Words: Freeskier Magazine Images: Paul Morrison, Aaron Whitfield
￼Located in Terrace, British Columbia, Northern Escape Heli-Skiing is a three-lodge operation at the foot of the Skeena Mountains. After a quick two-hour flight from Vancouver, guests are welcomed at the airport by the friendly Northern Escape staff and are only about a 20-minute drive from each of the lodges. This access allows guests to be enjoying an exquisite dinner shortly after arrival. At the end of the week, when it’s time to board the plane home, skiers can shred until 3:30 p.m., get back to the lodge to pack, eat a quick dinner and board a flight down to Vancouver by 7:00 p.m.
From Terrace, Northern Escape has access to 1.7 million acres of varying terrain, where the average snowpack ranges from 180 inches at 4,500 feet to 280 inches in the high-alpine regions. The area offers everything from high-alpine bowls and glacier skiing to steep tree chutes and chest deep powder stashes.
Of course, operating in this setting means that Northern Escape is extremely committed to guest safety. Whether a guest is an expert or novice, the staff ensures that everyone is educated about backcountry safety protocol and outfitted with a beacon, shovel, probe and avalanche airbag pack.
While many outfits can offer similar experiences, what sets Northern Escape apart is its cat skiing back-up program. Although the operation only averages one down day per week, Mother Nature will inevitably complicate your plans at some point during your stay at any heli ski operation. To offset this, Northern Escape has 7,000 acres of dedicated cat skiing terrain along with three snowcats to keep
the action going when the peaks are socked in.
If Mother Nature decides to be fickle part way through the day, pilots can simply drop guests off at the cat skiing zone for the afternoon. On the flip side, if the skies clear after a morning of cat skiing, guests will be whisked up to the peaks without wasting any time. This enables Northern Escape to offer more guaranteed vertical feet than most other operations in the industry. And in the unlikely event that the minimum isn’t met, they’ll be happy to provide credit toward future trips.
While guaranteed skiing, badass terrain and loads of deep powder are standout characteristics, perhaps the biggest draw of Northern Escape is its intimate setting. Between its three group lodges, when the operation is at full capacity, a mere 26 guests are staying at Northern Escape.
There are multiple packages available with one sure to suit your needs. The Classic package is for groups of six, with a maximum of three groups sharing a heli and staying in the Yellow Cedar Lodge. The Elite package accommodates two groups of four, sharing one heli and residing at the Pioneer Lodge just across the street. Both of these packages can be booked with a guaranteed amount of vertical or an unlimited vertical option. And those looking for a solo experience can book private packages at the Treston Lake Lodge, just 30 minutes north of Terrace. There, you’ll be treated with private heli transportation, unlimited vertical and your own private chef when it’s time to chow down.
With plenty of options, almost 2 million acres of heli terrain and a 7,000-acre cat skiing zone, there’s enough snow for everyone up there. It’s time to spoil yourself.
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