Without doubt, the alpine is our standout feature and we can confidently claim to offer the best alpine experience in Canada…and on par with Alaska! The alpine refers to the terrain above treeline. Guests are happy to find that the Canadian alpine stereotype of boring, mellow terrain is not the case in Bella Coola. Our alpine has more of a pitch to it, so good skiers and riders can rip fast, huge arcing lines, while those who are a little more hesitant will not feel intimated thanks to the wide open terrain.
- Huge bowls
A fan favourite! The terrain around Bella Coola has countless open bowls. Bowls will often start up on a ridge or shoulder then open up as you descend down the flanks of the mountain for literally thousands and thousands of feet towards the valley bottom where your high-speed lift (the helicopter!) awaits.
As with our alpine terrain, we offer the best steep skiing in Canada. If you are someone that has been heli-skiing in Alaska or is considering it, then you definitely want to check us out! We have a Steep Skiing program specifically designed to take expert skiers to the most challenging lines offered to the general public. However, if you book one of the regular programs and conditions allow….. and the guide is comfortable with the conditions and the groups’ ability to follow instructions, then it is possible to ski some steeper terrain!
Terrain selection will be based on conditions and the ability level of the least accomplished person (more reason to join us with your own group of 4 or more people!).
“Cool-waahhrs”, the French word for ‘chutes’, are super fun! No other Canadian heli-skiing operation, and probably the world, has nearly as many couloirs as we do. Couloirs are often quite steep and narrow, so we usually only take strong skiers there. Nothing gets the heart and adrenalin pumping than ripping down a couloir, with a steep pitch and rockwalls wizzing past your head!
You don’t have to be a snowboarder to enjoy natural halfpipes! It’s incredibly fun bombing down a run and coming across a halfpipe….riding up one wall, then down and riding up the other side! Some of these features have a lip so you can often get some serious air... and instead of landing on hard-packed you will land in fields of powder!
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 from our lodges. Every autumn we have a team of our guides out "glading" for 2-3 weeks. This includes removing low branches and cutting down the little trees between the big ones, make it more spacious for people to ski through.
The Coast Range mountains, and our tenure (ie permit area), is home to the largest temperate-latitude icefields in the world! Glaciers are usually fairly mellow, so we tend to ski there with less aggressive guests or after a big dump while we let the snow settle.
Spines are so impressive…they look like curtains of snow on extremely steep pitches. Alas, we do not offer skiing spines to guests as they require pro-level skills! Now, if you are a pro-skier/rider with a heli-budget and want to rip some crazy faces for your next film project, drop us a line!
Photo: The legendary J.P. Auclair skiing for a segment in Sherpas Cinema ‘Into the Mind”.
WHEN IT COMES TO TERRAIN, BIGGER IS BETTER
Guest from Toronto:
"The terrain was breathtaking. When the guides are standing in awe at the views you know you are witnessing something special."
Shane McConkey, Professional Skier:
"Bella Coola was one of the most stunning places I've ever had the opportunity to heli ski. “Swede” and crew have truly discovered an amazing new powder kingdom. I was constantly glued to the window of the heli scoping out some of the most spectacular terrain I have ever seen. Big, steep and deep, here's terrain for the fearless, as well as for the wussies. Wax your boards and get your butt up to Bella Coola."
Bella Coola really does have it all. Our incredible terrain and consistent snow means no snow making, no powder 8s and plenty of features and terrain to keep strong skiers & riders stoked.
Click on the tiles below to explore the variety of terrain on offer.
Our size stats
“(Bella Coola has) bigger terrain, bigger mountains. Bigger everything. It’s got everything that Alaska has, or Whistler or Europe really. As far as skiing goes it’s kinda the ultimate!” – Kye Peterson, pro-skier
3.55 million acres (14,370 sq/km) exclusive to Bella Coola Heli Sports and 668 times bigger than all of Vail, 434 times Whistler-Blackcomb combined, 137 times larger than the whole Trois Vallées and bigger than the entire Swiss Alps! All for a maximum of 56 guests spread over 5 lodges!
We have so much terrain, we will rarely tell you to lay your tracks next to someone else's......go on, make huge arcing turns! We encourage powder 11s, not 8s...but if you like powder 8s, feel free to make them (we won't laugh.....too hard!). Note: there will be times where we do have to keep it tight for safety reasons. Guest must always listen to the guide's instructions.
Many runs are 5000-6000ft (1500-1800m), with the longest yielding 7000ft (2150m) of leg-burning utopia.
Number of runs
Over 900 and counting... in fact, there's a huge amount of valleys, let alone face, where we haven't even skied yet!
Our highest drop-off is at 9500ft (2,896m) and lowest pick-up is at 3000ft (914m).
The highest peak in our tenure is Mt.Monarch at 11,663ft (3,555m). However, the impressive Mt Waddington (13,186ft / 4,019m), the highest peak entirely in British Columbia, is just outside our boundary. While we don't ski it, we often take guests for a quick fly-by.