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Mike Wiegele’s Heli Skiing

Umm….. Is this real life!? We basically sauntered into a dreamland when Jenny Delich, Erik Read and I first pulled onto the Mike Wiegele’s Heli Ski premises. It’s the tail end of the season here, nearing mid April, and we are catching the last three days of heli skiing. The weather is changing so it’s getting too warm for snow. The mountains are still covered, even being painted with a dusting of new snow at night, but there is none left at base camp in the town of Blue River, BC. Even without the snow on the ground, my second thought (after my first one questioning the reality of it all) was, “This is exactly what Santa’s place looks like in the North Pole, I’m sure of it!”

Dynamic Duo

We are in Wiegele’s world now! A 1,200,000 acre playground nestled in the Cariboo and Monashee mountains where there is a collection of beautifully simple yet luxurious log cabins with names like Paradise surrounding The Lodge which includes a grand dining hall, work out and relaxation facilities, a games room, a boutique and more. There is even a rock-climbing wall located in the Guide Haus!

After checking in and dropping our stuff off in our cabin, Bahama Mama, we stopped by the sport shop to organize our gear for the next day. The staff at Wiegele’s make it extremely easy for guests; all you have to do is eat, sleep and ski… the stretching class or work out facilities are optional 😉 and your equipment is brought out to the heli pad for you.

HeliTail

Heli skiing is an adventurous sport because it takes you to unmarked backcountry where you are at the mercy of Mother Nature. Unfortunately our first day off skiing was cancelled to due unsafe flying and skiing conditions. However, the next two days…? Let’s just say we made up for lost time. I lost count how many runs we took, and each run was a new experience! The first day we kept pretty low, around 8,00ft, because of the fog ceiling. Our amazing guide Erich took us through some of the most fun tree skiing runs. I have fallen in love with tree skiing because of its varied terrain, great snow and the extra element of having to look ahead and around to spot your line through the obstacles. The second day we skied Dixon Glacier at around 11,000ft. This was a totally different ski experience than the first day. Up there you are surrounded by a panorama only before seen on the documentary Plant Earth. People simply don’t see this kind of beauty in real life.  A sea of white so clean and pure it almost looks blue surrounds you, so vibrant you can hardly see shadows. The mountains look almost animated because the snow seems too polished and the rocks too defined to be real. The view alone is reason enough to explore backcountry Canada! We didn’t just look at those mountains though, we skied them! Run after run of fresh tracks in the sun, only interrupted by a brief lunch flown in by helicopter and a quick break while we watched the legendary Mike Wiegle himself (74 years old!) along with Mr. Marcel Hirscher and his band of ski pirates draw incredible lines down this steep, pristine mountain face I had been eyeing the whole day…. I’m still envious!

NuggetPowSki

This experience was truly a gift! I don’t think Mike Wiegele really knows what he’s given me. To explore our country’s back yard, to ski run after run on skis so fat and snow so fluffy you feel like you’re floating, to challenge by abilities and push my limits by searching for cliffs, trees, wind swept lips, to go fast and free, to drag knuckles, to eat it (only once… or twice) and get a face-full unintentionally, to scare myself, to surprise myself, to impress myself and to eat like kings… Mike Wiegele gave this all to me in only a few days and I am so grateful. It’s fun to see a new side to something you think you know so well, and to fall in love all over again!

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Thanks to Head for lending me a pair of bas ass boards for the trip! I liked them so much you better not lend me anymore, you might not get them back 😀 Check out Media for more pics!

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