Aggressive and high paced heli-skiing
Aggressive and high paced heli-skiing
Previously called the "Steep Skiing" program, we have revamped it to focus on MORE skiing and less mountaineering. Skiers/riders on the 'Classic XL' program will get to experience a faster pace of skiing with others of similar ability. The Classic XL includes an industry-leading 120,000 feet of vertical, so you can charge hard, and when conditions allow, you may ski steeper!
Shane McConkey, professional skier: "Bella Coola was one of the most stunning places I've ever had the opportunity to heli-ski. “Swede” and crew have truly discovered an amazing new powder kingdom. I was constantly glued to the window of the heli scoping out some of the most spectacular terrain I have ever seen. Big, steep and deep. Wax your boards and get your ass up to Bella Coola."
A common inquiry we get goes something like this: "we've been heliskiing elsewhere and while the snow was great, the skiing itself was pretty mellow and we had to wait around for slower skiers. We hear you offer something more challenging." Oh yeah we do! When we created the original Steep Skiing program it was for purely selfish reasons: no-one in Canada was offering to ski truly steep terrain; the kind that would get our hearts pounding. When we started Bella Coola Heli Sports we were blown away with the immensity of the terrain here and all the wicked features like line after line of couloirs. It was stuff we wanted to ski ourselves and no-one was offering it. So with more and more people wanting to step it up, we thought "let's do this!".
That original program had a heavy emphasis on steep skiing and incorporated basic mountaineering skills, however, we found that most good skiers just wanted to ski hard in interesting terrain with people of a similar standard. Therefore, with this new program, we have done away with the mountaineering aspect as well as the singular focus on steep terrain; the program is now all about skiing at a faster pace with very strong skiers/riders....and when the group's ability and conditions line up, we will ski some of the steepest terrain in Canada. Of course, conditions do not always allow for skiing the steep stuff, that is why the focus of this program is to ski at a higher pace and more aggressively, no matter the conditions. If your goal is to ski spines then this is not the program for you, but if you want to charge hard with other good skiers, no matter the conditions, then the Classic XL is perfect!
With only 1 or 2 groups of 4 guests in an A-Star helicopter, there will be very little waiting between runs. The pace of the day will be fast and when the conditions are right, we will endeavour to ski those steep or technically challenging lines. Our guides will share their knowledge on how to make smart decisions in complex terrain, as well as how to approach and ski a challenging line, with safety at the forefront of all decisions. We will only ski the "gnar" when conditions are optimal and the guide thinks that you are capable of following instructions and skiing the line. In challenging weather or snow conditions, we will just try to heli ski as much as possible when the weather allows. At the end of your trip you will head home with a better understanding of how to approach complex terrain based on sound decision making while still skiing your legs off.
Down Days - Given the huge quantities of snow that we get, down days are a possibility. You should expect to have 1-1.5 down days per week. One of the advantages of skiing with Bella Coola Heli Sports is that there's the possibility to ski a few runs on both Arrival Day and Departure Day. This means on a 7 night trip, there's 8 possible ski days, so even with a down day or 2, you could still ski on 6-7 days! Besides, your legs might actually be begging for a rest!
If you are considering the Classic XL program, the best bit of advice is to give us a call, or send us an email, to see if you should be considering it or one of our other programs.
Heli-skiing in Alaska is pretty cool. Many of us at Bella Coola Heli Sports have skied up there and if you have plenty of time on your hands, and are a strong enough skier/rider, you should go at some stage. Having said that, we have a huge amount of advantages and, most importantly, we can offer challenging terrain too - as the photos on this page will show.
If you would prefer a less aggressive program with alpine terrain that is fun but not boring, consider our Classic PLUS and Classic Vertical programs.
Should you do the Classic XL program?
This program is appropriate for skiers/riders who have substantial heli-skiing and/or backcountry experience AND can confidently handle double black diamond terrain at a resort. You should be confident you can get down anything from crud, to trees and mixed snow conditions.
DO NOT OVER-ESTIMATE YOUR ABILITY! On a program like this our guides will quickly see if you have accurately rated your ability level. If your ability is less than what you have stated, and it will impact the enjoyment of others in the group, we will either have you sit out of the more challenging runs, or, if there is room in one of our other programs, we will move you to that (which is a pretty good trade off as we ski amazing terrain on our regular programs). No refunds will be given if you are forced to sit out due to understating your ability in our guide's opinion. To find out if this program would suit your ability, let's chat!