Kästle Heliskiing Camp 2011

I just got back from the Kästle Heliskiing Camp at Skeena Heliskiing, a program I put together for the Kästle Adventure Tours. Our group was the last week of the season and we got super lucky with some amazing snow conditions. Before the group arrived at the gorgeous lodge at Skeena Heliskiing, located in northern BC, Canada, it snowed 40cm. During the week we kept receiving top-ups of 15 to 20 centimetres of fresh, fluffy powder. Some of the tree skiing we did was like in the middle of February. We also were able to ski the alpine twice featuring huge glaciers of endless space and powder, enormous runs of over 1,000 vertical metres a pop. Camp participants really benefited from daily coaching and video analysis with Hugo Harrisson and myself, showing noticeable improvements in ski technique and confidence at the end of the week. Our guides Giacum Frei and Urs Rentsch were simply awesome, guiding us expertly down steep tree runs, couloirs and some sweet lines in the alpine.

The MX128 in 190cm was everyone’s darling during this week, a surprisingly playful and fun ski which excels in carving fast turns in open terrain but manages really well in the trees too. It skies shorter than you expect and is the obvious choice for a deep powder day. The new pink BMX118 in 168cm was also the star of the week, riding amazingly well in the trees and in tighter terrain, allowing for super quick and playful skiing.

The Kästle Heliskiing Camp will be held again in 2012 and 2013. Sign up for the Kästle Snowletter for important updates about the Kästle Adventure Tours. See the best photos of the week on my facebook account here.

Kaestle Heliskiing Camp at Skeena

The Search for the Perfect Heliski Terrain at Skeena Heliskiing

Sometimes I feel like the luckiest person in the world. Imagine being invited to Canada for a week, together with some of your best friends, to help a heliski operator scout and ski previously untouched mountains in search for new heliskiing terrain. So it was that in April, I flew to Smithers, B.C. Canada, to join Giacum (Jake) Frei, owner, operator and head guide at Skeena Heliskiing, to scout the enormous heliski terrain in the Skeena Mountains, 2 hours north of Smithers.

Griffin, Mcfly and me: the luckiest people in the world!

The existing lodge, the Bear Claw lodge, is located in the southern part of the tenure and offers luxury accommodations for 10 to 15 guests. Although the first runs are only a 6 minute flight away, the size of the tenure, which encompasses 8,500 km2 and represents the second largest heliskiing area worldwide, means that the most northern mountains are a 45 minute flight away. Most of this area is rarely skied, not even Jake was familiar with the mountains there.

Endless possibilities

The next week consisted of poring over maps, spending a ridiculous amount of helitime, analysing and observing snow pack, terrain forms and potential dangers. We scouted and skied amazing runs over wide, endless glaciers, fun pillow lines, and through glades and gullies.

Endless challenges

The perfect cliff band

Is this a dream?

We documented our experiences on film, which will be out next winter.  Stay tuned!