Bella Coola Heliskiing
Bella Coola Heliskiing
British Columbia, Canada
- 7 nights
- from $4100 per person
Bella Coola heliskiing is one of British Columbia's top operations offering small group skiing from four separate bases in huge terrain. Easy access from Vancouver maximizes ski time and makes it very attractive for anyone coming from far afield.
At a Glance
Direct Vancouver flights allow arrival day and departure day skiing for maximum vertical feet
Small helicopters mean faster and better skiing
Some of British Columbia's biggest, steepest and snowiest terrain
Bella Coola heliskiing was set up by a group of ski bums including Peter "Swede" Mattson, Beat Steiler and Christian Begin. These passionate skiers spent years exploring British Columbia's steepest terrain and deepest snow before realising the potential of Bella Coola for heliskiing. Catering for first-timer heli-skiers to advanced experts there is something for every skier or snowboarder.
The snow in the Coast Mountains is almost unstoppable, averaging 20 to 30 meters per year and the 10,700km2 (2.64 million acres) of terrain available to Bella Coola is accessed from four separate bases. Tweedsmuir Park Lodge and Eagle Lodge have 1.4 million acres and Pantheon Heli Ranch and Foster's Ranch have 1.24 million acres of backcountry skiing. This part of British Columbia boasts dramatic fjords and scenery that make a spectacular backdrop.
Tweedsmuir is the largest of the lodges and offers the most comfortable accommodation. Private double cabins surround the main lodge which has a dining room, games room, wine cellar, fitness room and outdoor hot tub.
For those seeking the most skiing for your money, Big Mountain shares the ski area with Tweedsmuir but being slightly closer to the ski area, flight times and costs are a little lower.
For the ultimate heliskiing backcountry experience, Pantheon is hard to beat. Sitting deep in the wilderness close to Mt Waddington, BC's highest peak, this private group setup takes heliskiing to uncharted levels.
For those looking for unchartered territory your best bet is Foster's Ranch, a small ranch that only takes private groups of 4, it is the closest location to the biggest peaks in British Columbia and some of the longest vertical descents in Canada.
All bases specialize in small group heliskiing which ensures similar standards of skiers and fast turnarounds. Guests can either join part of a group or form their own private group.
One great advantage of Bella Coola is the access. The direct flight from Vancouver arrives at Bella Coola at lunchtime so, weather permitting, you can do your safety briefing over a picnic lunch on arrival and do a half day before you even unpack your bag. On the final day, this works in reverse, allowing you to really maximize your skiing and have the best chance of skiing the best conditions in the time available.
Treeline skiing allows you to ski even if the weather is marginal and Tweedsmuir is a great place to fish and enjoy the wilderness on the odd day when helicopters cannot take off.
Safety is a top priority as is demonstrated by the experience, qualifications and standards applied. Conditions are constantly monitored with a good communication system and satellite tracking of all machines. All guests wear SnowPulse packs, an avalanche transceiver and carry a shovel and probe.
Bella Coola offers multi-day trips of 3, 4, 5 or 7 days. It also makes a great twin center vacation with Whistler.
Accommodations cater for groups from 4 guests up to 17 guests and all can be taken exclusively if desired. All lodges include free use of snowboard, skis, poles and safety equipment.
|Tweedsmuir Park Lodge||
As the biggest lodge, Tweedsmuir will accommodate groups of up to 16-17 guests. wilderness lodge in a provincial park with guest accommodation being timber framed chalets with fireplaces surrounding a main lodge which is the social hub and has a lounge area with a large stone fireplace, a restaurant and games rooms. The facilities also include an outdoor hot tub and tepee sweat lodge. The helicopter landing / take off area is right in front of the chalets.
There are 6 chalets for double occupancy (Queen bed plus double bed), 1 single occupancy (King bed) and a duplex where the rooms are separate and private (1 side with a King bed, the other with 2 Queen beds). All rooms are en-suite.
The cozy lodge accommodates 8-10 guests in 2 double occupancy rooms (2 Queen beds) and 4 single occupancy (3 with a Queen bed, 1 with a double bed). All rooms are en-suite and there is a hot tub and sauna.
Located on acreage near Hagensborg this accommodation involves a 5 minute drive to the helicopter hangar.
|Pantheon Heli Ranch||
This working cattle ranch and accommodates 8 guests in either cabins or the log building in 5 rooms with a double bed and 3 rooms with a Queen bed. Bathrooms are shared with 1-2 guests. This property also features a river-side sauna. The helicopter landing and take off area is on the ranch.
As the most exclusive location, this intimate ranch hosts just 4-5 people and has a rustic and homely feel. Accommodation is in 4 rooms, 1 of which is en-suite. There is a large living room with fireplace and free WiFi.
There is a huge terrain in Bella Coola with 80% being alpine / glaciers and 20% forest and trees. There are over 700 runs with new runs every season.
As far as programs are concerned there is a variety to choose from depending on guests' abilities, guests can even combine helii-skiing with fly fishing.
- Regular Vertical is ideal for strong intermediates or better and is available for 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 or more days
- Private Heli-Skiing means the helicopter is exclusively for your group of family or friends, skiing is at your pace so its easier to tailor to the group and your group will visit a hot spring.
- Big Mountain Challenge is for real experts only (and we mean real experts!) and is about skiing an objective, use of a harness is required.
- Heli Assisted Ski Touring is where guests can ski a different geographic area each day beginning with a heli drop a the top of a run and ski all day.
- Pantheon is the exclusive, private skiing where guests get to enjoy their own private lodge, chef and staff, their own guides and helicopter in their own 1.1 million acre heliski area on the biggest mountain in Bella Coola.
- The Private Lodge to Lodge Ski Safari is a good variety of programs where guests can stay at both Tweedsmuir Park Lodge and the Pantheon Heli Ranch as they fly and ski 250 km along the spine of the coast range.
- The Ski and Rod Club is as it sounds where guests are able to heli-ski in the morning and fly fish in the afternoon accessing remote rivers for salmon.
Location & Directions
British Columbia, Canada
Tweedsmuir Lodge is in Tweedsmuir National Park, Bella Coola, British Columbia. Bella Coola Mountain Lodge (for Big Mountain) is closer to the aiport. Pantheon is deep in the BC wilderness and and accessible by helicopter from Bella Coola airport .
When to go
British Columbia benefits from some of the most regular and the deepest snowfalls anywhere in the world. The average seasonal snowfall at 1600m (5000 feet) is a spectacular 25 meters (75 feet), four or five times the average in most areas of the Alps. Winter temperatures average about 0°C during the day and -6°C overnight in the village with snow typically on the ground from Dec into April. Summers days can be quite warm, with temperatures reaching the high 20s.