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Climate Positive

The World's First Climate Positive Heli-Skiing Operation

Bella Coola Heli Sports Becomes World’s First Climate Positive Heliskiing Operation

(Press release at bottom of page

Everyone at Bella Coola Heli Sports / Tweedsmuir Park Lodge loves to ski and snowboard; it's more than an industry and a business, it's a passion and a lifestyle that we love to share with guests from around the world. 

To find the best skiing and snowboarding we use helicopters and in that process we burn fossil fuels. For the time being this is unavoidable. The service we provide our guests, the employment we create for our valued staff, and the economic support for the community of Bella Coola is dependant on helicopter use. However, we acknowledge that these carbon-based fuels are contributing to a global crisis of climate change, resulting in a loss of biodiversity and destruction of land, and threatening the very snow we treasure.

With major aspects of the company’s operations dependent on carbon-based aircraft fuels, and with no alternative currently available, co-owner Beat Steiner recognized the need to comprehensively audit the company’s carbon output – from the helicopters we operate to our employees’ daily commutes.

Through this comprehensive audit, the company can now more effectively reduce emissions wherever possible, and has committed to purchasing offsets for the carbon it does produce. The offsets we purchase are through Offsetters for a project in the Great Bear Rainforest. This project helps to preserve vulnerable pockets of BC’s old-growth forests in the very land and environment that has attracted visitors worldwide since the company was founded in 2003. Also important is that the project supports local First Nations and educational platforms that encourage others to join the fight against climate change.

Our journey towards carbon neutrality was inspired by others and we in turn hope to inspire our colleagues in the heli ski industry and beyond to follow suit. To achieve that goal we have committed to going the extra mile and are offsetting 10% more carbon than we produce, making Bella Coola Heli Sports not only carbon neutral, but the first climate positive heliski operator in the world. 

Is It Possible To Make My Entire Trip Carbon Neutral?

Yes, it is possible to offset your entire trip from the moment you leave your house, to heli-skiing and your return trip home!
With the help of The Offsetters, we have calculated and offset our emissions for your entire stay with us. All you need to do is use this calculator to find out how you can make your entire trip carbon neutral or positive by calculating the non-skiing parts of your journey to/from Vancouver!

How Do We Qualify For The Carbon Positive Designation?

In order to become certified Climate Positive we had to first measure our carbon footprint*. The next step was to qualify the actions that were generating carbon dioxide (CO2) and quantify exactly how much CO2 each of these actions was contributing to the total. In our case, our primary sources of CO2 are mobile fuel consumption (jet fuel and gasoline) and stationary fuel consumption (propane). These are followed by shipping and employee commuting. 

By identifying the total amount of CO2 produced by each category, a strategy was developed and an action plan was put in place. The goal was to reduce carbon emissions wherever possible and to offset the emissions that simply could not be reduced. 

When it comes to measuring and offsetting emissions, we relied on a third party organization called Offsetters to qualify and quantify our carbon contributions. We then worked with Offetters to locate grass-roots projects that met or exceeded our goals for emissions offsets.

By multiplying the total CO2 produced annually by the market rate for 1 ton of CO2, and then adding an additional 10%, we were able to identify the annual cost of our carbon emissions in order to purchase the equivalent amount of carbon credits. We then took these carbon credits and used them to fund important projects that focus on putting carbon back in the ground and ensuring that future carbon is not released into the atmosphere. 

“We’re happy to be partnering with Bella Coola Heli Sports”, said Dawn Hancock, Director of Client Engagement at Offsetters. “Organizations that take the time to understand what their impact on the climate is and work to reduce it as much as they can and then -- go the extra mile by offsetting more than they emit – are raising the bar for other companies to join in the fight against climate change.”

*A carbon footprint is the total amount of CO2 that is generated by your actions.


What Project Is Bella Coola Heli Sports / Tweedsmuir Park Lodge Supporting to Offset Our Emissions?

Bella Coola Heli Sports has chosen to purchase offsets which support a local project that is very important to us, The Great Bear Forest Carbon Project.

The Great Bear Forest Carbon Project is an Improved Forest Management project. The focus of the project is to conserve the largest and most ecologically significant temperate rainforest in the world, by converting areas that were previously approved for commercial logging into protected forests, as well as cutting emissions caused by other forestry operations. These coastal old growth forests play an important role in capturing and storing vast amounts of carbon dioxide within the trees and soil, therefore greatly reducing the overall amount of CO2 released into the atmosphere.

Revenue from the sales of carbon offsets are then channeled back into the local First Nations communities, allowing them to create vital jobs within the project area and therefore returning forest management to the original stewards of this land. The initiative also provides funds for clean energy opportunities, tourism and other sustainable opportunities.

Funds from the project are also used to support educational platforms that encourage others to follow suit and do their part for the environment.

At Bella Coola Heli Sports, we recognize the importance of preserving the local wildlife and environment for future generations to enjoy.

Does BCHS Do Anything Else To Be Environmentally Responsible? 

To continue to offer guests a world class heli-skiing experience, we are aware that we must consume some of nature’s resources and leave behind some level of footprint. With the technology that is currently available, it simply does not allow for a completely carbon free and sustainable heli-skiing operation. However, what we can do is strive to create a more balanced approach, and ensure we give back to the environment more than we consume. 

Our primary goal is to effectively reduce emissions wherever we can. The second is to purchase offsets for the carbon we do produce. However, we recognize that purchasing carbon credits or offsetting is not enough. We also need to start from the ground up, and put in the hard work of conserving, reducing and recycling.

We are firm believers in the saying ‘practice what you preach’, and are invested in creating and implementing more sustainable practices across all areas of the organization. We are proud supporters of wildlife research and conservation networks, such as The Brown Bear Research Network, and continue to work closely with the Ministry of Environment & BC Parks to monitor wildlife in our area. We also work very closely with the local community on a number of projects. Two of our wilderness lodges are even off the main grid, and have their own hydro power generation!

For more information on what we do for the community and the environment visit our sustainability page.

It is our hope that we will act as a leader within the heli-skiing and adventure tourism industry and inspire others the way we have been inspired by organizations such as Blackcomb Aviation and Harbour Air, by continuously implementing practices to create a more sustainable future.


 

PRESS RELEASE

 Bella Coola Heli Sports Becomes World’s First Climate Positive Heliskiing Operation 

British Columbia tour operator encourages fellow tourism businesses to raise the benchmark for climate change

Bella Coola, BC, Canada (September 1, 2020): Bella Coola Heli Sports has flown past carbon neutral and become climate positive. After tracking and measuring its greenhouse gas emissions for 2019, the award-winning helicopter skiing company initiated policies to reduce carbon emissions company-wide and purchased offsets that protect old-growth forests in British Columbia (BC). In doing so, the company voted as the World's Best Heli Ski Operation, has achieved a milestone by becoming the world’s first, and only, climate positive heliskiing operation. 

Situated an easy 70-minute flight north of Vancouver, Bella Coola Heli Sports connects skiers and snowboarders around the world with the vast terrain of the Coast Mountains through multi-day heli-skiing and heli-boarding adventures. Visitors have exclusive access to over 3,250,000 acres (13,150 square kilometres) of pristine wilderness, and can choose to stay at any of the 5 wilderness lodges in the company’s portfolio. With major aspects of the company’s operations requiring carbon-based fuels, owner Beat Steiner recognized the need to complete a comprehensive audit – from helicopter output to employees’ daily commute.

“Carbon-based fuels are contributing to a global crisis of climate change, resulting in a loss of biodiversity and destruction of land,” said Steiner. “While there is currently no alternative to carbon-based aircraft fuel available, we are determined to do our part and make a tangible difference, particularly in our home province.”  

After measuring the company’s carbon output and making reductions where possible, Steiner and his team contacted Offsetters, Canada’s leading full carbon management company, and decided to purchase carbon offsets from the Great Bear Forest Carbon Project. This project helps to preserve vulnerable pockets of BC’s old-growth forests in the very land and environment that has attracted visitors worldwide since the company was founded in 2003. Also important is that the project supports local First Nations and educational platforms that encourage others to join the fight against climate change. Steiner took his offsets to the next level: rather than contributing just enough to mitigate the company’s greenhouse gas emissions for 2019, he opted to become climate positive—a designation that means a company has offset at least 10% more than what they emitted.  

Steiner says “By purchasing carbon offsets from high quality projects that are third-party verified to be real, additional and permanent, Bella Coola Heli Sports can be confident that the carbon being sequestered would not have been sequestered otherwise”.  

“We’re happy to be partnering with Bella Coola Heli Sports”, said Dawn Hancock, Director of Client Engagement at Offsetters. “Organizations that take the time to understand what their impact on the climate is and work to reduce it as much as they can and then -- go the extra mile by offsetting more than they emit – are raising the bar for other companies to join in the fight against climate change.”

“I’m really proud of our decision to raise the benchmark for other tour operators and businesses in BC, and around the world, to become climate positive, if possible,” said Steiner. “With the earth experiencing the hottest summers on record and wildfires ravaging our province, we’ve missed the opportunity to take small steps for change – now, we need to be bold, forward-thinking and willing to put in the work to stabilize our world’s climate.”  

Through Offsetters, guests of Bella Coola Heli Sports can also purchase offsets for the non-heliskiing parts of their journey. This gives customers the opportunity to make their entire trip carbon-neutral or even climate positive.

Bella Coola Heli Sports offers various programs targeted to advanced and expert heli-skiers and heli-boarders, with the company’s focus on small group heliskiing helping to maintain physical distancing. Packages include the option to book one of five lodges offering gourmet dining, hot tubs and saunas, massages and more. To learn more about Bella Coola Heli Sports’ climate positive journey, or to book a climate positive heli-skiing experience, visit bellacoolaheliskiing.com

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About Bella Coola Heli Sports

Bella Coola Heli Sports is the world’s first, and only, climate positive heliskiing operation and was voted as the "World's Best Heli Ski Operation" at the 2019, 2018 and 2017 World Ski Awards. It is renowned for, and dedicated to, crafting the ultimate in small group heli-skiing. The company operates in British Columbia’s rugged Coast Mountains, connecting skiers and boarders with more than 3.25 million exclusive acres, making it the largest heli-skiing area on the planet. Access to all the lodges in the company's portfolio is one of the quickest in the industry: all that is required is a short 70-minute flight from Vancouver, meaning it may be possible to ski a few runs on arrival and departure days. After a day on the slopes, guests return to one of five lodges, including Tweedsmuir Park Lodge, a winner of TripAdvisor's Certificate of Excellence and Traveller's Choice Award (Best Small Hotels Canada); and a founding member of The Magnificent 7 Luxury Wilderness Lodges of Canada. Families and groups of friends have plenty of accommodation options, including having exclusive lodge access for just their group as the different lodges can host a maximum of 4, 8, 9, or 16 people.

About Offsetters, a division of NatureBank Asset Management

Offsetters, a division of NatureBank Asset Management, is Canada’s largest and most diversified carbon management solutions provider. Its team of industry leaders specializes in a comprehensive offering of sustainability consultancy services to help organizations understand, reduce, and offset their climate impact. NatureBank Asset Management specializes in advisory, technology and impact project investment services that create value and enhance sustainable commodities and ecological assets while managing climate change risk and maximizing long-term investment in nature. NatureBank provides their customers with a multidisciplinary approach to manage risk, enhance asset performance and secure commercial returns while improving livelihoods and sustainability. For more information, visit www.naturebank.com and www.offsetters.ca.

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Media Contact 
Marika Mousseau
Beattie Tartan 
778.951.7564
marika.mousseau@beattiegroup.com
beattietartan.ca 

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