Get Out There

Helicopter skiing, check

 | January 28, 2011

It’s amazing how a title of a mediocre movie can become a globally recognized catchphrase for all those things we want to do before we, as the phrase’s origin states, “kick the bucket.” Some may have a multitude of tick boxes on their bucket list and some may only have a few things they truly wish to accomplish before they push up the proverbial daisies. Everyone’s list is different and is a true testament to personal wants, desires and life goals.

As many of those reading this article either ski or snowboard, one can only make the assumption that helicopter skiing in deep champagne powder would most certainly grace a majority of our “must-dos” or at least our “I’d really like to” list.

Heli-skiing was once thought to be a sport reserved for the super fit, expert skier and the über-wealthy Ferrari crowd, but times, as they say, have certainly changed. Nowhere is this more evident than at the epicentre of heli-skiing, the world famous Mike Wiegele Helicopter Skiing in Blue River. Started back in 1970, this bastion of the steep and deep has over the years catered to an A-list of global movers and shakers that’s as long as one’s imagination and millions upon millions of vertical feet of pristine powder skiing have been logged by those lucky enough to call themselves Wiegele guests.

Imagine being dropped off on a distant mountaintop with three of your best friends, your own personal heli ski guide and nothing but shimmering powder stretching as far as your eye can see. Only in your dreams you say—well, dream no longer. Not only can your dream now be realized, you’re not going to have to mortgage your house to make it happen. The 8 Peaks Experience at Mike Wiegele’s started in 2010 as a way to introduce intermediate level skiers and boarders and first timers to the magical world of helicopter skiing, and should move directly to the top of that bucket list on your fridge.

Named for the eight peaks that tower over Wiegele’s Blue River location, the 8 Peaks Experience allows four people to enjoy a day away from the groomed runs while on holiday at Sun Peaks or lets four friends or family celebrate any milestone your mind can come up with because while you shouldn’t really need a reason to get on board, you’re more than likely to want to celebrate at the end of your day.

John Carruthers, a management consultant from Melbourne, Australia certainly had reason to celebrate as a new member of the Wiegele heli ski club.

“This is my first experience doing this and words cannot describe how incredible it is. It’s transformed my sense of what skiing is, and to be honest, it’s really going to make it hard to go back to chairlifts. I thought it would be more difficult, but they make it so anyone intermediate and up can do it,” said Carruthers.

In the rapidly changing world of ski technology, the new fat, rockered powder skis that are included in the 8 Peaks Experience has also changed the face of what an intermediate skier can do while helicopter skiing and the proof was in the pudding, or should we say, the powder for Anne Beren.

Hailing from Santa Monica, Calif., Beren first visited Wiegele’s 10 years ago after only five days on skis and was so enthralled she’s back and actually has two trips planned for this season.

“It’s so great here, I think the myth of only experts can do it is just that, and I wholeheartedly proved that. The guides here really take care of you, they know where on the mountain to take you and what group to put you in. I am what you would call a moderate skier I guess, and I love it. My fitness and stamina is what gets me through,” smiled Beren as she strapped together her Atomic Century powder skis before the next chopper ride.

Before you tick this one off your list, be warned—helicopter skiing at Mike Wiegele’s is highly addictive. Before he takes off for another powder run, Carruthers turns and smiles, “They’re going to have to tie me down to keep me from coming back to this place; it’s truly magical.”

For complete details on Mike Wiegele’s 8 Peaks Experience, visit www.wiegele.com or call 1-800-661-9170 (North America).

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