Mountain Life – Coast Mountains - Fall-Winter 2021-22

Page 76

Deepest Day of My Life

TOP LEFT The Leonardo is considered Lamborghini of helicopters. GUILLAUME TESSIER/MSP. TOP RIGHT Feet Banks gets buried. ABOVE Chad Sayers making the kind of turn we all dream of. PAUL MORRISON.

Pow-gasms in Northern BC

words :: Feet Banks As a skier, I’ve had it pretty good. More than 40 years on the boards, three decades of that on the big, varied terrain of what is generally accepted as the best ski resort in North America. I’ve road tripped the Powder Highway, gotten lost at Powder King, British Columbia and sunk turns in clear view of both the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Also, I’ve never been to Ontario. And while there is still a whole world out there waiting for my skis to explore, I can’t deny that my skier’s journey so far has been what the kids these days call #blessed. So, it is entirely without exaggeration or hyperbole that I say Northern Escape Heli Skiing gave me the deepest snow of my life. Turn after turn, run after run of absolutely bonkers deep, dry, 1,000 per cent shred-able north coast BC powder. “It’s deeper up here,” says John Forrest with a sly grin. “Our last day like this was just over a week ago. We get 20 days like this a year.” The day in question was smack in the middle of a more than 150 centimetre storm, and calling it "balls deep" is a disservice—it was deeper than that. On a fast turn through steep glades, the powder needed surfing terms 76

to describe it: overhead. The pow was literally bottomless—I know because I blew a ski and had to dig for it—there was no bottom. Starting in the mid-80s as one of the youngest ACMG guides in Canada, Forrest is a BC heli skiing legend who started, or helped start, one catskiing and five heli skiing companies in his 35-year career. He first put roots down in the Terrace area in 2004 to open Northern Escape in the Skeena Range and share the deepest pow in BC. With a new off-grid lodge in the mountains, a Leonardo Koala six-guest helicopter (“the best, most powerful, safest machine for heli skiing”), and a snowcat primed in case the weather won’t allow him to fly, it’s safe to say Forrest gets as many huge pow days each winter as anyone on the planet. “Meeting great people, seeing their joy—that’s why I keep doing it, “he explains. “Some of my best friends are up here right now, and I have a group coming next week that I’ve been skiing with for 30 years.” Lodge life is the best life, and the friends you make in a heli skiing lodge will always share that bond created by pure joy and stoke, but best thing about skiing a big storm at Northern Escape is that those big fat north coast pow flakes just keep piling up. So, if you take accumulation into account, each successive run is the deepest of your life. My balls are tingling just thinking of it.

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