CRANBROOK, B.C. – Feb. 16, 2009 – Ski season is underway and the powder is flying in Canada. Known as the birthplace of heli-skiing, the Kootenay Rockies Region is home to a plethora of heli-skiing operations and with new US air service from Delta, the time to take the plunge is now.
Delta's nonstop flights from SLC to the Canadian Rockies International Airport (YXC, Cranbrook) take just under two hours with almost 100 connecting flights from major U.S. markets. Round trip flights occur Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays until March 29, 2009.
“The Kootenay Region has more heli-skiing and cat-skiing operations than anywhere else in Canada. The mountains here are known for their reliable amounts of dry, light powder snow, which makes for excellent skiing,” explains Rudi Gertsch, owner of Purcell Helicopter Skiing Ltd in Golden, British Columbia. Purcell Helicopter Skiing Ltd has been offering snow enthusiasts the ultimate powder skiing adventure since 1973. “Flying into Cranbrook puts you within easy reach of not only great heli-skiing, but numerous ski resorts, cat-skiing operations and national parks.”
Born in the Kootenay Rockies, helicopter skiing was first introduced to the world 40 years ago by Austrian-born Hans Gmoser. Gmoser founded Canadian Mountain Holidays (CMH), which is still one of the most widely recognized helicopter skiing companies in the world and boasts eight lodge locations in the Kootenay Rockies.
Heli-skiing offers the ultimate opportunity in big mountain powder for both skiers and snowboarders. The Kootenay Rockies region has stellar heli-skiing conditions due to huge snowfall (the heli-ski areas typically receive 30–60 ft. of snow annually), cool, dry weather, and a diverse landscape with a number of mountain ranges: the Monashees, Rockies, Selkirks, Purcells and Valhallas.
A heli-ski vacation offers winter snow enthusiasts access to vast expanses of untracked terrain via helicopter. This terrain can include naturally gladed tree runs, alpine glaciers, steep couloirs and, of course, open slopes covered in light, deep powder. Contrary to popular belief, skiers and riders of all abilities can try heli-skiing—some operators offer runs for beginners as well as expert skiers.
“For Americans, now is a great time to book their heli-ski vacation. The current exchange rate makes heli-skiing in Canada more affordable than staying at home,” continues Gertsch. “We’re only three hours from YXC and have over a half a million acres of untracked powder to enjoy.”
The Kootenay Rockies Region of British Columbia is home to one of the highest concentration of ski resorts, touring, back country, helicopter and cat-skiing operations in the world. For more information on the Kootenay Rockies and travel planning assistance, visit www.kootenayrockies.com/powderhighwayinfo.