What is Heli-Assisted Ski Touring?
Our Heli-Assist Ski Touring program is the perfect hybrid of Alpine Touring and Helicopter Skiing: more exploration and freedom than traditional lodge-based ski touring and more economical than traditional heli-skiing.
- Min. ability Strong Intermediate
- Group size 5-10 person
- Groups per heli 1 or 2
- Season Winter & Spring
The Best of Both Worlds! Ski Touring with Helicopter Support
Discover the beautiful, rugged Coast Range Mountains by using both helicopters and your "low speed" quads!
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 day's 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 of 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 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 Magazine.
Ski and tour all day and experience true adventure then return to a warm bed and personalized Canadian hospitality at the Eagle Lodge, located near the village of Hagensborg and just 5 minutes from the Bella Coola Airport.
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.
Sample 7 night Heli-Assist Ski Touring itinerary
Day 1) Depart from the South Terminal (5 minute taxi ride from the Main Terminal) at Vancouver international Airport around mid-morning on the 70 minute flight to Bella Coola. Our staff will greet you at the airport with a picnic lunch. The guides will takeover and do the safety briefing. If the weather is good, the group will have the option to: 1) head to the lodge, 2) use one of the heli drops included in the package for a short afternoon tour, or 3) do a few heli-skiing runs (extra charge and dependent on the availability of the helicopter if not in use by other non-Heli-Assist groups).
Day 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 & 7 - A morning heli drop in the remote and rugged Coast Range. Tour amongst towering peaks, glaciers, couloirs and powder bowls. Heli pick up in the late afternoon.
Day 8 - If the group has unused heli drops, or would like to purchase extra vertical this might be possible. Spend the morning skiing your way to the Bella Coola Airport. On arrival, your bags will be waiting for you so that you can change clothes for the flight back to Vancouver, where you will arrive mid afternoon. We strongly suggest booking connecting flights for 6pm or later. If you live in North America, you could heliski in the morning, then be home that night. For Europeans, there is often a flight back to Europe…so it isn’t necessary to waste a night in Vancouver!