by Dave Ward | Charge the Summit
Heli Skiing in British Columbia
A foot of fresh snow has fallen from the Heavens to the ground. Backcountry hucking. Mountains. Adventure. Danger. Fear. Fun. And, so much more. Welcome to British Columbia.
Why go heli skiing? Why take the risk? What is it about people like me that makes us do stuff like this? Are we just wild at heart or is there more to it than that?
Nine hours on a bus out of Calgary to just north of the middle of no where. CMH Gothics. The silence is deafening. If you listen, I swear you can hear God speaking to you here.
Then…in an instant, the scene changes. The silence is detonated by sheer violence. Madness and chaos that defy gravity and shatter the serenity. Whup, whup, whup…
The helicopter is so fucking loud that you can’t think. I remember thinking, “I sure hope God can hear me, because I can’t hear Him!” I also remember thinking…I could die today. It hit me. All of one’s accomplishments, experiences, joys, pride…one’s whole life…could be gone in the blink of an eye if someone makes a small mistake or nature doesn’t cooperate. You think of your wife. Of your kids. And, then both the helicopter and your thoughts fly away and the silence returns. You just let it go to God.
But, you land and new fears disembark the helicopter with you. There are so many things that could go wrong. Avalanche is just one of many dangers. Ever rock into a tree hauling ass on the snow? Ever have to be rescued by guides with ropes because you’ve gotten yourself into a really bad spot on a cliff? Ever get yourself caught in a tree well? The value of the new helmet exponentially increases. You hope this guide knows where the hell he’s going. You realize the heli was probably the safest part.
Then, poof…it’s gone and it’s just you and the mountain. Time to make friends with nature. Bo Eason says “the only way to conquer mother nature is to obey her.” Truer words have never been spoken.
Oh, that first turn is sooooo good. BC powder hounding is like nothing else. So deep. So soft. So rich. There are 30,000 acres of bottomless Champagne powder and you have seven days to touch as much of it as you can.
Would I do it again? Yessir!!! Why? It’s epic, for sure. But, that’s not it. It’s because you truly feel what it is to be alive when you face death. You realize you can hear His voice no matter how loud it gets. You learn that survival requires trust. You must trust your guides, your partner, and yourself.
This is why we come here. We don’t come here to die. We come here to live.