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Heli-Boarding


Guest Ghostrider
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Guest Ghostrider

So I know its the complete opposite of most everybodys riding style, but has anybody done a good Heli-Boarding trip?

I'm looking for a week long package this December someplace in BC or Alaska.:D

I've been looking at Wiegele becuase thats the one i know the best from Warren Miller.

Im not sure whats in Alaska, I've known people to go to the alyeska area but I dont know much about the operations up there.

Any suggestions would be much appreciated.

Thanks!

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Originally posted by Ghostrider

So I know its the complete opposite of most everybodys riding style, but has anybody done a good Heli-Boarding trip?

I'm looking for a week long package this December someplace in BC or Alaska.:D I've been looking at Wiegele becuase thats the one i know the best from Warren Miller.

I don't think it's the opposite of my riding style - I carve pistes but I spend a lot of time in heli-terrain, also in comfortable hard boots & using plates. That's a separate discussion, but I think that the sort of skill which allows you to carve is the same sort of skill which gets you about on the untracked. For sure there aren't many rails there.

I have some bs about heliboarding here. Most of my experience is at Wiegele's, but I've also done some time at CMH and elsewhere.

Alaska is a different game, from what I understand. It kind of depends what you want, but as you're asking, then probably BC is a good place to start.

Wiegele's generally has a lot of people around, and a lot of flexibility in helicopters. That means that they can group people more effectively than smaller operators.... so if you're a hot-shot you've less chance of being held up, or if you're a learner then you've less chance of holding others up.

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Guest Matt D

There is supposed to be a great operation in Valdez Alaska.

There's also a few operations in Alberta near Banff. When I was in Whistler this March there was heli trips offered there too.

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CMH have a place at Revelstoke, operating out of a hotel on the trans canadian I think. There may be an independent operator there too. Kelly wasn't with either I understand, although I have seen him at Wiegele's.

There are shed-loads of operators; it just depends what you want.

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Guest Randy S.

You're going in December? It'll be f'ing dark all day in Alaska in December. If I were you, I'd check weather norms for the time you are going in the places. Two hours of daylight doesn't leave much of a window for riding.

Do report back on the trip. I'd love to hear more. I'm hoping to get a day of Heli-boarding in Chile next month.

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I did a snowcat trip last year in BC with monashee powder adventures and had a great time and it was a whole lot cheaper than a heli trip. We had 2 cats, one w/ skiers and one with mostly boarders. I am going again to there new area which is next to Mike Weigles bc heli area. You might want to check them out. The new area is called Anstey and I am going in mid-march w/ hardboots and a Tanker 2k.

http://www.monasheepowder.com/ansteysched.html

I have heard good things about this heli place in valdez....

http://www.h2oguides.com/

Jim

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Guest Ghostrider

Has anybody been on a backcountry adventure in december that far north?

Like Randy says..its dark! I forgot about that. But I looked up the almanac...it looks like you might get about 5 or 6 hours of daylight (Sunrise around 9:30, Sunset around 3:30). Is that enough to actually get in a good day?

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In one of my previous jobs, I was the northwest rep for Winterstick snowboards.

I had the pleasure of sampling many a fine cat and heli operation with my 185cm Swallowtail, and I can tell you that December is just the start of the heli season.

Regardless of which outfit you go with, bear in mind that december will have the lowest level of usable daylight during the year. I think you might have more riding and better vertical by going with a cat operation during this time of the year, since they can go out during a wider variety of conditions.

Wiegle's, CMH, North Cascades heli, and Whistler heli are all top notch outfits who can take care of you. If possible, ask to be booked on a trip that is exclusively filled with boarders, rather than combining boarders and skiers.

The reason for this is that when it comes to heli terrain, boarders can handle steeper terrain than skiers of the same ability level. Skiers typically will handle some short steep pitches and then traverse over to another short pitch. Following them on a board tends to get old, because traversing flattish terrain on a snowboard is lame and tiring.

YMMV

George

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I regularly heli-board in December in BC. Of course the days are short - you can probably find a web site somewhere which tells you sun-up/ sun-down times. Heli operating ours are pretty closely tied to those.

At Wiegele's the last pick up is one hour prior to sun-down, so typically in December you'd get:

08:15 First flight

15:00 Last pickup time

Or something there-abouts. Prices are often lower at that time for this reason: you're going to get less vertical. That said, my average for a week in December is something over 150,000ft, so I'm not complaining.

In practice the snow's usually pretty good at this time of year, although it can be cold. The average standard of rider tends to be higher, because the terrain is harder. You don't board glaciers if there's flat light or a storm, so you're in the trees. Novices don't like trees.

So probably December's my favorite time of year.

Vertical-wise, you need to be of the highest standard to be in the last heli of the day. Translation: if you're asking questions about it, then day length is unlikely to be a restriction on what you want to do.

You probably get more down days in December/ January that later in the season, but that's a lottery in any case. I'm not actually sure that cats have fewer down-days than helis. They're stopped by different things is all.

Anstey I can't really tell from their map but it looks to be down by Revelstoke. That's a ways from Blue River.

Wiegele's is bounded by CMH Valemont in the North and Monashees in the East.

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Guest Lockie

Snowcat boarding is a great alternative to heli for those wanting a premium trip but lack the big $$$$. Check out Chatter Creek which is based in Golden, B.C. They have a remote lodge about 100km north on the Western flank of the Rockies.

Also check out a photo journal called Chatter News that some clients have started up. It's got some photos and information about the place.

:p Lockie

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