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Terrace BC Heli, April 2018

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
I wasn't sure it was entirely polite to post reports of heli trips here, but having read about one or two trips
which didn't work out well, I thought I would post about a trip with a different outcome, for balance.

I visited Terrace BC in late April 2018, right at the end of their season. Most places in BC are winding down once April comes around.
I've ridden late in the year in BC before, and typically conditions are "spring like", which means you're chasing the sun to find the best corn snow.
Good guides can deliver a quality experience, but if I'm paying for my powder then I want the best stuff, and it isn't likely to be there in spring.
I'd rather take short fierce days in steep trees in late December than long sunny days on glaciers any time.

However some Australians I was riding with earlier in the year had an late season trip to Terrace planned.
They convinced me that the size of the terrain up there would make it a good experience, even if the snow wasn't likely to be the greatest.
I figured that with long days, spring conditions, and a good crew, a lot of vertical was likely, so I opted for "unlimited vertical".

I started with a brief road trip around Ab/ BC.
Some days there was a dusting of snow, but the sun was warm and the roads quickly cleared.
I always rent the smallest and cheapest vehicle with zero extras, which is what this is.


I stopped at a few resorts. Here's a shot of Golden.

When I was last here the hill was called "White Tooth" and what you can see here was all fields.
Well not quite, but above the tree line was heli terrain and the "village" didn't exist.
I rode White Tooth with the local kids, who'd never met an English person before or a snowboarder.
We all came up on an old school bus which used to shuttle to the hill.
Sometimes the heli operator would drop off at the top of the old hill at the end of the day, picking up again at the bottom of the lift,
This trip I rode powder here once more, but it's not a patch on what it was before they built the lift up there.

I flew into Terrace from Vancouver.
My schedule didn't include Shames - I'm saving it for another year. Terrace feels pretty much how you'd expect for nowhere BC.
I was the only customer arriving for that week - an excellent sign - and a nice chap drove me the 20 minutes out to Northern Escape.
Northern Escape is a small operation with a couple of helis plus Cat backup.
To me that's a double-edged thing: if they need cat backup, it tells you something about the climate there.
On the other hand it means you're not going to be sitting in the lodge.

Luckily for me, this was the end of the season so most of the time there was only one group flying.
That means the machine operates like a "private": it's always waiting for you,
and you're not limited by the ability of anyone outside your group.
And my group was my Australian mates.

The end of season weather was most unseasonable in 2018.
Winter conditions with spring day-length is stupidly lucky, if you like trees.
I'd expected sun and corn, but we had seven days of winter weather, with the sun coming out briefly only on a couple of days.
I used what good light there was to shoot these frames.

Here's the Koala, showing mixed weather conditions and a glimpse of the terrain.



The machine was built in 2009 if I remember correctly. It's now my favourite heli - flexible, smooth and modern.
Janne is modelling Norrona's very photogenic jacket.


This is "Scot", wasting snow on skis. The backpack is standard-issue at NE with airbag and rescue gear.


Here's a shot showing the light deteriorating, not great for photography.
The light was mostly worse than this, with most riding in the trees as a consequence.



Finally here's the "ego video" (30secs), which I think I shot on the one sunny day.
It does gives a reasonable idea of the more open terrain although.
Terrace BC 2018 from phil 45464
https://vimeo.com/264255093
We are all tree people, and most of what we rode was more in the trees in rather less good light.

The snow was excellent, no corn at all, with temperatures being unusually cold all week.



Our group of six didn't really scratch the surface of their 7,000 square kilometers of tenure.
With unlimited vertical, long days, a strong group and good weather I believe we took their season-maximum vertical,
not that anyone's counting.

We had one down day out of the seven, with white-out conditions making it impossible to land up high.
Except we weren't down - we just flew over to their cat and rode for a day in fresh snow in their excellent cat terrain.

The major down side is that I probably can't go back now - if I did that, I'd be bound to do less well the next time wink
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Anyone else skied Northern Escape or Last Frontier?
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Nice report! Went to a wedding in Kitimat a few years back and think we met the guy who runs that operation.
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Looks great.

Cost please?
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
My Oz mates rode Last Frontier the previous season that week. They found it pretty similar, except they got the expected spring conditions, so more glacier stuff. It's a longer transfer.

Costs:
https://www.neheliskiing.com/
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Cheers
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Northern Escapes tenure is pretty massive with great ski terrain and loads of snow. Terrace as a ski destination is often overlooked but it has a cool little ski hill with loads of slack country/ski touring options with great fly in access. There's also a series of local huts which are worth checking out. The town itself on appearance is nothing special just a functioning northern mountain town with friendly locals and a decent microbrewery. Summer time Terrace is a destination for steelhead fly fishing on the Skeena River.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
I would your reporte, I would like go to Northern Escape in future. Begining of January
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
philwig,

Thanks. Great report! Very Happy

"It's now my favourite heli - flexible, smooth and modern."

We all have our favourite heli... wink
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@philwig, thanks for that, really interesting. I've always wondered about these places that have tiny 'local' hills with only a single lift yet loads of decent terrain that picks up a lot of snow. Is BC somewhere that's full of places like that?
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
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It is, although I expect it's not alone in that.

One catch is that most small hills don't really have "resort infrastructure", so may not be great for people who need to be "entertained".
A second is that if the conditions aren't good, then there's not a lot else to do.

They work well if you're flexible and mobile and fairly anti-social like me wink
Small hills are a good way to ride lift-accessed powder days after a storm.

@keivancas At the moment I believe Canada's borders are closed. If that changes, it's fairly likely that visitors will need to
quarantine.... For heli/ cat businesses last season was excellent because of good snow, but this season is going to start late and
may not happen at all.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Hi @philwig,
Good report, thanks.

There was talk of a small group of us heading to Golden in January for skiing and ice fishing & Crown Royal and Maple Syrup.

But it does not look like it can happen now. Sad
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
@philwig, I seem to have missed this when you posted it, thanks for the report, look like you had a great week.

I went to Last Frontier for a week around the first half of March 2015 and left very underwhelmed. I can't remember if I posted about it, but possibly mine was one of the negative reports you had read!

I had been considering Northern Escape at the time, perhaps I should have gone with them instead.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Here's good link to the backcountry skiing options around Shames which is the local Terrace ski hill. If anyone has any questions about skiing in Terrace feel free to contact by PM as I've skied out of Terrace for the last 11 winters.More then happy to suggest where to stay and general logistics to plan a trip.

https://www.backcountryskiingcanada.com/Shames%20Mountain%20Backcountry
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Have done the last 4 winters in BC, and heard a lot of good things about shames/terrace. Have got to the point where backcountry is more priority than in bounds, so it's an appealing option, would certainly be interested in getting some more information. From what I've seen there is no hostel there, which is my usual go to accomodation as cheap and a good place to find backcountry partners. Without that option, how easy is it to find semi long term (let's say 3-4 months) affordable accomodation? How easy is it to find partners, is there any kind of online groups?
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
boarder2020 wrote:
how easy is it to find semi long term (let's say 3-4 months) affordable accomodation?


Accommodation in Terrace can sometimes be hard depending on how much construction & exploration work is on in the area. Air B n B is ok source but last year the owner decided to cancel on me with a couple weeks before my family arrived so not ideal. The local real estate agents are a good source as well. Accommodation is usually pretty basic and dated.

Quote:
How easy is it to find partners, is there any kind of online groups?


Dead easy- Just head up to Shames and go to the top T bar and hang out where people go head into the slack/backcountry. Locals are really friendly and they'll know if you're not from Prince Rupert or Terrace.Sherwood Brewery is all a good spot to meet skiers. The length of runs around Shames are shorter but the varied and interesting terrain easy make up for it. There's a several huts which you can either access by a long walk in, a short heli flight or snowmobile.


Last edited by Poster: A snowHead on Tue 17-11-20 19:25; edited 1 time in total
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Quote:

This trip I rode powder here once more, but it's not a patch on what it was before they built the lift up there


I don't really understand this. I mean the old part of the resort is still there. You could go and sit on the old slow lift and ski that terrain still. They actually only open that lift weekends and holidays now though as so few people ride it (the gondola gives you 1200m elevation gain in 12mins vs the old chair 522m elevation in 10mins). Although you can ski all the old terrain from the gondola, you are just getting an extra 700m vertical first including the top half of the mountain which most would say offers much more interesting terrain than the bottom half/old part. So really it makes no sense to take the old chair, unless it's really busy and you are sacrificing better terrain to avoid big lines at the gondola.

Most people would agree that the gondola took a small ski resort with very little interest to anyone outside golden into an international destination capable of hosting world freeride tour. I mean the whole appeal of kicking horse is the steeps and chutes that gondola opened up.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@OD thanks for the info. Won't be in Canada this winter due to covid, but plan to be out there the one after so will keep shames in mind. One last question, what kind of touring options are available on the days the lifts are closed? Ideally without the need of a snowmobile.
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You can easily skin up under the lifts when it's closed takes about 45mins.

Across from the ski resort you have several valleys that start lower elevation but can access some great terrain. Zola and monkey Bowl and up Valley of Certain Doom(see link from previous post)

Larsen, Anderson and the new Oscar Peak Cabin all can be access by 4-5hrs of skinning. For a small amount you can get a short flight by heli which doesn't break the bank and lets you bring Beer and heavier food, you can then ski out. Anderson is the better cabin. Hut info and booking here: https://mtremo.ca/cabins-%26-bookings

Oscar Peak Cabin might not be open yet due to permit issues. This Cabin has some great terrain when it'll open.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
boarder2020 wrote:
I don't really understand this. I mean the old part of the resort is still there. You could go and sit on the old slow lift and ski that terrain still.....
The old heli terrain is now skier-pisted - it's still good, but for those fortunate enough to fly or hike up there in the past it's "not a patch on what it was". That's all.
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Some more on Shames from Powder:
https://www.powder.com/stories/features/shames-mountain-skiing-cooperative/
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
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philwig wrote:
Some more on Shames from Powder:
https://www.powder.com/stories/features/shames-mountain-skiing-cooperative/


Looks great, reminds me of some of the small resorts we have here out east. Only a few old slow lifts but after a dump you can ski the powder all day without it getting tracked out.


http://youtube.com/v/E3-i2wFz7qc
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!

http://youtube.com/v/Y3PYnF9eJtA

another shames vid worth a watch
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