…or why you should probably go heliskiing this winter. Words: Feet Banks. Sponsored by Mica Heliskiing.
If you’re anything like me, the start of a new year means your Instagram feed is suddenly full of life-affirming messages and age-old wisdom. “Time waits for no one” I’m told. Or “Patience is a virtue.” You gotta love technology, centuries-old lessons and insight just scrolling past my eyeballs as I eat ketchup chips on the couch while periodically checking the storm forecast. “In every crisis, opportunity awaits…”
Wait a minute though, that last one actually hits home, because while the COVID-19 crisis has been a total global travesty, those of us fortunate enough to have our health while confined to the incredible (and very spacious) landscapes of Canada might just discover a silver lining in all the chaos.
Because with border closures and travel restrictions really sticking it to Canada’s international tourism industry, there are opportunities this winter for those of us already here to get out into parts of the country most of us might never otherwise see, or ski.
Places like Mica Heliskiing, which boasts 500 square miles of beautiful BC landscape perfection perched on the fringe of the Selkirk, Monashee and Rocky Mountain ranges. You can’t drive there (and it would be a ridiculously grueling walk) but the wilderness surrounding Mica is home to ski and snowboard terrain that Mountain Life Annual Editor Les Anthony says, “blows the doors off anything else, anywhere else.”
Strong words. And this season, the doors to Mica are open to us Canadians who may have dreamed of shredding the gnar there but have never been able to make it happen. “We have dates open now that haven’t been free in over a decade,” says Jana Thompson, Director of Marketing at Mica Heliskiing. “A lot of our guests are return visitors—last season alone we had 21 people reach their ten-year milestone—but this winter many of our regulars just can’t come here, so there’s an opportunity for Canadians to enjoy something they may not otherwise get to.”
Mica is renowned as a smaller, more intimate operation with a very familial vibe. Regular lodge capacity is just 20 people, but this year that’s reduced for enhanced safety. “Twelve to sixteen seems to be our sweet spot this year,” Jana says, adding that they’re offering new 3-4 day “Taster” packages that include six heli runs per day to make things more affordable for Canadians wanting to try Mica for the first time (regular packages offer unlimited heli runs).
Imagine grabbing a dozen buddies and having one of the best ski spots in the world all to yourselves?
“That sounds like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” says Mason Mashon, a Whistler-based snowboarder/photographer/artist/adventurer who has enjoyed the hospitality of Mica twice—once while photographing pro skiers with Sherpas Cinema and once as an artist in residence, enjoying the food and views of lodge life while the creating a piece of custom artwork to celebrate that season’s batch of ten-year Mica guests. Of course, he got some riding in as well.
“The terrain is pretty world-class. It’s a snowbelt so they get dumped on with huge alpine, incredible freeriding, and some of the best tree skiing I’ve ever done was there. There’s a zone that burned [in a forest fire] a few years ago and if you’ve ever skied in a burn, you know. They have 3000-foot burn runs, pillow drops… it’s insane. I don’t know how it gets better than that for heliskiing.”
“They have 3000-foot burn runs, pillow drops… it’s insane. I don’t know how it gets better than that…”
The 2020-21 winter is going to be different, there’s no doubt about that, but maybe it’s time to see the opportunity in that difference and start shredding untracked pow runs all day while living it up with your closest ski buddies one of the most beautiful (and socially distanced) places on the planet.
Like the old saying goes—there’s no time like the present.
Holler at Mica Heli for more info and start your own ten-year streak today! micaheli.com