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Experts Only: the Steep Skiing Challenge - the Best Alternative to Heli-Skiing Alaska

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About to drop a steep couloir on the Challenge at Bella Coola Heli Sports
Yes those are guests on Steep Skiing Challenge at Bella Coola Heli Sports! Jia C
Awesome Steep Skiing Challenge photo by guide Ross Berg / Bella Coola Heli Sport
Getting lowered into a steep couloir on the Steep Skiing Challenge.

Experts Only Heli-Skiing: Arguably the Steepest Guest Heli-Skiing in Canada & the Best Alternative to Heli-Skiing Alaska

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 the most challenging steep terrain in Canada
  • Much less down days compared to heli-skiing in Alaska
  • Enjoy heli-accessed warm-up runs before hitting the bigger slopes
  • Small, cohesive groups of skiers with two or more guides
  • Maximum 2 groups per helicopter!
  • Learn and practice basic ski mountaineering skills including “slough management”, rappelling, glacier travel, rope ascending and others
  • Single, private rooms available on request!

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.

Assuming the guides are comfotable with the group's ability, and the snow/weather conditions, this video highlights a run, or "objective" you could ski! Sweet, eh?

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. 

Accommodation is at the Eagle Lodge and all participants get single rooms! For rates, click on the tab below.

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

Inquire Now!

Call us direct at 1.604.932.3000 or submit the form below.

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Rates & Dates

** NOTE: All our rates include return airfare between Vancouver International Airport (South Terminal) and Bella Coola. We book these flights on your behalf**

2015 Rates and Dates

A  seven night stay is C$11,980 plus tax. This includes the flight Vancouver to Bella Coola, 7 nights accommodation at either the Tweedsmuir Park Lodge or Eagle Lodge, guide service, helicopter drop off and pick up with six days skiing, 75,000 vertical feet, free use of specialized powder skis and safety equipment including a Snowpulse Airbag backpack.

A  five night stay is C$9,680 plus tax. This includes the flight Vancouver to Bella Coola, 5 nights accommodation at either the Tweedsmuir Park Lodge or Eagle Lodge, guide service, helicopter drop off and pick up with four days skiing, 56,000 vertical feet, free use of specialized powder skis and safety equipment including a Snowpulse Airbag backpack.

Extra Heli Skiing: Additional heli-skiing is based on the amount of vertical skied, at a rate of C$52 (plus tax, per person) for every 1,000 foot of vertical skied.

Dates: We strictly limit the number of participants per week and run a very short season for this specialty program. If you are interested, please contact us for more info and to make sure that this program would be suitable for you.

All prices are in Canadian dollars (CAD). Tax rates are 2.5% for international guests & 5% for Canadian residents.