Without doubt, Bella Coola has the PERFECT type of snow for the amazing type of terrain that we ski.
Would we want Utah or Japan dry powder in Bella Coola?
No way! Ummm, what?
Did that get your attention? It's true. We do not want the same snow consistency as places like Japan and Utah. Why?
Light, dry snow is not as cohesive as the snow that falls in the Coast Range. That type of snow, on our steeper terrain, would cause a lot of safety issues. The snow that falls here, in huge amounts, is the perfect consistency where it creates a more stable snowpack, yet guests can still rip lines in deep powder and get faceshot after faceshot!
It's the best of both worlds.
The photos below illustrate the type of snow quality we can experience in Bella Coola.
(Click here if you are looking for the Snow Report)
Combine Vail Colorado, Whistler BC and the entire Swiss Alps, cover everything with powder snow, then remove all but 56 of the skiers, and you have Bella Coola Heli Sports. With over 3,550,000 acres of breathtaking heliski & snowboard terrain, a strict limit on the number of visitors per week, and jet-powered helicopters, this is the ultimate heli-skiing and heli-boarding destination.
The range of mountains from Bella Coola south to Mt. Waddington, at the southern end of our ski area, is one the most dramatic and scenic anywhere in the world. By Himalayan standards, the peaks are not particularly high (the scenery will take your breath away, not the altitude), but they are very wild and remote. Many peaks and even whole valleys are still unnamed. There are no towns, no roads, no ski lifts, and no people. This is of course perfect for heli-skiing!
Bella Coola is blessed with plentiful and reliable snow. Most years there is a 4 to 5 metre base in the alpine with total snowfall averaging 20 to 30 metres (65 to 100 feet) over the course of the season (during the winter of 2011/2012, we had a 6 metre (20 foot) base at treeline and 10 metres (33 feet) in the alpine)! Best of all, it is usually a stable snowpack which means we can heli-ski more challenging and interesting terrain than at most other heli-skiing BC destinations. These conditions result from the fact that our playground straddles the Coast Range Mountains from a wetter western periphery to a drier eastern zone. Perfect!
British Columbia enjoys a well-deserved reputation for having the most reliable snow in the world. During the winter months, weather systems roll in like clockwork off the Pacific and as they pass over the mountains the moisture is deposited as snow. The Coast Mountains are the first range to be hit and as a result, get the majority of the snow.
With an abundance of snow to the west and a sunnier, drier climate pushing in from the east, we have found the ideal location for heli-skiing. During a storm cycle, we can ski the trees close to the lodges, but during high pressure, we can ski the big snow zones to the west and the high peaks to the south. There are always fresh tracks to be found.
The snowpack in Bella Coola is known for being significantly more stable than most. This is a direct result of our consistent and temperate climate, combined with reliable and plentiful snowfall.
Having what are generally low recorded avalanche hazards, allows us to offer a more exciting skiing and snowboarding experience. Although safety is always the overriding determinant, we can usually access steeper and more interesting terrain than most of our competitors.
When the storms roll in and the snow is falling we go ski the trees. We have many great tree runs only a few minutes flight from our lodges. In addition, these tree runs are getting better all the time. Every autumn we have a team out "glading" for 2-3 weeks. This includes removing low branches and cutting down the little trees between the big ones, making it possible to open up the terrain significantly for heli-skiing.