Heli-skiing in Revelstoke thrills

Heli-skiing in Revelstoke is sure to hold your gaze and take your breath away. British Columbia’s Interior is a hot spot for this coolest of winter activities. (Katie Marti/Vacay.ca)

Story by Katie Marti
Vacay.ca Writer

REVELSTOKE, BRITISH COLUMBIA — A day that begins with a ride in a helicopter and ends with a cold beer in a hot tub is a very good day. Fill the space between with skiing or snowboarding beyond your wildest dreams, and you’ve got yourself the sort of experience bucket lists are made of.

Standing atop a run called Paradisio Ridge about to drop into knee-deep powder amid snow-capped pines, whoops and yeehaws rise  up from the skiers below and I can’t remember a moment in my whole life that was more exciting than this. Within seconds, I’m following suit, carving fresh lines and adding to the chorus with a few giddy squeals of my own. When we all meet up at the bottom of our first run it’s a flurry of high-fives and pats on the back as we pile into the helicopter and begin our short flight back up the ridge to do it all over again.

No chairlift required.

Selkirk-Tangiers Heli-Skiing is celebrating 35 years of service in Revelstoke, British Columbia, heli-ski capital of the world, according to a little rag called the New York Times. If you ask general manager Eriks Suchovs, the company’s success is due in large part to the massive tenure they hold in the Selkirk and Monashee Ranges along the Columbia River in BC’s central interior.

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“Our extensive terrain gives us enormous flexibility,” he explains. “We have some gentler slopes, steep-treed runs, glacier bowls — you name it. When we make a plan for the day we have to consider weather conditions, snow stability and skier ability, so the 500,000 acres we have to work with means we have plenty of options, allowing us to put together a customized package that meets the needs of each and every group, each and every day.”

And what a package it is. As if heli-skiing alone weren’t enough, a day spent with Selkirk-Tangiers is packed with perks, from a top-notch breakfast buffet to a catered lunch from one of Revelstoke’s favourite bakeries, La Baguette, to fireside après-ski in the sort of lounge you see in luxury magazines (think huge stone fireplace and outdoor hot tub). Of course, they also throw in the necessary safety gear and top-of-the-line equipment designed to help you slay powder like the pros, and don’t even get me started on the crew they’ve got running the show. From guides to ski technicians to guest service representatives, Selkirk-Tangiers has clearly made it a priority to build a staff that is as passionate and genuinely stoked about skiing and snowboarding as they are hard-working and professional.

Naturally, in a region known for being as deep as it is steep thanks to an annual average snowfall of 425 centimetres (14 feet), inclement weather can sometimes ground even the most hardcore of heli-skiers. “Down days,” as they call them here, are few and far between but disappointing nonetheless. Luckily, Revelstoke has plenty of alternatives when flying just isn’t an option. “The obvious choice,” recommends Suchovs, “is to head to the local ski resort and catch fresh lines right off the chairlift.”

Revelstoke Mountain Resort has incredible terrain and heaps of snow, making it into somewhat of a legend in British Columbia despite being only five years old.

Ski Heaven in Revelstoke

The town of Revy, as locals refer to it, also has some great spots to hunker down and weather the storm. Head to the Village Idiot for a pint of Revesltoke’s own Mount Begbie craft beer and a big plate of pulled pork nachos, grab a coffee and home-cooked delights from the Modern Bakery or Sangha Bean Café, browse the shops on MacKenzie Avenue or take a dip in the pool at the local community centre. There are cross-country ski trails just out of town at the base of Mount MacPherson and a paved greenbelt that winds its way around the downtown core, perfect for walking dogs and children if and when the cabin fever starts to set in. While it may pale in comparison to heli-skiing, spending a down day in Revelstoke can be an adventure all on its own.

Of course, once the clouds lift and you finally find yourself standing atop a snowy peak about to have the time of your life, good luck remembering any of it.

More About Selkirk-Tangiers Heli-Skiing

Rates: Packages range in size and duration from one-day excusions to multi-day adventures and even private packages in a swanky A-Star helicopter. Prices start at $797 plus tax for a three-run package.
More Information: Visit www.selkirk-tangiers.com, email info@selkirk-tangiers.com or call 1.800.663.7080.

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