Story by Katie Marti
REVELSTOKE, BRITISH COLUMBIA — I’m not lazy, OK? I like to sweat and grunt my way to the top of a peak almost as much as the next gal. But when someone offers to whisk me into the alpine in a slick little helicopter and guide my frolicking crew through mountain meadows for a few hours before dropping us off at the bar in time for a cold beer in the hot sun, I’m going to say yes and it’s going to beat human-powered elevation gain EVERY SINGLE TIME.
Selkirk Tangiers Heli Skiing launched its new roster of summer operations at the beginning of July. The long-standing fixture in the mountain haven of Revelstoke is now offering heli-accessed activities that include hiking, mountain biking and sightseeing tours among the peaks the company has called home for almost four decades.
“This is something we’ve had on our minds for years,” says Jeff Honig, operations manager at Selkirk Tangiers. “It took a lot of planning and a fair bit of paperwork, but we’re really excited to be able to offer a diverse summer program and to invite people to play outdoors in our incredible little corner of the world all year round.”
While heli skiing speaks to a growing but still fairly niche demographic, summer operations at Selkirk Tangiers have a much wider appeal. Scenic flights and alpine picnics, for example, deliver a complete backcountry adventure regardless of age or level of experience. For the more hard-core adrenaline seekers, mountaineering and glacier treks take regular old hiking to the next level, while the mountain bike option sends riders through 7,000 vertical feet of technical single track from the summit of Mount Cartier to the Columbia River far, far below.
For our part, however, we spent four hours scrambling along moraines and rocky spines, stopping for lunch on a false summit and taking photos to document the journey. The half-day hike is just enough to whet your appetite and hint at what Thoreau was always going on about. The whip and whir of the helicopter fades quickly into songbirds and you’re struck with immediate gratitude — for wide-open spaces and pure, clean air; for digital photography; for bug spray.
Hiking in the alpine is particularly appealing to me because the options are just about endless. There aren’t so much set trails as there are general routes. At one point, we stood atop a ridge and our guide threw the following question to the group, pointing in two opposite directions: do you want to go down to that alpine lake or up to the top of that peak? (We went up. Always go up.)
More About Summer Activities in Revelstoke
Dates: Summer operations at Selkirk Tangiers will run daily through September 7, 2015.
Sightseeing Trips: Seats can be booked right up until the day you would like to fly (depending on availability); for all other programs, groups must book by 6:30 pm the evening before you would like to head for the hills. Cost: Tours start at $119 each for a 12-minute flight.
Heli Picnic: This tour of up to 3.5 hours includes gourmet cuisine with views of the Selkirk and Monashee mountains. Cost: $399 per person.
Other Activities: Heli Biking ($345 per person) includes a bike drop atop Mount Cartier and a 4-6-hour tour. Heli Hiking and Mountaineering options range from half-day to nine-hour treks. Costs range from $399 to $1,071.
Reservations: Telephone 1-800-663-7080 (toll free) or visit the website www.selkirk-tangiers.com.