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