Busman’s Holiday

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Since earlier this week I celebrated the 12th anniversary of my 29th birthday, the husband and I took a short trip. One might wonder where ski industry folks go on vacation. That’s easily:

We go skiing.

Good friends, great snow. Can't get much better than this.

Thanks to the same early season snow storms Crystal received, the Cariboo and Monashee Ranges are in deep–already sporting their mid-January snow levels. We spent three days heli-skiing with Mike Wiegele’s crew, and it was spectacular. Al, one of the members of our group, explained it this way: the first two days of a heli-trip are pretty good, but the last day they, “set the hook,” which is precisely what happened.

Out of Blue River, where Wiegele’s operation sits among towering peaks, just a short heli ride to the east brought us to some amazing alpine bowls and high glaciers. John and I skied yesterday with friends old and new in boot-top powder against brilliant blue skies. This kind of experience could be addictive, so much so that I’m surprised the town of Blue River isn’t lined with homeless people holding up hand-printed signs with the words, “need money for heli” on them.

It’s that good.

Helicopter and the Monashees. That's all I need.

I recently wrote a guest post about the lack of women in the heli-skiing niche. A strange phenomenon occurs in the wake of Jet A fuel. Men tend to over-inflate their abilities while the ladies seem to under-inflate. A good friend of mine from Crystal Mountain, I’m not naming any names here Tiana, once told John she didn’t think she was ready to try heli-skiing. To which I dropped my jaw and said, “you’ve got to be kidding me?” I’m here to tell you that if you can ski powder at a resort–even the edge of the run left-overs at 11am–you can heli-ski. The most challenging part is getting in and out of the machine in knee-deep snow.

But the skiing is glorious. What a way to celebrate your birthday. I am a very lucky woman. If ever you have the opportunity to get out in the deep peaks in the belly of a helicopter with your skis and some very good friends, you must do it.

All in a day's work

Because if you don’t do it this year, as Warren Miller says, “you’ll be another year older when you do.”

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10 responses »

      • Well Kim, I started at Wiegele´s in 1990. The plan was to do heliskiing once in a lifetime – it failed. Meanwhile i spent 20+ weeks in Blue River and it´s still amazing. Goose bumps when the heli starts, goose bumps when it drops you off in the Cariboo or Monashee outback, goose bumps in the Silver BuckleLounge, the Legion and also when meeting the people from MW and BR. No kidding Blue River is a magic place!!!! …why else should I come from Germany every year?

  1. Can’t think of a better way to spend a birthday… or any day for that matter. The week before I celebrated the 11th anniversary of my 29th birthday I was in a serious funk because of all the things I had not yet done that I wanted to do before I was “old”. My wife asked “like what?” I said I wanted to go heli-skiing. She said “well go then!” That was 17 years ago and I have had the best years of my life since that day. I am going again with a group of friends in February. Wish I could have done it when I was younger, but it is great now. Sounds like you enjoyed your trip. Now if only I can get my wife into a helicopter….

  2. ahhh, I was slated to go with a group heli-skiing back in the late 1980s (yes, just a few years ago), but a key member of the group got pregnant with her first child and the trip fell apart. I remember her coming back from the same trip as you did a year earlier and saying it was “a religious experience.” Boo now I don’t hang with a heli-ski crowd anymore or have the disposable income to indulge. Maybe cat skiing…

    Drove through Blue River back in 1992, in the summer. Gorgeous. Happy birthday!

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