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  1. #1
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    A couple heli days with Selkirk Tangiers

    We got two days with Selkirk Tangiers earlier this month, after a nice snowfall and bluebird for flight days. This post is mostly for reference for those considering this kind of trip. This was my first heli ski experience and while the guides said they don't usually get very rowdy with "day skiers", less than 3 day packages or something like that, they did seem pretty thrilled to get us up on the Albert Glacier. So we had some of the longest runs they do apparently. The views were spectacular and the snow quality was great; combo of soft windbuff and patches of deep powder. Avy risk was generally moderate I believe; we saw some small north-facing wind-loaded sluff slides and later some small south-facing wet sluff slides. So they probably had to be careful with us somewhat.

    That said, we generally skied the lowest angle options. Occasionally we had something steeper but never anything steep enough you couldn't easily point if you wanted to (or were allowed to). We were generally on quite a short leash and nearly skiing on each other's lines as they asked us to fill in, at least in part explicitly for safety (close to lead guide's tracks). So this put quite a premium on being one of the first of the group of 10 to drop. We had 3 groups of 10 sharing one heli, shuttling one group while the other two skied, so I don't think strength of group would make much of a difference unless you had all three groups cranked up. The first day on lower levels they were ok with a little jumping, spinning, etc. but they wanted slow cautious skiing once we got higher, even when crevasses were quite far away.

    I understand the need for caution and safety, but it's tough to spend a lot of money for great snow and then be forced to slowly wiggle through it. It seems like a good choice for people who would like to ski conservatively, but not if you want to charge. I'd heard this before but it was a birthday group so out of my hands. Having access to Revelstoke for extra inbounds and sidecountry days helps to make up for it. And the nice pool/rec center for tubs and the water slide in Revelstoke at night. Actually to be honest, probably the 16-20 cm resort day we had before the heli was the best skiing of the trip. Pretty easy to hike/skin from the resort to just as good of terrain as the heli options. The whole process with the heli ride is pretty fun, but I could see a couple heli runs and then mixing resort with touring (maybe heli-assisted) as a more satisfying strategy if I just want the best skiing I can get. Small sample size I realize. And maybe a couple days of steep lines with cliffs and chutes all over at RMR first makes the low angle ultra-scenic pow cruising less of a thrill.
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  2. #2
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    Nice pics but man it looks like they made you ski 30 degree slopes the entire time. I've heard that's an issue with all the ops that fly the bigger 12 man Bell 212's. I think the only way to ski good terrain on a heli op is to go to AK or coastal operators like Bella Coola in the spring.

  3. #3
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    Apr 2006
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    I've skied with Selkirk Tangiers a number of times over the past fifteen years. Nothing in the last six, though, after RMR bought the operation. Skiing Albert Glacier is something that they've always kind of revered but I've only done a couple of times, mostly due to visibility concerns. If the light's flat at all, bad for flying, bad for skiing. I personally am not much of a fan of skiing the glaciers (kind of cool but...) as they're generally pretty flat and seemingly a lot of same-old, same-old. But, as this operation was founded by a Swiss guide with a lot of Euro contacts/clients who really dig the glacier, they really look for those opportunities. As for keeping tight groups, that's typical as they've got a lot of people into spaces they're trying to conserve for future guests, too. That and, this time of year, snow bridges might start deteriorating so they want to stay in safe spaces.

    Here's a couple of videos that better show what we've typically skied there. The first of these is from ten years ago probably the best ski day of my life and the second is yet another best day shot on my last trip there. I really liked going there the times I've been. With the ownership and operational changes, we haven't had the chance lately and I miss it.



    Here's from six years ago.


  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by gramboh View Post
    Nice pics but man it looks like they made you ski 30 degree slopes the entire time. I've heard that's an issue with all the ops that fly the bigger 12 man Bell 212's. I think the only way to ski good terrain on a heli op is to go to AK or coastal operators like Bella Coola in the spring.
    keep drinking the koolaid
    off your knees Louie

  5. #5
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    My friend went there a few years ago and had a similar experience. He was kind of disappointed for how much $$ he and his friends spent. To the point that when I went to Revelstoke last month he told me not to waste my money. Even wore his GoPro and then didn't bother with the footage (other than a screen grab or two) because it was so much meadow skipping.

    Those harvesting lines matching the tracks to the side make pretty photos but are pretty boring if you're dropping a grand a day or whatever. Makes me appreciate earning your own turns and skiing whatever the hell you want. For free.

  6. #6
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    Thatís why we tour.

  7. #7
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    Oct 2011
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    Backcountry lodges where you earn your turns have not disappointed me with their terrain. Even in high avy conditions I was able to ski some fun terrain steeper than 30 degrees.

    Sent from my Moto G (5) Plus using TGR Forums mobile app

  8. #8
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    Feb 2005
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    Quote Originally Posted by kootenayskier View Post
    That’s why we tour.
    i tour for the LIKES

  9. #9
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    May 2011
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    Quote Originally Posted by hercule33 View Post
    Backcountry lodges where you earn your turns have not disappointed me with their terrain. Even in high avy conditions I was able to ski some fun terrain steeper than 30 degrees.
    Yes, quite the contrary, I've heard nothing but positive experiences, guided or not.

  10. #10
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    Jan 2005
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    Bend, OR
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    Quote Originally Posted by TahoeJ View Post
    Yes, quite the contrary, I've heard nothing but positive experiences, guided or not.
    Me too, and after exorcising the heli mystique Iíll be quite content to stick to that. Heli lifts in and out of lodges probably get the best part of the heli ski experience anyways.

  11. #11
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    Oct 2011
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    Sometimes you can get a Heli bump from those lodges too so itís almost like the best of both worlds.

  12. #12
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    Jun 2014
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    Quote Originally Posted by gramboh View Post
    Nice pics but man it looks like they made you ski 30 degree slopes the entire time. I've heard that's an issue with all the ops that fly the bigger 12 man Bell 212's. I think the only way to ski good terrain on a heli op is to go to AK or coastal operators like Bella Coola in the spring.
    Even in AK you may end up skiing less than 30 degrees all the time. Sure, with coastal snowpack you have a greater chance of stable snow. But it's all down to the conditions. The myth that AK snow is stable, is still a myth. You will have surface hoar, wind loading etc etc there as well. I skied there with conditions so shaky and avalanches everywhere. It even avalanched on terrain I would think wasn't steep enough. I also skied there on nothing but pure ice. No pow what so ever. Not so fun with steep stuff then either.

    But I also skied there with snow as stable as it gets, and we blasted down 50 degrees faces and couloirs. It's just that, it's not like that all the time.

  13. #13
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    Nice pictures, looks fun.
    I'm loving the "heliskiing in the Canadian Rockies wasn't rad enough" shtick.
    Only on TGR....
    Last edited by hatchgreenchile; 03-27-2018 at 10:00 AM.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by hatchgreenchile View Post
    Nice pictures, looks fun.
    I'm loving the "heliskiing in the Canadian Rockies wasn't rad enough" shtick.
    Only on TGR....
    I don't at all want to come off as disparaging the operation; top-level equipment, staff, and service. Clearly safety is their entire focus. I might be a little sore about getting scolded for going too fast on probably a 5 degree "slope" at one point even though I hadn't (and didn't) crash at all. It's more that the idea of a heli trip gets built up and you want to be at the top of your game. Whereas honestly it probably would have been more fun if I hadn't ridden in a year and could feel a little challenged by the terrain. Time and money at this scale tend to have legitimate opportunity costs for most skiers so I'm just trying to help people make efficient resource allocation decisions. Maybe when I'm 65 this trip will feel perfect, so they probably know their market well.

  15. #15
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    Apr 2006
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    One thing to keep in mind is that it's best to fill the bird with your own group of like-skilled skiers. It's also best if you can fly for at least three days. It's also better yet if conditions are stable. The guides will feel your group out the first day then they plan based on group abilities and dynamics for the next days. You CAN get some cool terrain heli-skiing, including at Selkirk Tangiers but there's a 'getting to know you' period where the guides will be cautious. If there are disparities in skills, the lowest skilled skier will dictate terrain.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by LiveLarger View Post
    Even in AK you may end up skiing less than 30 degrees all the time. Sure, with coastal snowpack you have a greater chance of stable snow. But it's all down to the conditions. The myth that AK snow is stable, is still a myth. You will have surface hoar, wind loading etc etc there as well. I skied there with conditions so shaky and avalanches everywhere. It even avalanched on terrain I would think wasn't steep enough. I also skied there on nothing but pure ice. No pow what so ever. Not so fun with steep stuff then either.

    But I also skied there with snow as stable as it gets, and we blasted down 50 degrees faces and couloirs. It's just that, it's not like that all the time.
    Fully aware that it depends on conditions which are unpredictable, but yeah that was my point, coastal snowpack in late winter/early spring has a higher chance of being stable and healing more quickly. I've known multiple people that have done mid-winter heli days with day ops like Selkirk, RK etc. and it's been mediocre meadow skipping like OP experienced. It's a gamble booking in advance for anything of course.

  17. #17
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    Jun 2006
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    It's not like in TGR films? I'm shocked, I'm shocked I tell you.

    I agree it is a constitutional right for Americans to be assholes...its just too bad that so many take the opportunity...
    iscariot

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by hutash View Post
    It's not like in TGR films? I'm shocked, I'm shocked I tell you.
    I think there's a pretty huge gap in the middle.

  19. #19
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    Oct 2011
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    Quote Originally Posted by TahoeJ View Post
    I think there's a pretty huge gap in the middle.
    Lol, true that.

  20. #20
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    Oct 2008
    Location
    Vernon BC
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    A couple heli days with Selkirk Tangiers

    Lots of the ops play it super conservative... to be honest, the ones that play it loose are the ones that make me scratch my head.

    ...that said, I too would be choked if I paid dollars for goods and did not receive. I think it's hard for those who actually know the potential that exists. A big portion of the market is the DD's and Bobby stainless's of the world. Stoked on the heli, best runs of their season, throwing their billions around because they own these bitches.
    "Its not the arrow, its the Indian" - M.Pinto

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
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    I've gone out in a big bird with 10 guests twice before, and it really is a mixed bag. The first time (with CMH in Nakusp) was right after a huge storm and we were confined to skiing the trees, but it was still awesome. The only downside was the buddy I was paired up with was a pretty slow skier, so I spent a lot of time either letting him get ahead, or waiting for him to catch up. The second time (with Selkirk Tangiers) was probably the worst conditions possible for heli-skiing (high freezing level with poor vis up high) so we were really limited in what we could ski and they pulled the plug just after lunch because of the poor flying conditions.

    If I were ever to plunk down the cash to go heli-skiing, I would get a few strong friends together and go with a small-group operation like Eagle Pass Heliskiing, which I think is four skiers and a guide per group (with three groups sharing a helicopter). If I were really rich, I would get a private helicopter and make sure we skied the best terrain possible.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by LiveLarger View Post
    Even in AK you may end up skiing less than 30 degrees all the time. Sure, with coastal snowpack you have a greater chance of stable snow. But it's all down to the conditions. The myth that AK snow is stable, is still a myth. You will have surface hoar, wind loading etc etc there as well. I skied there with conditions so shaky and avalanches everywhere. It even avalanched on terrain I would think wasn't steep enough. I also skied there on nothing but pure ice. No pow what so ever. Not so fun with steep stuff then either.

    But I also skied there with snow as stable as it gets, and we blasted down 50 degrees faces and couloirs. It's just that, it's not like that all the time.
    True, but you have a much better chance of skiing steep stuff in ak than in Canada interior
    Quote Originally Posted by markb View Post
    Me too, and after exorcising the heli mystique Iíll be quite content to stick to that. Heli lifts in and out of lodges probably get the best part of the heli ski experience anyways.

    Sent from my Moto G (5) Plus using TGR Forums mobile app

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by markb View Post
    I don't at all want to come off as disparaging the operation; top-level equipment, staff, and service. Clearly safety is their entire focus. I might be a little sore about getting scolded for going too fast on probably a 5 degree "slope" at one point even though I hadn't (and didn't) crash at all. It's more that the idea of a heli trip gets built up and you want to be at the top of your game. Whereas honestly it probably would have been more fun if I hadn't ridden in a year and could feel a little challenged by the terrain. Time and money at this scale tend to have legitimate opportunity costs for most skiers so I'm just trying to help people make efficient resource allocation decisions. Maybe when I'm 65 this trip will feel perfect, so they probably know their market well.
    I'm older than 65 and I don't think skiing low angle stuff is worth it.

    Sent from my Moto G (5) Plus using TGR Forums mobile app

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