Mike WiegeleMike Wiegele helicopter skiing at Blue River in British Columbia offers the perfect combination of weather and terrain. The best powder for skiing is guaranteed. Rise over thousands of acres of pine forests and tremendous glacial expanses, then land amidst the ridgelines of the Cariboo and Monashee mountain ranges. And all of it accessed only by helicopter.
Founded in 1970 and located in a beautiful part of British Columbia, Canada, in the heart of the magnificent Monashee and Cariboo mountain ranges, “Wiegele’s World” covers 3,000 square miles and over 1,000 peaks in one of the most reliable snow belts in the world for high-quality, reliable powder snow. Consistent accumulations of 30 feet or more are normal.
Mike Wiegele has 10 helicopters to take you into the largest single heli-ski area in the world. For such a huge ski area you also get a huge map to chart your progress. The ski area, measuring around 80 miles (128 km) from north to south and some 40 miles (64 km) from east to west, is divided into 24 named territories (15 Monashee and nine Cariboo) and there are 553 named trails. Your ski map includes a Run Log so you can record the date, trail name, and number of vertical feet skied each day.
The skiing is done at elevations between 3,400-11,600 feet (1,036-3,535 m) and the average landing is at around 8,000 feet (2,438 m). Choose between exciting glacier carving and unmatched tree skiing. At Mike Wiegele Heli-skiing the number of drops is determined by weather conditions and the ability of the skiers, but you can expect to average 8-10 trails per day and as many as 15 trails per day is possible. Wide Atomic powder skis make skiing deep snow much easier and a broad range of skis is available for guests.
Mike Wiegele’s guides make every effort to select skiing routes that suit your ability and comfort level. Weather conditions permitting, your group will start on open, moderate glacier trails or gentle runs through trees, and as the week progresses so will you, advancing to steeper slopes and faster skiing. After the third day of powder skiing it’s common to feel slightly tired, but this feeling usually passes quite quickly as you rise to the challenge of the fourth day. After that your confidence is increasing and you’ll find yourself on non-stop runs linking 50 to 100 consecutive turns.
Snowboarders, monoskiers and telemarkers are welcome at Mike Wiegele, but you should have a strong and confident technique and may need to traverse or climb uphill to reach some destinations. April is a great time for snowboarding. At this time of year, the deep slab stability is good and it should be possible to ride the higher peaks.
Professional photographers are on hand to record your progress and proofs are usually available for viewing and purchase each evening.
For many, high alpine glaciers provide the most exciting skiing experience as you carve your way down a blanket of powder surrounded by snow-covered peaks. The higher the elevation, the longer the run and 300 to 600 consecutive turns is common here so you also need to be fit.
Unrivalled tree skiing
For many élite skiers the trees are the ultimate experience and because the loose powder is protected from the wind and sun the very highest quality of powder is found in the trees. You will ski trails like Steinbock, Mike’s Warm Up, Lempriere, Lower Most Magnificent, Redmond, Screwball, Freefall, and Jimmy’s Preserve, all in the Cariboos. In the Monashees you have trails like Saddle Mountain, Ptarmigan, Finn Creek, Rusty Nail, Salmon Lake, Erich Ridge, and Elk Run. These are legendary trails and unmatched anywhere. Mike Wiegele’s guides are carefully chosen for their ability to find the best conditions, and their understanding of the clients needs. The professionally trained guides, certified by the Canadian Ski Guides Association (C.S.G.A.) or equivalent organization, are also certified ski instructors and chosen for their ability to provide guests with an exciting and memorable vacation while caring for their safety and comfort at all times. Most senior guides have been involved at Mike Wiegele’s for more than ten years.
Going beyond the industry standard ratio of 11:1 guests to guide, the Deluxe Tour has groups of ten skiers with two professional guides, bringing the ratio down to 5:1, and the Private Tours operate on a 4:1 ratio. Mike Wiegele Helicopter Skiing is one of the few operators with a dedicated infrastructure including three weather stations, three radio repeater stations, advance guides training, and an avalanche research program.
Every ski week involves instruction. Whether you are a first-time heli-skier or an expert the guides will assist you in attaining a higher level of skiing, and if you are a first timer or an intermediate you can expect to be offered tips and techniques to help you ski with greater confidence and enjoyment.
Safety is paramount at Mike Wiegele Helicopter Skiing and the ratio of guests to guide (all professionally trained and certified) ranges from 10:2 to 4:1.
Skiers must be, at minimum, strong intermediates capable of dealing with the challenges presented by deep snow, helicopter transportation, and backcountry skiing. If you are unable to satisfy these criteria you would be restricted from skiing and no refund would be given. Guests are required to sign a liability waiver that recognizes the dangers of backcountry helicopter skiing and gives up the right to sue in the event of an accident.
Guides meet each morning and night to analyze snow conditions based on snow pit data and information received from remote weather stations. Guides and pilots do their best to get you out on the mountains but safety is paramount so you must respect their decision should they choose not to fly. When snow stability is good it is possible to select steeper slopes, but if the rating is poor to fair the guides will recommend more moderate slopes that are less prone to avalanche.
The only way to the top is by helicopter. Mike Wiegele’s has five Bell 212 twin engine helicopters and five of the smaller but powerful A-Stars. Each Bell 212 helicopter can accommodate three groups of 10 skiers plus leading and trailing guides, and the A-Star option carries one guide and four skiers per group and can have up to four groups.
The pilots have extensive mountain flying experience and undertake special mountain training as well as Wiegele’s own comprehensive training program. To ensure an improved and reliable service, Mike Wiegele’s Helicopter Skiing has invested in a heated hangar in which all helicopters are thoroughly and regularly serviced. The accommodations range from standard rooms and private chalets to luxury chalets, all with large stone fireplaces, and some with sundecks and Jacuzzis.
All rooms are located in individual chalets which range in size from two to six bedrooms, each with private bath and telephone. All chalets have a living room with large stone fireplace,fully equipped kitchen, satellite T.V., and dvd. Some chalets also feature sundeck, jacuzzi tub, and steam shower . The ultimate in luxury is The Bavarian House Estate. Across Lake Eleanor and ten minutes’ walk from the main lodge, this property boasts the 9,000 sq feet (836 sq m) five-bedroom Bavarian House and the 6,000 sq feet (557 sq m) three-bedroom Cabana.
After a massive day’s powder skiing you can relax in the Health Center with its stretch and fitness room (50 Nautilus machines), massage, and Jacuzzi, then take an aperitif in the Silver Buckle Lounge before enjoying a sumptuous dinner in the Powder Max Dining Room. Dinner is served at 7:00 pm each evening and the Silver Buckle Lounge is open until 11:30 pm-and if by that time you are not ready for bed, you’ve probably not been skiing hard enough!
Apart from Mike Wiegele’s chalets, there are only basic village amenities. The resort features 22 guest chalets, lodge, administration building/guest lobby, sports store, laundry, and Guides Haus. Local services include two grocery stores, two service stations, post office, Red Cross outpost, ambulance service, library, and motels. There is also an elementary school should you decide to relocate and live here permanently with your family!
Blue River is easily accessible by road from Kamloops, from where there are daily flights to Vancouver and Calgary. Blue River is three hours’ drive north of Kamloops, B.C., via Highway 5, making it easily accessible by car or bus. The nearest international airports to the resort are Vancouver and Calgary with daily flights to Kamloops. Vancouver to Kamloops is 232 miles (373 km) and Kamloops to Blue River is 160 miles (260 km). Calgary to Blue River is 394 miles (634 km). Edmonton to Blue River is 366 miles (590 km). You can even fly in with your own private aircraft on the 5,600 feet (1,706 m) long and 80 feet (24 m) wide private airstrip (weather permitting).Mike Wiegele
Mike Wiegele Helicopter Skiing
P0 Box 159
1 Harwood Drive
Email: [email protected]
Tel: +1 250-673-8381 / 800-661-9170