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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
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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 You need to Login to know who's really who.
You need to Login to know who's really who.
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.

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 You'll need to Register first of course.
You'll need to Register first of course.
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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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