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Six Reasons to Go Heli-Skiing

Not that you needed any. But here are the six best things about booking a trip to CMH’s Cariboo Lodge in BC. By Kelley McMillan

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After an epic day of skiing on New Year’s Eve, the Cariboo guides declared it was the best early season snow they could remember (this from a group…

After an epic day of skiing on New Year’s Eve, the Cariboo guides declared it was the best early season snow they could remember (this from a group of grizzled guides who collectively share over 100 years of experience). It was only day three of the 2009-2010 season.

When Mother Nature created the Cariboos, she had skiing in mind. Tucked into the Canoe Valley in BC’s Columbia Range, Cariboo Lodge accesses a chunk…

When Mother Nature created the Cariboos, she had skiing in mind. Tucked into the Canoe Valley in BC’s Columbia Range, Cariboo Lodge accesses a chunk of skiable territory half the size of Switzerland. It’s a powder oasis filled with perfectly pitched, high alpine bowls, naturally gladed tree runs and steep chutes. Rounded peaks make for ideal heli pick-ups. If skiing 100,000 vertical feet in five days doesn’t appeal to you, consider getting your head checked. And those 7:30 am stretch classes? Go!

The best mountaineering and ski worlds work for CMH and many call Cariboo Lodge home. There’s the legendary Ernst Buehler (seen here), a…

The best mountaineering and ski worlds work for CMH and many call Cariboo Lodge home. There’s the legendary Ernst Buehler (seen here), a twinkled-eyed Swiss émigré who’s guided at CMH for over 40 years and plays a mean Alpenhorn. Dave Gauley, one of the premiere extreme skiers in the world who’s bagged first descents across the globe, is another standout and the pioneer of Cariboo’s Steep Camps, which run in April. These boys will get you into the sickest lines possible given the weather and snow pack, knowing exactly which lines you can ride, and which will ride you.

Weather, what weather? Set in a valley with a glacier at one end that creates cool breezes helping to lift fog, the Cariboo’s topography allows for…

Weather, what weather? Set in a valley with a glacier at one end that creates cool breezes helping to lift fog, the Cariboo’s topography allows for skiing in most weather, an anomaly when it comes to heli-skiing. If it’s foggy, you make tracks in the drainages close to home. When avalanche risk is high, you rip the trees. And, when everything’s just right, the Cariboos are your powder oyster—an aphrodisiac indeed.

They weigh you when you check in, and the joke is, they weigh you when you check out. The Quebecois chef doesn’t have a budget, which translates to…

They weigh you when you check in, and the joke is, they weigh you when you check out. The Quebecois chef doesn’t have a budget, which translates to Beef Tenderloin, duck confit, and killer cocktail hour wings and ribs.

No swimsuit for the hot tub? No problem. Just ask the Germans. The CMH folks know how to party. There’s a tickle trunk in the basement, a disco ball…

No swimsuit for the hot tub? No problem. Just ask the Germans. The CMH folks know how to party. There’s a tickle trunk in the basement, a disco ball in the maintenance shack, a mini-yacht race in the hot tub and a weekly dress-up party. Get ready to get down, on the hill and off.

For more information or to book your holiday, visit www.canadianmountainholidays.com.

Kelley McMillan is a NYC-based freelance journalist. For more stories by Kelley, visit her blog.