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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
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    ZA
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    440

    Northern Escape Heli - Rad or Lame??

    Just got an option to go on a trip to Northern Escape in early Feb.

    In 2018 I heli-skied in AK with an operator on Thompsons Pass and it was fucken lame. The so-called guides were a bunch of pussies who didn't ski steeps, and the guests were decent weekend skiers who could ski a bit of pow, but who couldn't handle any kind of terrain that was steeper or had exposure.

    Anyone have experience at Northern Heli. Will they actually take guests into 45 degree + terrain and big pillow lines, or are they your typical lame heli-operator who are geared to take money from rich weekend skiers?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
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    N side, Terrace, BC
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    45 degree + terrain and pillow lines. Nope
    Not lame. Yep.
    “I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don't let anybody tell you different.”
    ― Kurt Vonnegut, A Man Without a Country

    www.mymountaincoop.ca

    This is OUR mountain - come join us!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    truckee
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    I don't believe any heli operator is going to take you into serious terrain until they know you real well. And judging by the tone of your post, maybe not even then. Same thing applies as far as putting you into a group of expert skiers.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
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    Where the sheets have no stains
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    Click image for larger version. 

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    Yeah, you seem obsessed.
    I have been in this State for 30 years and I am willing to admit that I am part of the problem.

    "Happiest years of my life were earning < $8.00 and hour, collecting unemployment every spring and fall, no car, no debt and no responsibilities. 1984-1990 Park City UT"

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    closer
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    5,573
    Huh. Don't shame heli fetish people.
    But his attitude reminds me of the questionaire I had to fill out at a heli OP. Whereas most euros Fillled out: "decent Skier gets down most terrain in most snow up to 45degrees" All the US boys were max level extreme Skiers.
    Ironically when we stood on a "50 degree slope" I was a bit confused as it seemed barely 40 to me.
    But I probably think of 500 vertical meter sustained pitch and not some 10m shot with a Name when I think of steepness.
    It's a war of the mind and we're armed to the teeth.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
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    N side, Terrace, BC
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    Quote Originally Posted by garyfromterrace View Post
    45 degree + terrain and pillow lines. Nope
    Not lame. Yep.
    I stand corrected:
    http://https://fb.watch/oQjPmqLwqT/?mibextid=Nif5oz
    “I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don't let anybody tell you different.”
    ― Kurt Vonnegut, A Man Without a Country

    www.mymountaincoop.ca

    This is OUR mountain - come join us!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
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    Banff
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    22,157
    NEH does have fun high end terrain.

    BUT

    is the snow stable?
    are ALL the guest up for it safely?
    Do ALL the guests listen to instruction of guides?
    Have the guests already done dumb shit?

    most of the variables in heli/cat are NOT the snow.


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
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    Where the sheets have no stains
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    Quote Originally Posted by mntlion View Post
    NEH does have fun high end terrain.

    BUT

    is the snow stable?
    are ALL the guest up for it safely?
    Do ALL the guests listen to instruction of guides?
    Have the guests already done dumb shit?

    most of the variables in heli/cat are NOT the snow.
    And a full load of just your bros may not fix any of that.
    I have been in this State for 30 years and I am willing to admit that I am part of the problem.

    "Happiest years of my life were earning < $8.00 and hour, collecting unemployment every spring and fall, no car, no debt and no responsibilities. 1984-1990 Park City UT"

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2021
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    HVCC
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    224
    Quote Originally Posted by mntlion View Post
    NEH does have fun high end terrain.

    BUT

    is the snow stable?
    are ALL the guest up for it safely?
    Do ALL the guests listen to instruction of guides?
    Have the guests already done dumb shit?

    most of the variables in heli/cat are NOT the snow.
    ^^^THIS^^^


    Sent from my iPhone using TGR Forums

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
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    N side, Terrace, BC
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    Quote Originally Posted by mntlion View Post
    NEH does have fun high end terrain.
    Sure. Don't get me wrong, I've had some great days there, but as a guest in a typical group you're not skiing 45degree +. Ever.
    “I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don't let anybody tell you different.”
    ― Kurt Vonnegut, A Man Without a Country

    www.mymountaincoop.ca

    This is OUR mountain - come join us!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2021
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    HVCC
    Posts
    224

    Northern Escape Heli - Rad or Lame??

    Quote Originally Posted by garyfromterrace View Post
    as a guest in a typical group you're not skiing 45degree +. Ever.
    Agreed. Been on 17 trips throughout BC. Not happening unless you’ve got a camera crew and your own bird.

    I don’t believe even the steeps camp that Gauley ran with CMH…

    Personally - living in the Wasatch, I go Heli to find low pressure, easy access, generally safe pow conditions. I can get all the steeps I want inbounds at Alta/Snowbird or touring nearby.



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  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2022
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    Deep in the heart of....
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    Quote Originally Posted by stantonbum1 View Post
    Just got an option to go on a trip to Northern Escape in early Feb.

    In 2018 I heli-skied in AK with an operator on Thompsons Pass and it was fucken lame. The so-called guides were a bunch of pussies who didn't ski steeps, and the guests were decent weekend skiers who could ski a bit of pow, but who couldn't handle any kind of terrain that was steeper or had exposure.
    Not gonna lie, this sounds pretty cool.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    SW CO
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    1,061
    Been heli a few times. First run or two is always an evaluation of the strength of the group/group dynamics, etc. You want to ski badass shit, fill your chopper with bad ass skiers. When I was with Points North, solo, I got put in a group that was average weekend warriors. The guide recognized I could do more so he spent the day sending the group down the runs first then saying hey follow me and ski me into more challenging stuff. Had a lot of fun even with a lesser group.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
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    North Vancouver/Whistler
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    Quote Originally Posted by easyrdr View Post
    Been heli a few times. First run or two is always an evaluation of the strength of the group/group dynamics, etc. You want to ski badass shit, fill your chopper with bad ass skiers. When I was with Points North, solo, I got put in a group that was average weekend warriors. The guide recognized I could do more so he spent the day sending the group down the runs first then saying hey follow me and ski me into more challenging stuff. Had a lot of fun even with a lesser group.
    Easyrdr makes a good point. Be a good skier but also show to the guide that you can be trusted (ie use judgment and follow basic instructions) and you'll be given a lot more leeway)

    As to Northern Escape... they do have a lot of very aggressive terrain

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
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    JAC
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    1,296
    Quote Originally Posted by mntlion View Post
    NEH does have fun high end terrain.

    BUT

    is the snow stable?
    are ALL the guest up for it safely?
    Do ALL the guests listen to instruction of guides?
    Have the guests already done dumb shit?

    most of the variables in heli/cat are NOT the snow.
    100%, this is always what defines what you get on. That said some operations are inherently more aggressive than others.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Wasatch
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    7,188
    Quote Originally Posted by stantonbum1 View Post
    Just got an option to go on a trip to Northern Escape in early Feb.

    In 2018 I heli-skied in AK with an operator on Thompsons Pass and it was fucken lame. The so-called guides were a bunch of pussies who didn't ski steeps, and the guests were decent weekend skiers who could ski a bit of pow, but who couldn't handle any kind of terrain that was steeper or had exposure.

    Anyone have experience at Northern Heli. Will they actually take guests into 45 degree + terrain and big pillow lines, or are they your typical lame heli-operator who are geared to take money from rich weekend skiers?
    Why don’t you buy me a day and I will give you an honest review. if your not up for that watch some you tube sage cat ski lines to be sure you can ski that 45+ gnar gnar.

    Oh yah I don’t turn.


    Sent from my iPhone using TGR Forums
    I need to go to Utah.
    Utah?
    Yeah, Utah. It's wedged in between Wyoming and Nevada. You've seen pictures of it, right?

    So after 15 years we finally made it to Utah.....


    Thanks BCSAR and POWMOW Ski Patrol for rescues

    8, 17, 13, 18, 16, 18, 20, 19, 16, 24, 32, 35

    2021/2022 (13/15)

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Pemberton, BC
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    2,195
    It’ll be as rad as the least rad person in your group!

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
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    monument
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    6,809
    Quote Originally Posted by xyz View Post
    It’ll be as rad as the least rad person in your group!
    Ouch.
    And true.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
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    none
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    Quote Originally Posted by xyz View Post
    It’ll be as rad as the least rad person in your group!
    If you don’t who that person is, it’s you!-Theo Miner.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Feb 2021
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    HVCC
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    224
    Agree, but I AM the best skier on the mountain!! Or on the Heli…


    Sent from my iPhone using TGR Forums

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    northern BC
    Posts
    30,720
    A buddy guides at Northern escape Heli, sez they get return groups, he mentioned a group from zee cheramn ski mfger,

    you could get special treatment if that was you

    but i doubt that is you
    Lee Lau - xxx-er is the laziest Asian canuck I know

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Tahoe
    Posts
    2,674
    I ski'd 4 days with NEH in Jan 2020, just before Covid hit.
    I wouldn't say it was Lame but was far from Rad.
    I got in on an early season deal and before I booked I called and spoke with the boss man John.
    I told him I was considering coming up solo and understood I'd be at the mercy of the group I was in and asked for his honest assessment, if he knew any of the other skiers who'd booked, whether they were repeat customers or first timers etc.
    He assured me with only 10 skiers in house that everyone would be solid and offered without me asking that the groups would be re-shuffled if there was an obvious mismatch.
    Unfortunately for me, he pretty much flat out lied.
    In my group was 1 charging German who barely spoke english and just took off 20 feet behind the guide every run, a guy from Vancouver who was an OK skier just not very strong, and 2 guys from the east coast who I can count on 1 hand the number of runs in 4 days where neither of 'em fell.
    I was up there in the middle of an Arctic Outflow with very cold sub-zero temps so instead of eating lunch out in the mtns, each day we'd fly back to the lodge to warm up. On the 2nd day, only me, the German, and a couple from Calgary (from the other group) wanted to go out after lunch so the 4 of us with an additional guide got out on some slightly rowdier terrain, but mostly the pace was faster so not nearly as cold when not standing around so much.
    I asked the lead guide about keeping the newly formed group intact for the next 2 days but despite my dissatisfaction, he seemed to think the mix of the groups was just fine.
    NEH has a ton of terrain so obviously they've got steeper & funner options, and I even saw some of it, from the bottom. I asked the guide if those get ski'd much and he confirmed with the right group & conditons.
    I knew my group did not fit that description.
    As has been said often, if you want a better chance to not spend thousands to meadow skip, bring a full heli of your pals.
    My only gripe with NEH is that I asked first and what I was told did not match how it actually played out.
    "The mind, once expanded to the dimensions of larger ideas, never returns to its original size."

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Posts
    908
    It's even more complicated (ie, hard to get on rowdy terrain) than this... The other nuance is that a heli is usually being shared amongst 3 groups, and the economics of heli-skiing is all about fuel mgt and throttle time. So if rowdy is in a different "zone", that's another needle to thread.
    I've concluded that the heli-skiing cost vs risk-weighted reward isn't worth it. Even a week up in AK, weather (in April) really limited us, and fortunately (luckily) one day really lined up to save us.

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Pemberton, BC
    Posts
    2,195
    And even if your heli is full of Cody Townsend’s and the weather is dialled, you still gotta get the guides on board to get rad.

    That’s why I like local heli drops. When the conditions line up, get a good crew together that doesn’t include a guide. Unguided hut trips can be the same but you still got to get lucky with the weather.

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    panhandle locdog
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    7,807
    I’d rather go to Europe and ski big mountains (heli type terrain off a lift) and also not end up in a fleabag motel in BFE Canada/Alaska watching it rain for 9 days hoping we’ll get one day.

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