Revelstoke has the world’s best tree skiing. A mixture of tree species, the right amount of snowfall and the lightness of the snow create a powder playground like no other. The old-growth forests that Selkirk Tangiers have in their heli ski tenure are carefully tended so trees are nicely spaced (this is known as ‘glading’). Skiers therefore have exciting lines through the trees and plenty of space to turn. Seasoned heliskiers will argue that whizzing through trees and popping off tree stumps covered in snow pillows rivals high altitude glacier skiing any day. Check out Swedish freestyler Johann Persson ripping through the trees in Revelstoke here
At first tree skiing can be a bit daunting – the thought of skiing into a tree can put you off your stride! Here are our top 5 tips for techniques to ski trees like a pro:
1) Ski the gaps. Look at the white stuff and focus on where you want to ski, not what to avoid. It may sound like common sense, but too may people get preoccupied with looking at trees, which affects their flow of movement.
2) Plan your turns and look ahead. Look through the trees and plan 2 turns in advance. This will help you connect your turns and prevent a turn-stop pattern that zaps your energy.
3) Stay on your feet – by this we mean keep your balance centered above your feet and don’t lean too far back. You might be in deep snow, but your skis will float without you leaning backwards and throwing yourself off balance.
4) Keep your arms in front of you. Not only will this improve your balance and put you in a reactionary position, but also you can brush any small branches out of the way.
5) Take your pole straps off. In the unfortunate case that you take a tumble this will prevent you injuring your wrists and shoulders.
Have fun with it. One of Bighorn’s guests said they could never lose their friends when skiing the trees because of the noisy whoops of joy! We can arrange for you to enjoy a day’s coaching in the trees at Revelstoke Mountain Resort with a top instructor to get you ready to heliski the best tree terrain on Earth. Plus, on a down day when the heli can’t fly, world class tree skiing is always accessible from Bighorn.
Everyone knows that heliskiing is the ultimate skiing experience , but how much better is heli-skiing than lift skiing in Revelstoke? If you can’t decide, we weigh up 5 key considerations below.
The heliski terrain surrounding Revelstoke gets an average of 40-60ft of snow per year, whereas Revelstoke Mountain Resort (RMR) gets 30-45ft.
Heliskiing offers 100% fresh, untouched snow so you will ski virgin powder all day long. It is unbeatable in this respect.
However the lifts at RMR do give you access to some amazing powder bowls and gladed tree skiing, with fantastic conditions. Of course you won’t have exclusive access to the terrain, but RMR is wonderfully uncrowded so the fresh stuff doesn’t get skied out as quickly as in other resorts.
Selkirk Tangiers Heliskiing has access to 500,000 acres of heliski terrain with over 200 known runs through wide-open glaciers, alpine meadows and the world’s best tree skiing. The size and variety of the terrain speaks for itself.
RMR has 3121 acres of terrain with 56 runs through high alpine powder bowls, gladed trees and groomed terrain. The resort offers a superb range of terrain for advanced skiers prompting the Telegraph to describe it as “the world’s best skiing”.
Heliskiing from Bighorn couldn’t be easier as the private helipad at the house means you are just steps away from accessing some of the world’s best heliskiing. You can be at the top of a wilderness peak in a matter of minutes.
RMR is just a 1-minute drive away in the Bighorn vehicle and the high-speed lifts mean you’ll be at the top in no time. Not quite as fast as in a helicopter, but faster than most other resorts.
Heli ski runs range from 500-2200 vertical metres, giving you what feels like an endless descent on powder snow.
To talk in general figures, lift passes cost $74 per day and heli skiing starts from $797 per day. The additional cost of heliskiing affords you the thrill of flying by helicopter, wilderness terrain, access to the best snow and the fastest lift for maximum vertical.
Revelstoke Mountain Resort offers a superb alternative with high speed lifts, relatively quiet slopes, exciting terrain and an impressive vertical descent.
In summary, heli skiing is unbeatable, but Revelstoke Mountain Resort also excels on all counts. As a back-up option for down days when the helicopter can’t fly it is superb and means you are guaranteed world-class skiing every day of your trip. The terrain in particular is exciting, varied and uncrowded, making it the perfect complement to the heliski terrain for adventurous skiers. Thankfully, guests at Bighorn get access to both heli and lift skiing allowing them to enjoy both from one base.
This season at Bighorn we welcomed both seasoned heliskiers and enthusiastic novices who were excited to discover the ultimate ski thrill. Revelstoke is the perfect place to try heli skiing, with wide glacial bowls, light powder snow, stunning scenery and fantastic lift skiing at Revelstoke Mountain Resort if you don’t want to commit to a week-long heliski package. If you are going to splurge on heliskiing, make sure you do it at Bighorn. The amazing lodge compliments the indulgence of skiing from a helicopter and the world-class amenities mean you aren’t sad to return home at the end of each day. Best of all, the back up option on a bad weather day is a day spent skiing the incredible terrain at RMR.
We caught up with Sam, who heliskied for the first time at Bighorn and wanted to share an insight into this amazing experience:
“I had huge hopes for my heli ski experience and I’m pleased to say that it exceeded all expectations. It was reassuring to have the expert avalanche training in Bighorn’s grounds with Selkirk Tangiers. It’s good to know about all the measures that are taken to keep skiers safe as well as having the chance to practice what to do if the worst happens. Each morning, we relaxed in the Great Room, watched our helicopter land and literally just hopped in! The thrill when the heli surges upwards towards the mountain tops gets you every time. As the thud of the helicopter fades away, my 3 best friends and I were left in the silence to contemplate our surrounds and the dream runs that stretched below. The week was a haze of powder pillows, endless feather-light turns and a lot of whooping! It was an experience I’ll treasure forever, but one I will endeavour to repeat very soon”.
As the Revelstoke heli ski season draws to a close, we have been looking through the Bighorn guest book and selecting some highlights. Bluebird days heli skiing in the A star, the romantic couple that took a private heli for 2, fresh tracks down Greely Bowl and face shots in the trees on Paradiso.
But at Bighorn the phenomenal skiing is enhanced by indulgent service and stunning accommodation. Chef Peter Hughes’ cuisine has been much talked about, from the “Japanese feast cooked up in front of our eyes” to the “incredible beef fillet – the singular best thing I have ever eaten”. One of the most commented-upon treats were the delicious Mini Boeuf Bourguignon Pies: “the ultimate apres ski beer snack”.
As part of our Notes From the Chef’s Table blog posts, we tell you the secret recipe to make them yourself – or book your trip to Bighorn to try them without the effort!
The ultimate apres ski beer snack: Mini Boeuf Bourguignon Pies
2 sheets pre-rolled frozen puff pastry
1 egg for glazing
1.5kg (3.5 lbs) of diced chuck steak or shin beef cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 cup finely diced onion
1 cup quartered chestnut or field mushrooms
1 cup finely diced smoked bacon (lardons)
1/2 cup finely diced carrot
1/2 cup finely diced celery
1/2 cup finely diced leek (white part only)
1/2 cup finely diced fennel bulb
1/2 cup finely diced shallots
1 tbsp butter
1/2 cup of finely diced fennel bulb
1/2 cup diced shallots
1 tbsp butter
1 bottle of good quality red wine
In a large mixing bowl season the beef with flour, salt and pepper and set aside whilst you prep your vegetables.
Finely chop all the vegetable ingredients and smoked bacon and sweat gently in a heavy bottomed saucepan until translucent. Remove from saucepan and keep in a bowl to add later. In the same saucepan as you cooked the vegetables add the seasoned beef and sear whilst stirring continuously to get some good colour on the meat (remember colour is flavour and will make a big difference to the final result).
After ten minutes pour in the wine and marry all the remaining ingredients together in the saucepan. Bring to a simmer and stir every ten minutes for the first half an hour to avoid a sticky disappointment!
Once the ‘gravy’ has started to thicken and the beef starts to become tender stirring occasionally (this dish is a labour of love and the more you care for it the more you will be rewarded in the finished article) turn the heat down further until a gentle simmer can be sustained in the pan for a further two-three hours depending on the size of your beef if you’ll pardon the expression! Towards the end add the small soaked cocktail onions and simmer for 30 minutes more. Total time simmering should be no more than 3 1/2 hours but if the boeuf still seems a little tough the simmer gently for longer.
Meanwhile in a preheated fan assisted oven at 180c or 350f cook pre-cut oval or round mini discs of pre-rolled frozen puff pastry on parchment paper or baking sheet glazed with eggwash until golden in colour. Allow to cool slightly (these can be pre-made and will keep at room temperature for up to a week in airtight containers).
Take a sharp serrated knife and cut the pastry shapes horizontally to create tops and bottoms. Spoon in some of the Bourguignon and top with a lid and serve with beer and smiles!
“The nicest place you’ll ever rest your ski-wobbly legs”
Is how top ski journalist Christopher Solomon described his stay at Bighorn in Revelstoke. The whole experience felt like a “dream”, with the thrill of heliskiing in the Monashee Mountains, accommodation in a “tricked-out timber framed manse”, rejuvenating spa treatments and cuisine to die for.
“We dive, hooting and laughing in 18 inches of untouched snow. It’s not a bad warm-up. Soon we’re hammering to the next powder run. It’s only going to get better, and steeper, from here—and yet, weirdly, I’m already half-dreaming about après-ski back at the lodge… where chef Peter Hughes will be waiting in the rotor wash with a plate of salmon blinis, and then we’ll all marinate in the hot tub with a bucket of iced Mt. Begbie Kolsches within reach”.
People go heli skiing to experience pristine powder snow in stunning wilderness locations. It is a back country experience and there are no groomed runs. Whilst a heli skier needs to be proficient in deep snow, the sport is by no means the reserve of the expert skier. The type of terrain skied will typically not be too challenging and at Bighorn we can ensure that your guide caters for your ability and wishes.
2) Where is the best place to heli ski?
Revelstoke, British Columbia is the birthplace of heli skiing. This is due to the excellent annual snowfall and vast expanse of varied terrain. There are over 1 million acres of heliski terrain accessible from Revelstoke and the presence of a world-class lift-accessed ski hill gives the ultimate in flexibility regarding options for your ski week.
3) What are the costs associated with heli skiing?
When compared to traditional lift accessed skiing, heli skiing is an expensive sport. However, the experience is mind blowing. Skiing untouched powder snow and exhilirating terrain that is inaccessible to any other method of transport more than justifies the cost.
4) What is the best way to try heli skiing?
A good starting point is to book a single day heli ski experience. Revelstoke Mountain Resort run a classic package which is an excellent starting point for the heli ski novice. Ideally, if the day can be booked for the middle of your ski week then it gives you a chance to warm up on the mountain (and also to book another heli ski day later in the week!).
5) Do I need to be fit to go heli skiing?
While you do not need to be an athlete to heli ski it is a simple fact that the better condition you are in, the more you will enjoy the experience. You can always soak aching muscles in the outdoor hot tub at Bighorn.
The team at Bighorn are delighted to have been crowned Number One Heliski Destination in North America by Outside magazine. Our inaugural season has started with a bang as guests have been blown away by the stunning accommodation, Revelstoke’s incredible snowfall and the amazing heliski terrain in the Selkirk and Monashee Mountains.
Outside is America’s leading active-lifestyle and adventure travel magazine and their travel experts search the globe for the best and most innovative outdoor experiences. It is the unique experience on offer at Bighorn that Outside loved so much; “Bighorn is the lovechild of two outstanding concepts: the European catered chalet and a Canadian heliski outfit. Strap on your ski boots in the morning, shoot a round of pool as you watch for the bird to land in the backyard, and then hop in for a ride to 500,000 acres of bowls, glades, and glaciers in the ragged Selkirks”.
Bighorn offers heliskiing direct from the house helipad with Selkirk Tangiers Heliskiing and lift or cat skiing at Revelstoke Mountain Resort. Tim Neville from Outside commented that “there are plenty of things to do when storms keep the helicopter tethered to the ground—like ski out the door and ride the lifts at Revelstoke Mountain Resort, which has the most vertical feet of any mountain in North America (5,620 feet). Either way, you’ll get a powder day”.
Indulgence doesn’t stop with the outstanding skiing however, as Bighorn offers new standards of luxury accommodation, service and cuisine “Chef Peter Hughes will be waiting in the rotorwash to serve you champagne by a huge stone fireplace and salmon canapés or duck confit on the chalet’s 15-foot-long black walnut table”.
Click on the link below to read Outside’s full review:
Bighorn Executive Chef Peter Hughes not only creates dishes to delight the taste buds but he also knows that at Bighorn food is fuel for a day heliskiing in Revelstoke’s powder bowls. In the latest installment of Notes from the Chef’s Table, we focus on the humble walnut. After reading in Mens Journal that walnuts pack more than double the amount of anti-oxidants than any other nut, Peter decided to do a little research. The micronutrients in walnuts can help with balance and co-ordination as well as boosting blood flow to help your muscles perform harder, longer and more efficiently. It sounded like the perfect skiers nut!
Always thinking of the Bighorn guest experience, Peter is from this moment forth going to pair an indulgent walnut pesto with his homemade gnocchi. Here’s how…
1 large bunch of basil
250g crushed walnuts (fresher the better)
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Zest of 1/2 lemon
250 ml good olive oil (cold pressed)
1 punnet of rocket leaves
Blitz all ingredients together and store in the fridge for up to a month in an airtight container. Delicious as an accompaniment to pasta, gnocchi, stirred into hot steamed broccoli or just as a sandwich spread.
More top tips for foodie skiers will follow next week!
Heliskiing is the ultimate thrill for any avid skier. Unsurprisingly this comes at a price, so careful consideration is required when deciding where to go for this indulgent trip of a lifetime. We asked one of our experienced guests at Bighorn to discuss the risk reward profile of two of the best heliski destinations in the world: Valdez in Alaska and Revelstoke, BC.
Alaska has the best steep skiing terrain in the world. The proximity to the coast and extreme cold throughout much of the winter create a very low risk of avalanche. This allows skiers to ski terrain as steep as 60 degrees. Revelstoke has the best tree skiing in the world, and also has an abundance of excellent high alpine skiing in large glacial bowls. The terrain is extremely varied but, on average, will not be as steep as Alaska.
Both Alaska and Revelstoke are snowsure places to ski, the difference is the quality of the snow. As Revelstoke is located away from the coast in the interior of British Columbia, the snow has less moisture and is lighter. In Alaska, proximity to the coast means the snow can be wetter and heavier.
3) Down Days
This is the major difference. A week of heli skiing in Alaska will typically on average have 3 down days, Revelstoke will on average only have 1. In Alaska, when you cannot ski, there is very little to do as there is no lift skiing. There is only so much table tennis one can play in the mountains. In Revelstoke, guests at Bighorn can experience the all new Revelstoke Mountain Resort, which provides the perfect alternative to heli skiing. Boasting the longest vertical drop in the whole of North America, it is the perfect antidote to being told you cannot fly. In the wider Revelstoke area there are also a number of cat skiing operations which operate irrespective of the weather. In short, there is never a zero ski day in Revelstoke.
No one can argue against the fact that Alaska has excellent ski terrain. Every real skier should tackle an Alaskan spine at some point in their life. However, to travel so far, and then not to ski is unthinkable. It happens. Revelstoke provides endless options for amazing skiing whatever the weather, and with the addition of Bighorn, can boast the ultimate in luxury ski accommodation and service.
Let’s face it, every time the air turns cold and the snow clouds begin to roll in, our thoughts turn to hitting the slopes. Once that frisson of excitement subsides the lingering question remains, ‘Will my equipment live up to expectations and is there any must have kit that well… I just must have?’ We can answer that for you with 3 of the hottest products to take your luxury heliski holiday to the next level.
There’s no doubt that ski design has come a long way since 2m skis were on the short side of acceptable. The latest trend for those who look for deep snow is rocker technology. Having a rockered ski that bends skywards at the front and back offers more floatation in the powder so you use less energy and can really make the most of your day in the deep stuff. K2 pioneered this technology with the Pontoon and it continues to lead the way as one of the best powder skis money can buy.
Tired of having to always take your pack off to get at those essentials? Fed up with the lumpy avalanche gear swinging around on your back? The North Face Powder Guide Vest is the answer to your problems. Stylish, compact, and comfortable, the Powder Guide Vest has all the storage exactly where you need it for a great day in Revelstoke’s backcountry.
What better way to relive that perfect day heliskiing than showing off your amazing footage in the Bighorn movie theater? GoPro offers HD quality video from a camera that’s smaller than a juice box and a range of mounting devices that means you’ll always catch that enormous grin on your face as you put another turn down the perfect powder slopes of the Monashee Mountains.