This winter marks North America’s first full cold season in the midst of COVID-19. Where the onset of the pandemic abruptly closed many heliski lodges last March, those same lodges have been working for months to put new health and safety protocols, according to the most updated requirements from medical experts, in place to welcome guests back this winter.
One of the emerging trends in the industry is an option to buy out the entire heliski experience for you and your chosen bubble of people. Where you would normally be sharing a helicopter and the lodge with other groups, and might even be skiing with people outside your party, some operations are now emphasizing full lodge buyouts to give their guests the most comfort and assurance possible. These are some of the once-in-a-lifetime opportunities for the most luxurious ski vacations on offer.
Mica Heli-Skiing is widely known as the most luxe heliski operation in the industry, offering small-group skiing in a spectacular alpine environment that spans over 500 square miles of mountains. The modern-crafted lodge, perched above Kinbasket Lake, hosts only 20 guests max, boasts two rooftop hot tubs looking out over the lake and its surrounding peaks, a ritzy bar, fireplace lounge, and rotating art on the walls from its artist-in-residence program. The dining room’s row of floor-to-ceiling windows showcases alpine sunsets best enjoyed over Mica’s signature innovative gourmet meals made with seasonal and locally-sourced ingredients.
Custom lodge experiences are nothing new for the seasoned guides and savvy staff at Mica, who’ve already created such experiences as bringing in a five-piece orchestra that composed and performed a piece for a guest during their stay, building backflips from snow outside the lodge for one keen group to hit after après, and flying a grand piano onto a glacier. Mica has also been offering full lodge buyouts for guests since its inception, making it practiced in the industry.
“We have several guests that book out our lodge exclusively and we work closely with them to create customized experiences that are all about them,” said Nicole Frico, CEO of Mica Heliskiing. “If they want to ski hard and fast then that’s what we do, if they want to have lunch on a glacier we work with them to make it happen. For us it is all about making sure they have the time of their lives with the people they care about most.”
Great Canadian Heli-Skiing
As a family-owned and -operated lodge since 1988, Great Canadian Heli-Skiing prides itself on being the innovator of small-group heliskiing. All of its packages in any given winter are skied in small groups of four guests or less and include unlimited vertical (no extra vertical charges). Its timber-frame lodge offers rare drive-in access, situated as it is on Rogers Pass on the doorstep of Glacier National Park (which frequently sets records for the snowiest place in the country), and also