regular heli ski program (if there is space or have you sit out if there is not). Think carefully about your abilities and call us to ask questions before booking this program.

Packing List

  • A helmet (mandatory). If you do not own a helmet perhaps consider one of the few helmets on the market that are rated for both skiing and mountaineering such as this one
  • We strongly recommend ski boots that have a rubber or “Vibram” sole (for improved traction when hiking or rapelling into position)
  • In addition to the above, see our general heliskiing packing list for other items you may wish to bring