"Top 10 Heli-Ski Destinations in North America" - Outside Magazine
This is what Outside Magazine had to say:
“Bella Coola – The best place to make your own ski porn!
Countless ski movies have been shot with Bella Coola Heli Sports of western British Columbia thanks to a more stable snowpack that sets up on steep faces, allowing pros like Hugo Harrison to bag big lines that, in more unstable conditions, would scare most other heli-outfits into liability rants. And don’t be fooled into thinking you’ll be battling heavy wet snow. Bella Coola’s permit stretches across 2.64 million acres (update - now 3.25 million!) of the Coast Range, which sucks moisture from the snow as storms pass over the peaks. That means you can ski drier fluff on more mellow terrain in the east while waiting for the big stuff in the west to set up. And with just 36 guests heli-skiing this area each week, you’ll never hear guides saying you have to farm the slope and set your lines right next to theirs. The lines can run 6,000-vertical-feet and with 100 feet of annual snowfall, they can be skied well into April. Sign up for the new weeklong Steep Skiing Challenge and fire up the Go Pro: After some warm up runs you’ll jump onto a "proper objective", which may include some ski mountaineering skills like rappelling into a couloir.”
While Bella Coola offers Expert Only programs, we also cater to 1st timers and less aggressive skiers (you should be a strong intermediate i.e. can ski blue runs with confidence and some black runs) who enjoy the HUGE alpine bowls.
- Exclusively Small Group Heli-Skiing – just 4 to 5 guest per group with a highly experienced guide
- Small number of groups using the helicopter;
- Just 1 group of 9 at Pantheon Heli Ranch
- Just 1 group of 8 at Terra Nostra Guest Ranch
- Just 1 group of 5 at Mystery Mountain Lodge
- Just 2 or 3 groups of 4 in 1 heli at Eagle Lodge
- Just 2 groups of 4 per heli at Tweedsmuir Park Lodge most of the time in High Season (occasionally 3 groups of 4 will use the machine)
- World's Largest Contiguous Tenure – at 3.25 million acres (13,150 sq/kms, 5,077 sq/m), that’s 614 times bigger than all of Vail, 398 times Whistler-Blackcomb combined and bigger than the entire Swiss Alps (125 times larger than the whole Trois Vallées)! All for a maximum of 54 guests spread over 5 lodges!
- Ski First Descents – due to the enormous size of Bella Coola’s terrain, guests can still bag first descents, especially at our Pantheon and Mystery Mountain Lodges. This is extremely rare in Canadian heliskiing.
- Best Variety of Programs;
- Classic Vert - our 'regular' heli-skiing program – 3,4,5,6 or more days of the best heli-skiing on the planet
- Classic PLUS - basically the Classic Vert program, but with a FREE night of accommodation and meals added on during early season!
- Experts Only – the Steep Skiing program is for experts only...and we mean experts!
- Heli-Assisted Ski Touring – Ski touring with a little bit of help from the heli! 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. Bella Coola Heli Sports 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 general area every day. Oh, and every morning begin the day with a heli drop at the top of a run, and every evening you stay in beautiful accommodation, dine on delicious 3 course meals, drink fine wine from the extensive cellar and receive personalized service! Pretty cool eh?
- Rod & Ski Club – Bella Coola Heli Sports is located in some of the best salmon and trout fishing rivers in the world. In the spring and early summer, guests can book a trip where they heliski beautiful corn snow (and sometimes powder) in the morning, then after lunch they swap skis for fishing rods and waders in hope of catching a 50lbs spring salmon!
- Private Heli-Skiing & Exclusive Lodge Use – Have exclusive use of the helicopter and the whole lodge, with no other groups, just yours. Each lodge can host; 4 people at Mystery Mountain Lodge, 8 people at Pantheon Heli Ranch, 12 people at Eagle Lodge and 16-17 people at Tweedsmuir Park Lodge
- Best Arrival/Departure Procedure – It’s possible to fly into Bella Coola Airport where staff meet you, then you heliski your way to the Lodge! Then on departure day, you heliski to the airport, landing right next to the airplane taking you back to Vancouver. What a rockstar start and finish!
- Huge Snowfalls – Bella Coola receives between 65-100ft (20-30m) on average over the winter!
- Huge Diversity in Terrain - Glaciers, open bowls, gladed trees, huge rock spires…
- Huge Vertical & Long Descents - Many runs are 5000 to 6000 vertical feet (1500 to 1800 vertical metres), with the longest yielding 7000 vertical feet (2150 vertical meters) of leg-burning utopia
- Flexible Itineraries – trip duration can be for 3, 4, 5, 6 days or more
- 3 Gourmet Meals per Day – Including continental and cooked breakfasts, packed lunch in the field, hors d'œuvre après ski snacks, +3 course dinner
- Safety – free use of personal safety gear including transceiver, SnowPulse Airbag Pack & Probe
- Free Rental Equipment - Skis and snowboards designed for deep powder, big mountain riding!
- Pantheon Heli Ranch - Mostly single occupancy rooms with shared washrooms, though 2 have ensuite washrooms
- Mystery Mountain Lodge - Single occupancy rooms with shared washrooms
- Eagle Lodge - Double occupancy rooms with ensuites
- Tweedsmuir Park Lodge - Double occupancy chalets (limited single occupancy upgrades may be possible) with ensuites
- Terra Nostra Guest Ranch - Double occupancy rooms with ensuites
- Spa Facilities, Sauna, Large Hot Tub & Fitness Centre at Tweedsmuir Park Lodge. Eagle Lodge has an outdoor hot tub and Pantheon Heli Ranch has a sauna.
- Wireless Internet – available in lodge and private guest chalets
- Weather Day Activities – With the huge snowfalls there’s occasional weather days. Depending on which lodge, activities include fly-fishing, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, Icelandic Horse rides, a Via Ferrata course, E-Bikes and more!