After moving to Canada in 1959 to explore what 'freedom' meant, Mike Wiegele spent the better part of a decade explore the mountains of BC and connecting with people in the ski industry. 50 years later Mike Wiegele is synonmous with heliskiing in Canada. 25 appearances in Warren Miller movies, host to Jake Burton before snowboarding was even excepted, host to hollywood and dignitaries alike, Mike Wiegele Heliskiing became the benchmark for other operators to follow. It is quite something that his vision built in Blue River BC. Some might even say it is crazy! Enjoy the film. We sure did.
A mashup of vids from heliskiing over the past few seasons
Well if this doesn't get your fizzy bits fizzing I don't know what will. Bella Coola Heli Sports has done a masterful job putting together their 2018/19 teaser to get the people stoked. From what we hear, it is well worth the trip up the west coast of British Columbia!
Jon Olsson boarded a plane operated by a crew of friendly Canadians and made his way to CMH Bobby Burns lodge. The early season here in Canada has been going off and Jon hit the storm cycles just right. Loads of snow hit over the Christmas holidays and then the temps dropped and skies cleared.
Guides get as much out of the experience as the guests
Scott Newsome from Eagle Pass Heliskiing talks about his experiences as a guide and what has led him into his chose career. I like how he talks about experiences for both the guests and the guides. And how heliskiing provides a place for people to explore their capabilities in skiing and snowboarding.
We've skied with him and he knows the lines like the back of his hand
Jason Remple is now the owner and lead guide at Stellar Heliskiing but when we first met him he had just worked his way up to lead guide at Selkirk Wilderness Skiing. Jason is born and raised in the Kootenay's. His life has been shaped by the peaks and valleys of the Purcell Mountains.
Jason started washing dishes, shoveling, and doing whatever he could until he became a guide. Working his way up the ranks at Selkirk Jason was taken under the wing of Allan Drury - the man responsible to the evolution of catskiing as we know it! Allan made Jason learn the terrain he was working in. He had to jump off every drop, ski every line, find every chute so that he knew the terrain better than anyone.
I recall skiing with Jason once and he gave me specific instructions on how to ski a particular line. Right down to every detail and where to turn and what to expect. I couldn't even see half of what he was talking about. Sure enough, I did what he said and had one amazing run that I reflect back on often.
In recent years Jason took his well-honed skill set and established his very own boutique heliskiing operation - Stellar Heliskiing. Stellar is based out of Kaslo BC and has direct access to some of the most stunning terrain in the province. The Purcell Range feels like it is nestled into it's own little corner of the region with very little traffic. It truly feels like a wild place. But not to Jason. He gets out as soon as their is snow and taunts us with is early season ski reports (follow him on Instagram if you dare!). Yes, he is having fun, but he is also continuing that tradition set in him by Allan to learn every aspect of the terrain.
We caught up with Jason at Stellar Heli and got to spend the day exploring. And explore we did! We lost count at 15 runs and thing we did somewhere around 17. In a helicopter that is a lot of vertical. With every lift we went deeper into the terrain. Some spots were new to Jason. Spots he had wanted to ski for years. His eyes widened with excitement but his demeanour was always calm and cool. He is just happy to be out there sharing the experience of skiing in the mountains with like-minded people.
As we got back on more familiar terrain it was back to the regular program of Jason knowing just where to go. You get the most out of every run when you are at Stellar Heliskiing. And you get shown around by a guy who is so stoked to be doing what he is doing that it is infectious! Thanks for all the good turns Jason. We hope to ski with you again soon!
Children of the Columbia is a must watch for any skier who grew up in BC. The Columbia plays such a critical role in our ecosystem but has been harnessed for power, industry and recreation. Sherpas Cinema has made the full feature available for free viewing on Youtube. Of course it features a few heli ops as well CMH Heli-Skiing & Summer Adventures and Mica Heliskiing. Dane Tudor shows some of his amazing skill but WOW is Christina Lustenberger and incredible skier. Check it out and enjoy.
For over 50 years CMH has been sharing the beauty and majesty of the British Columbia backcountry. Their latest feature film - Stories of the Deep West- showcases not only the amazing skiing but the people and stories behindCMH. The skiing, the mountains, the lodges, the managers, guides and guests. It all comes together to make the CMH experience what it is.
Stoked. Joy. Powder. Smiles. Wild. Untamed. Endless. Friends. Family. Skeena. Words to describe the latest video from Skeena Heliskiing - Jump in and Buckle Up! The powder skiing looks incredible, the people look like they are having the best day ever (and they probably are!) and the soundtrack is spot on. Sit back, turn it up and let the wilds of the Skeena North call you...