The Cold Rush

Last Frontier Heliskiing runs 2 operations – comprising the largest heli tenure on earth – based in the pristine wilds of northern British Columbia.

Bell 2 Village. Photo by Andrew Doran.
Bell 2 Village. Photo by Andrew Doran/courtesy Last Frontier Heliskiing.

Bell 2 Lodge is located 360 km northwest of Smithers. The resort is situated along the Stewart-Cassiar Highway. Ripley Creek Inn, Stewart, is located 310km northwest of Terrace. The small town of Stewart is situated at the end of the Portland Canal, opposite Hyder, Alaska. This operation focuses exclusively on the southern part of the tenure.

Every year Last Frontier releases a short feature film to showcase a typical week in their tenures. They invite two athletes – in this case big mountain freeskier and BASE jumper Suz Graham, and freeskier Chris Booth – and one photographer (this year Reuben Krabbe) to come and work with filmmaker Grant Baldwin.

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Suz Graham at Last Frontier. Photo by Reuben Krabbe/courtesy Last Frontier.
Suz Graham at Last Frontier. Photo by Reuben Krabbe/courtesy Last Frontier.

This year instead of skiing out of the lodges, Baldwin spent a week filming Suz and Chris on Last Frontier’s Safari. Definitely a must do for those wanting a truly epic week of heliskiing, the Safari takes the week to ski your way through the ginormous tenure from the Ripley Creek Inn to the Bell 2 Lodge location. It’s a phenomenal way to see the extent and scope of the tenure and gives people a chance to really see the variety of terrain.

The Cold Rush (above) is the fourth promo film that Baldwin has created for Last Frontier. Making a promo film is never easy. For many heliski operators out there, the best shots and segments of an entire season are edited to create a short film showcasing their product. Last Frontier takes a slightly different approach. They pick a photographer, a filmmaker, and an athlete and book them in for a week of skiing and filming. The week is booked months in advance so weather, snow conditions, and accessible terrain are the same for them as they would be for a guest on a typical trip.

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Photo by Reuben Krabbe/courtesy Last Frontier.

This year, filming took place in mid February. “People always ask me about skiing in Alaska. And yes, it’s big and epic and burly, but to be truthful, you spend a lot of time grounded because of weather,” said Suz Graham. “Here, the mountains are just as epic, but because their terrain is so large and diverse, no-fly days are rare.” Case in point, mid-way through the week, the biggest storm of the year hit and dumped several feet of northern BC pow. “I was sure we wouldn’t be flying, but lo and behold, the next four days, we shredded waist deep turns in about every kind of terrain you can imagine.”

Photo by Mike Watling/courtesy Last Frontier.
Photo by Mike Watling/courtesy Last Frontier.

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