It would be a bit of an inaccuracy to say that my recent Heli Skiing Road Trip out to Northern Escape Heli and TLH Heli was a road trip. Although there were some shuttle busses involved, it was actually an airplane that shuttled me between these two awesome lodges.
The trip started out with a morning departure from Vancouver in the pouring rain. The original plan was for the TLH Coach to take us from Van to Pemberton where a helicopter would be waiting at the airport- and then fly us in to Tyax lodge. But an early morning email came in to my phone telling me that a snow storm was raging and the heli would not be able to fly us- so it would be bus transfer all the way. The bad news was now we were in for a long drive on remote roads covered in rocks and avalanche debris. The good news was that the snow was just puking down, and we would be arriving to some awesome deep pow!
It continued to snow throughout our first night at the lodge and well in to our first full day. More bad news was an announcement from the guides at breakfast that the snow was so bad that we would have a “down day” as the heli could not fly. Normally hearing the words “down day” is enough to to bring tears to the eyes of skiers intent on making the most of their powder trip. After all, no one wants to pay to live out their pow dreams, and then sit in a lodge all day. But if you have to be stuck in a lodge not skiing, TLH is the lodge you want to be stuck in. TLH truly is the Four Seasons of heli skiing lodges with a stunning lodge complete with a full spa including infared sauna, a eucalyptus steam, a mini-gym and two massage rooms. Plus TLH just recently installed a stunning 22 person hot tub on their rear deck facing the lake and mountains.
On Day 2, the moods of all the skiers/boarders in the lodge perked up at breakfast as the clouds and snow had vanished overnight, and large patches of blue began to replace the dismal grey. Moods were given a further burst when the guides announced that over 80 cms had fallen in the two day storm and today was going to be a bluebird day with tons of freshies. Within a couple of hours of breakfast we were in our chopper heading out to the great blue yonder. Heli skiing is often about risk and reward, and today was definitely our reward for enduring a day in the lodge. Bluebird skies and deep dry pow were not only on the menu today, but here to stay for the rest of my stay.
After a night in Vancouver post TLH, it was time to make my way to Northern Escape for the second leg of my journey. After a short easy flight to Terrace, I walked out of the plane and on to the tarmac to more bluebird skies and incredible views of the snow covered Skeena Mountains. Unlike my first epic trip to NEH last March that was decidedly winter-like with colder temps and snow, I had arrived to Spring in Terrace. But although it was green and mild in the valley, the high alpine was a different story. The three days I enjoyed at NEH were epic. Unquestionably the best 3 heli ski days of my life with nothing but sun and blue skies above, and boot top to knee deep creamy powder below. And when I say creamy, I mean it was like skiing on butter. And even better was the fact that NEH had a ton of snow in the weeks before my arrival, but it hadn’t snowed for several days before I arrived. This meant that the snow had time to settle and stability was extremely good. With good stability, you can hit the steeper runs that are so often unskiable during the early part of the season. So our guide took great advantange taking us to some really good steep chutes and couloirs whenever the opportunity presented itself. Back at the lodge each night for dinner, the talk amongst all guests was how epic the conditions and skiing were- and how it was every one’s “BEST HELI SKIING EVER”!!!