When spring has sprung, before the grass is riz, Bella Coola’s where the best off-piste is!
Here are five reasons why Bella Coola Heli Sports (BCHS) — which was recently crowned winner of the World’s Best Heli Ski Operation for a fifth consecutive year at the World Ski Awards — raises the bar for bros and bras alike and goes big, steep and deep with epic terrain, endless powder and can stake its claim to some of the best spring skiing in the world:
1. Bigger is Better:
Whether it’s steeps and spines, glades and glaciers or half pipes and humongous bowls, there’s no shortage of wicked terrain that will slake your thirst for snow and whet your wax appetite in the beautiful backcountry of Bella Coola, BC.
When we say no shortage, we mean it — we’re talking a tenure of 3.55 million acres exclusive to BCHS. That’s 668 times bigger than all of Vail, 434 times bigger than Whistler and Blackcomb combined, and bigger than the entire Swiss Alps. All for a maximum of 56 guests at our five wilderness lodges and new MV Cascadia catamaran.
Many of the runs in our area are 5,000 to 6,000 ft (1,500 to 1,800 m) with the longest yielding 7,000 ft of leg-burning utopia, and we’ve got more than 900 (and counting!) runs with a huge amount of valleys, let alone faces, where not even our most seasoned guides have explored. In other words, virgin powder abounds.
Our highest drop-off is 9,500 ft (2,896 m), our lowest pick-up is at 3,000 ft (914 m) and the highest peak in our tenure is Mt. Monarch at 11,663 ft (3,555 m).
2. Just Dropped in to See What Condition the Conditions Were in:
Spring brings a whole new element to the heli-sport experience — corn snow.
While you can still ski and ’board mid-winter-like powder in March and early April, with huge overnight dumps followed by blissfully blue skies the next day, spring also sees this corn snow, or semi-loose granules that freeze together at night and loosen during the day.
It’s when these granules “release” that there’s a whole new element of fun added to the exploits. The best way to describe the sensation is that it’s like your edges are red hot and you’re skiing on butter! It’s fast and smooth and loose — some real ri-ski business.
With an abundance of snow to the west and a sunnier, drier climate pushing in from the east, we’ve got 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 attack the big snow zones to the west and high peaks to the south. There are always fresh tracks to be made.
3. Spring Forward:
From mid-February to late March, there’s plenty of powder, not as many storms and daylight gets a little bit longer with each day. By the time April rolls around, we’re banking on more bluebird days (as most snowfalls generally happen during the colder nights), and even MORE sun in the late afternoon and early evening, which means — you guessed it — more sweeps down the slopes.
If your legs can hold up and hold out for the hot tub, we can extend your thrills on the hills until 6 p.m. during this time of the year.
4. Eat, Après, Love:
Definitely not the BEST part of your day, but certainly a runner-up: indulging in the fine art of après on the spacious, sun-dappled decks back at the lodges once the runs are done — usually between 4 and 6 p.m. — and as a delicious prelude to dinner.
The decks at most of our lodges are perfectly positioned to soak up that sweet ‘Vitamin D’ at the end of the day’s adventures and let you and your buddies and bunnies kick back relax and enjoy some tasty canapés, delicious pre-dinner hors d’oeuvres and ice-cold crispy boys as you regale one another with tales of the freshies, face shots and first tracks you carved earlier.