Heli Skiing in the Selkirks

      12 Comments on Heli Skiing in the Selkirks

Stacked tracks in the high alpine, Selkirk Range, BC.

At the end of January my Dad and I headed north to British Columbia for four days of heli skiing with CMH. We caught the tail end of a week-long cloudy pattern which yielded three days of great powder skiing below treeline and one day in the high alpine. All of it was new for me so I did my best to soak in every aspect of the experience. Heli skiing, though expensive and probably even a tad ridiculous, sure is a wild ride.

Our base of operations for the week was Nakusp, BC, at the K2 Rotor Lodge in the middle of town. The lodge is a ten minute drive from the heli pad and the Nakusp hot springs, which made for a nice apres ski soak on more than one occasion. The lodge itself is simple but caters to guests’ every need, and the cuisine the chefs whip up for breakfast and dinner is nothing short of gourmet. Without going into too much detail, we ate like kings up there.

Map Code

CMH K2’s ski territory, a decent amount of which we were able to explore over four days. Nakusp is in the lower left hand corner of the map.

Aside from providing top notch food and accommodations, CMH runs a tight ship with regards to skiing logistics. They cycle groups through new terrain pretty seamlessly and are dedicated to ensuring untracked powder turns for every guest on virtually every run. It was nice not to have to think much and let our guides do all the heavy lifting, allowing us to just focus on enjoying the experience.

After settling in and going through orientation on the first day we were temporarily shut down by fog and low visibility in the mountains. The grounding didn’t last long though; around noon we were called up to the heli pad and flown to the top of our first run for the day. I picked up on the routine pretty fast – fly, ski, repeat – as we racked up around 13,000 ft of vertical in an afternoon.

For two more days we skied primarily at and below treeline. Even though it hadn’t snowed much the previous week we were still managing to find soft, untracked turns everywhere we went – a testament to the sheer amount and variety of terrain accessible by the helicopter. A small refresh on the 3rd night did wonders for us the following day as we explored some steeper terrain and even got above treeline a few times.

The powder express arriving for pickup.

An overcast sky means we go skiing below treeline.

Capitol Peak look-alike?

The old man and I in between runs.

On the final day of our trip the weather cleared and we were treated to 30,000 feet of turns in the high alpine. This was my favorite day of the four. While skiing powder below treeline is a ton of fun, it’s tough to beat the glaciers and wide-open bowls found at higher elevations in the Canadian Rockies. The snow was excellent and the views were just awesome.

Big peaks of the Selkirk Range.

We ultimately wound up doing most of our skiing for the day in the outer reaches of K2’s territory. One area in particular, “Kaleidoscope”, hadn’t been skied all season, and each of the three groups got three laps on it before we moved elsewhere.

Not to shabby.

Wide GS turns in a sea of powder.

Looks like we could’ve stacked up our tracks a little bit better on this one. At the time though, no one cared.

After lunch (they also flew a lunch helicopter out to our location every day) we changed playgrounds, moving one or two basins to the east, and did a few a laps there in another large alpine bowl known as “Powder One”.

Craggy peak seen from the landing zone.

Getting into some glaciated terrain.

A few thousand feet lower.

Sneaking in some more vert as the afternoon shadows got longer.

Bringing it home on the last run of the day.

All in all we skied 82,000 feet over three and a half days –  a trip for the books and one I’ll never forget. Now it’s time to get back to hiking for powder turns, which may take a bit of getting used to again after having them served up on a platter. But I suppose there are worse problems to have.

Some footage from all four days that I put together:

And lastly, a parting shot:

Sunset over the Canadian Rockies. Until next time…

12 thoughts on “Heli Skiing in the Selkirks

      1. Derek

        Nice, I’ll second that. Spent many years following her around Steamboat. I’m intrigued by the heli-touring options CMH runs.

      2. Ben Post author

        Nice, yeah I remember her saying she lived in Steamboat for awhile. Small world.

        I haven’t looked into the heli-touring operation much. Sounds intriguing for sure…

    1. Ben Post author

      Brando, thanks! It sure is fun, and a huge blessing, to be able to do these kinds of things with my Dad.

      Funny that everyone knows Tamra!

  1. Jason Blyth

    Man, this looks incredible. What a cool experience, awesome you got to do this with your pops. Looking forward to hearing more next time our paths cross.

  2. Rick Thompson

    Rad benny! Heli skiing puts lift served skiing in a whole new light eh?
    Excellent video too. Those full sun blue bird days seem rare up there. Although I saw one issue with the video……there were too many turns being made! 😜

    1. Ben Post author

      It sure does Richard. Would be fun to try to tag along with you guys next year…

      Too many turns eh? Looking for the old figure eleven or what?

  3. Floyd

    Looks like a bucket list kind of trip. As a few have mentioned above, a great experience to share with your Dad. The whole parent – child relationship is something I took for granted for far too long. It takes on a completely new depth after you have kids of your own. Enjoy those moments, but I guess it would be hard not to in that area! Congrats!

    1. Ben Post author

      Thanks Scot. It really is a blessing to share stuff like this with my Dad. I try not to let that get lost on me. And it’s great to see you getting out with your daughters as well. Gives me hope for the future 😉

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