• Overall Rating
Northern Escape4.9 out of 5 based on 6 reviews
 
Northern Escape Heli Skiing BC Canada
Northern Escape Heli Skiing BC Canada
Northern Escape Heli Skiing scores big amounts of snow
Northern Escape Heli Skiing scores big amounts of snow
Northern Escape Heliskiing: over 5,500 square kilometers (1.4 million acres) of terrain
Northern Escape Heliskiing: over 5,500 square kilometers (1.4 million acres) of terrain
Yellow Cedar Lodge - fly-in fly-out lodging
Yellow Cedar Lodge - fly-in fly-out lodging
Northern Escape Heli Skiing - with 30 m of fresh snow each season there is plenty of fresh powder
Northern Escape Heli Skiing - with 30 m of fresh snow each season there is plenty of fresh powder
Northern Escape Heliskiing - plenty of terrain to choose from
Northern Escape Heliskiing - plenty of terrain to choose from
NEH has some fabulously steep lines when the stability is good
NEH has some fabulously steep lines when the stability is good
Northern Escape has a full snowcat operation for stormy days of deep powder riding
Northern Escape has a full snowcat operation for stormy days of deep powder riding
You can be assured of reaching your guaranteed vertical with the cat heli combo
You can be assured of reaching your guaranteed vertical with the cat heli combo
Northern Escape Heli Skiing has plenty of fantastic sub-alpine terrain
Northern Escape Heli Skiing has plenty of fantastic sub-alpine terrain
Northern Escape Heli Skiing - the powder can be super deep
Northern Escape Heli Skiing - the powder can be super deep
Northern Escape Heliskiing NW BC Canada
Northern Escape Heliskiing NW BC Canada
The snowpack is relatively stable meaning steep skiing in deep snow is possible
The snowpack is relatively stable meaning steep skiing in deep snow is possible
Northern Escape Heli Skiing
Northern Escape Heli Skiing
Northern Escape Heli Skiing - you'll come back year after year
Northern Escape Heli Skiing - you'll come back year after year
Northern Escape Heli Skiing - small groups so lots of fresh lines
Northern Escape Heli Skiing - small groups so lots of fresh lines
Northern Escape Heli Skiing - ahhh, the sweet silence of powder whooshing under your feet
Northern Escape Heli Skiing - ahhh, the sweet silence of powder whooshing under your feet
Northern Escape Heli Skiing - you'll feel like a rock star!
Northern Escape Heli Skiing - you'll feel like a rock star!
Northern Escape Heli Skiing - book 3 days, 4, 5 or 7 days for just yourself or you and your ski / boarding buddies
Northern Escape Heli Skiing - book 3 days, 4, 5 or 7 days for just yourself or you and your ski / boarding buddies
Great value heli skiing
Great value heli skiing

Northern Escape Heli Skiing BC

There’s nothing a powder hound hates more than getting to the top of a slope only to find that others have put their dirty paw marks all over their powder! At Northern Escape Heli Skiing powder hounds can be rest assured that this will never happen. With a whopping 5,500 square kilometres (about 1.4 million acres) of terrain and 20 to 30 metres of snowfall each season, there are infinite lines of virgin snow that are yours for the taking.

Be decadent and take an escape from the mundane and go heli skiing with Northern Escape. Just remember to pack a snorkel! An obvious reason to go heli skiing with Northern Escape is the snow. If you’re snow-vanistic you’ll love the volumes of powder and the reliability of the snowpack.

And with the small group format you’ll be able to make the most of the huge terrain and the big pow. Then after a big day out, you can sit around and re-live all your tales whilst enjoying a mouth watering meal of three to five courses. That’s empowderment eh?

Northern Escape Heli Skiing Packages

The Classic Package is the most popular heliski trip and can be booked individually or bring your own group.

The Elite Package is a very boutique experience staying in a smaller lodge. This can be booked individually but is ideal for a group.

The Yellow Cedar Lodge Private Package is for a private group of 4 or 5, with sole use of a helicopter and separate lodgings at Yellow Cedar, whilst sharing the amenities of the lodge with the classic package guests. 

See packages below for more information.

 Classic Package Elite Package   YCL Private
Ski Group Size   6  4 or 5  4 or 5
Groups Per Heli   3  2  1
Max No. Guests 18  8 to 10 4 to 5 
Cat Skiing Backup  yes yes private cat skiing
Unlimited Vertical  optional optional yes
Lodge Yellow Cedar Lodge Pioneer Lodge Yellow Cedar Lodge
Double Rooms yes yes  no
Single Rooms optional  optional yes
Exclusive Use of Lodge no optional no

Here is a fabulous overview video to show what you can expect with a Northern Escape Heli Skiing package.....



Northern Escape Heli Skiing Packages

Northern Escape Classic Package DETAILS
MIXED SMALL GROUP HELISKIING
North West BC | 3, 4, 5 & 7 Day Packages
From price based on 3-day package (high season Jan 12 - March 23), twin/double-share room.
Base/invoice currency is in CAD ex taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Price p/p
From price based on 3-day package (high season Jan 12 - March 23), twin/double-share room.
Base/invoice currency is in CAD ex taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 4,217
Book before April 30th 2017 to receive CAD$200 to $600 off package price. See rates for details.
Ability: Strong Intermediate to Expert
The Classic package is offered in 3, 4, 5 or 7 day increments and you can join as a solo skier/boarder or small group. Twin/double accommodation is provided at the Yellow Cedar Lodge with the option to upgrade to a single room. Option to upgrade to unlimited vertical. More
View inclusions & Add-ons
Inclusions
  • Professional guided heli skiing & cat ski backup
  • Deluxe mountain lodge accommodation with private en suites
  • All meals & non-alcoholic beverages
  • Use of avalanche safety gear inc airbag backpack
  • Transport to/from Terrace Airport
Add-ons
No optional extras to display
Location: Canada | Tour Focus: Guided | Terrain Focus: Backcountry
Click here for rates, dates & availability
Future rates & dates are currently not yet available for this operator. Click here to enquire.
You can request a custom tour for your own private group within the date period shown Custom Booking Period
The number of days for this tour can be customised however must be a minimum as shown below Min Days
Please enquire for a price for your custom tour Price
It is not possible to know the exact availability for custom tours so please enquire here and the operator will let you know of their availability. If the availability is flagged as "Filling", "Almost Full", or "Sold Out", it means that dates are filling up or are fully booked. Availability
Dec 27 - Apr 06, 2018
From 3
Enquire
Available
Northern Escape Elite Package DETAILS
SEMI-PRIVATE GROUP HELISKIING
Groups of 4-8 | 3, 4, 5 & 7 Day Packages
From price based on 3-night ELITE package (high season Jan 12 - March 23), double/single-share room with en suite (based on group of 8).
Base/invoice currency is in CAD ex taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Price p/p
From price based on 3-night ELITE package (high season Jan 12 - March 23), double/single-share room with en suite (based on group of 8).
Base/invoice currency is in CAD ex taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 4,661
Book before April 30th 2017 to receive up to CAD$400 off price.
Ability: Strong Intermediate to Expert
The ELITE package is offered in 3, 4, 5 or 7 day increments for up to of 8 skiers/boarders and the option to upgrade to unlimited vertical. Double/single room accommodation is provided in a boutique lodge. More
View inclusions & Add-ons
Inclusions
  • Boutique heli skiing & cat ski backup
  • Deluxe semi-private lodge accommodation with private en suites
  • All meals & non-alcoholic beverages
  • Use of avalanche safety gear inc airbag backpack
  • Use of powder skis / poles or snowboard.....
Add-ons
No optional extras to display
Location: Canada | Tour Focus: Guided | Terrain Focus: Backcountry
Click here for rates, dates & availability
Future rates & dates are currently not yet available for this operator. Click here to enquire.
You can request a custom tour for your own private group within the date period shown Custom Booking Period
The number of days for this tour can be customised however must be a minimum as shown below Min Days
Please enquire for a price for your custom tour Price
It is not possible to know the exact availability for custom tours so please enquire here and the operator will let you know of their availability. If the availability is flagged as "Filling", "Almost Full", or "Sold Out", it means that dates are filling up or are fully booked. Availability
Dec 27 - Mar 23, 2018
From 3
Enquire
Available
Northern Escape Private Package DETAILS
PRIVATE SMALL GROUP HELISKIING
UNLIMITED VERTICAL | 3, 4, 5 & 7 Day Packages
From price based on 3-night PRIVATE package (high season Jan 12 - March 23), double/single-share room with en suite (group of 4 or 5).
Base/invoice currency is in CAD ex taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Price p/p
From price based on 3-night PRIVATE package (high season Jan 12 - March 23), double/single-share room with en suite (group of 4 or 5).
Base/invoice currency is in CAD ex taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 6,511
Ability: Strong Intermediate to Expert
The PRIVATE package is offered in 3, 4, 5 or 7 day increments for private groups of skiers/boarders (group of 4 or 5) with UNLIMITED vertical & guaranteed flight hours. Double/single room accom is provided in a private chalet adjacent to Yellow Cedar Lodge (where you have full use of the lodge facilities). More
View inclusions & Add-ons
Inclusions
  • Private UNLIMITED VERT heliskiing & private cat ski backup
  • Deluxe private chalet accommodation with private en suites
  • All meals & non-alcoholic beverages
  • Use of avalanche safety gear inc airbag backpack
  • Use of powder skis / poles or snowboard.....
Add-ons
No optional extras to display
Location: Canada | Tour Focus: Guided | Terrain Focus: Backcountry
Click here for rates, dates & availability
Future rates & dates are currently not yet available for this operator. Click here to enquire.
You can request a custom tour for your own private group within the date period shown Custom Booking Period
The number of days for this tour can be customised however must be a minimum as shown below Min Days
Please enquire for a price for your custom tour Price
It is not possible to know the exact availability for custom tours so please enquire here and the operator will let you know of their availability. If the availability is flagged as "Filling", "Almost Full", or "Sold Out", it means that dates are filling up or are fully booked. Availability
Dec 27 - Apr 06, 2018
From 3
Enquire
Available
1Total Results: 3Total Pages: 1

Where is Northern Escape Heli Skiing Located?

Northern Escape Heli-Skiing is located in Northwestern British Columbia Canada, nestled deep in the famous Skeena Mountains of the Northern Coast Range.

Yellow Cedar Lodge (for Classic Packages and Private Packages) is located 11km southwest of the town of Terrace and 20km from the Terrace Airport, just off the Yellowhead Highway (16) on the banks of the Skeena River. Pioneer Lodge (for the Elite Packages) is about 1km from the Yellow Cedar Lodge on the opposite side of the highway.

Getting There

Terrace is approximately 1,360km northwest of Vancouver by road which equates to an easy two hour flight from Vancouver BC. This makes for reasonably quick and easy access relative to most other Canada heli ski operators.

Direct flights from Vancouver to Terrace, BC can be arranged with Air Canada or Westjet. You can look at flight options here. Please arrange to arrive on the evening of the first day of your package. Return flights to Vancouver should be arranged to depart after 18:00 hrs on the last day of your package.

Here are some options if you need to stay in a Vancouver Airport hotel or Vancouver city hotel. The Hotel Fairmont Vancouver Airport is a 5 star hotel that offers the ultimate in convenience because it’s located inside the airport.

NEH will provide transport between the airport (about 30 mins travel time) and the lodges.

Terrace Ski Area

The local ski area is Shames Mountain, which is 37km west of the town of Terrace BC. You may wish to have a couple of warm up days at Shames Mountain or use it to come down from your ectastic heli skiing experience! The ski resort is very low frills with only one chair lift and a T-bar, but the main attraction is the sidecountry and backcountry terrain that’s accessible from the ski area.

Shames Mountain is typically only open 4 days a week; Friday to Monday, although sometimes it’s also open on Thursdays or extra days during holidays.

Northern Escape Heli Skiing Terrain

The heli ski terrain is vast, although that’s a bit of an understatement considering that Northern Escape is up there as one of the biggest heli ski tenures in Canada with a playground of 5,500 square km.

The ski and snowboard terrain is between elevations of 450 and 2,350 metres, so the runs can be long and may offer a combination of alpine bowls and glaciers as well as naturally gladed trees. Or when the weather is fine, most of the skiing and snowboarding may just be up in the alpine, whilst the trees are ideal for days of lower visibility.

Snow & Weather

One of the mottos of Northern Escape Heliskiing is “it’s deeper up here” which sums up the masses of snow that are dumped on the terrain; an average of 20 to 30 metres of snow per season.

And good news for those who like it steep as well as deep, because the coastal snowpack allows reasonably steep terrain to be safely skied.
 

Guides & Safety

Qualified Guides
All NEH trained ski guides are dedicated professionals with years of British Columbia mountain guiding experience. Each is a certified member and/or recognized by:

  • ACMG – Association of Canadian Mountain Guides
  • UIAGM – International Mountain Guides Associations
  • HeliCat Canada – British Columbia Helicopter Skiing And Cat Skiing Operators Association, which sets the standard of care for heli skiing safety in our industry 

Helicopter Pilots
NEH heli skiing helicopter pilots, like its guides, possess similarly impressive qualifications. Northern Escape helicopter pilots are leaders in the industry; vastly experienced and capable mountain pilots who are chosen not only for their skills and knowledge, but also for their friendly and outgoing personalities.

Heli Skiing Safety Equipment
Northern Escape also has a comprehensive snow, weather, and avalanche safety management system. Their Heli Ski guides are continually monitoring and collecting snow and weather information in an effort to assess safety hazards and choose suitable skiing/boarding terrain for each group. Their guide team meet twice daily to evaluate this information, plan the day, and share the information obtained during skiing/boarding.

Each Northern Escape helicopter is equipped with GPS, a satellite phone, and a VHF radio to maintain contact with the ski lodge and the guides, as well as first aid, oxygen, avalanche rescue, and survival equipment.

Included in all heli skiing packages, Northern Escape is proud to provide each guest with the use of a state-of-the-art:

  • PULSE Barryvox Avalanche Transceiver
  • Snowpulse Avalanche Airbag Backpack (the latest in avalanche safety) 

The Snowpulse Airbags have proven to significantly reduce the chances of being buried if involved in an avalanche. All guests are provided instruction in the use of these ski safety devices prior to skiing/boarding. In addition to the skiing safety equipment carried in our guides’ packs, each group will carry additional avalanche rescue equipment and a VHF radio capable of communicating with the guides and pilots. In the case of a medical emergency, Terrace BC, has a fully equipped regional hospital and ambulance service located only 15 minutes by road from the heli ski lodge.

Memberships
Northern Escape Heli Skiing is an Accredited Member of the British Columbia Helicopter and Snowcat Skiing Operators Association, HeliCat Canada. This association sets strict standards for helicopter skiing safety. Only by skiing/boarding with a HeliCat Canada member are you assured of certified ski guides that follow a strict set of operating procedures. They are also a professional member of the Canadian Avalanche Association and participate in the Industry Information Exchange (InfoEx), and together with other leading helicopter skiing/boarding operators, they sponsor avalanche and heli skiing safety research projects with the University of Calgary and HeliCat Canada.

Northern Escape Heli Skiing Terms & Conditions

The Organizer
True North Heli-Skiing Ltd. (hereinafter called TNHS) is the licensed operator for all packages and activities offered by Northern Escape Heli-Skiing (NEHS), which is the organizer of all packages described in this brochure. The travel agency representing NEHS is only a mediator authorized for encashment.

Registration, Deposit and Payments
Due to the nature of this vacation, commitments must be made well in advance of your package commencement with us. Therefore, NEHS requires a deposit of $1,200 for 5 and 7-day packages, $900 for 3 and 4-day packages and $2,000 for all Private Packages which must be received by Northern Escape Heli Skiing or your Travel Agency within 10 days of confirmation of your reservation. All payments are payable to Northern Escape Heli-Skiing.

Payment of the balance of your reserved package is due 12 weeks prior to the commencement of your package. Reservations may be cancelled without notice to the guest if full payment has not been received by NEHS on the due date. For bookings made less than 12 weeks prior to the package commencement, the full package price is due at the time of booking.

Deposits may be made by Cash, Cheque, Bank Draft, Bank Wire, Visa or Master Card. Final payments may also be made by Cash, Cheque, Bank Draft or Bank Wire, however final payments made by Visa or Master Card are subject to a 3% service charge

Cancellations
If it becomes necessary for you to cancel your reservation, we require written notification by registered mail. All deposits for cancellations made more than 12 weeks prior to the package commencement date are NON-REFUNDABLE and will be retained by NEHS.

For cancellations made less than 12 weeks prior to the package commencement date, the total package price is due in full and is NON-REFUNDABLE. If the cancelled reservation can be re-sold to another guest that assumes the contractual obligations, and only if the cancelled space is still available, a change of reservation fee of $250 will apply.

Mountain Weather
The Heli-Skiing program is greatly dependent upon weather, snow and avalanche conditions, factors of which NEH have no control over and are difficult to predict. Therefore, Heli-Skiing is not always perfect and you should be prepared to ski in all conditions. In addition, the more fit you are the more you will enjoy your Heli-Skiing vacation.

Refunds
All packages are sold in units beginning and ending on a specific date. No refund is given, in whole or in part, for unused days due to late arrival or early departure. In addition, no refund is given for any unused portion of your package due to poor physical fitness, skiing/boarding ability, illness or injury. There is no refund if you choose not to participate in any activity or to return to the lodge early. Your vertical each day, whether by Heli or by Snowcat back-up, is cumulative and will be posted for you to keep track of. Northern Escape Heli Skiing reserves the right to cancel any package at any time. FULL REFUNDS will be given if this is the case.

Extra Vertical or Refund – Regular Classic Package and Elite Package
Extra vertical is available at $152.00 per 1,000 m ($46.00 per 1,000 feet). If due to poor weather or mechanical breakdown only, you are unable to ski/board the vertical guaranteed in your package (see table below), Northern Escape Heli-Skiing will refund $152.00 per 1,000 m ($46.00 per 1,000 feet) for the unskied/boarded portion of your package.

Vertical Refund – Unlimited Vertical Option

If for any reason you are unable to ski/board the guaranteed vertical in your Unlimited Vertical Option (see table below), you will be credited toward your next trip with us at $152 per 1,000m ($46 per 1,000 feet) for the unskied/boarded portion of the Unlimited Vertical Option. All credits are non-transferable and valid for a period of two years.

Flight Time Refund - Private Packages
Private Packages have a minimum guaranteed flight time of 1 hour per day averaged over the package duration. If due to poor weather or mechanical breakdown only, you are unable to fly the min guaranteed flight time included in the Private Package, Northern Escape Heli-Skiing will refund $215 per 0.1 hour for the unused portion of your package.

Exclusion of Liability and Assumption of Risks
Please read carefully. Wilderness skiing and snowboarding involve risks, dangers and hazards in addition to those normally associated with downhill skiing and snowboarding at a ski area. These risks, dangers and hazards are outlined in our Release of Liability, Waiver, of Claims, Assumption of Risk and Indemnity Agreement, a sample of which is reprinted within this booklet. All guests are requested to read and required to sign this agreement before participating in our program. This agreement will affect your legal rights should you be involved in an accident. Copies of this agreement are available on request.


Travel Insurance
Trip Cancellation Insurance
Trip cancellation insurance is highly recommended. NEH has made arrangements with Lifestyle Financial Services to offer our guests a comprehensive cancellation insurance package. Please contact them directly at (250) 542-8577 or via e-mail at info@lsfs.ca.

Interruption/Medical/Evacuation Insurance
We recommend you carry Interruption insurance as well as Medical/Evacuation insurance. Lifestyle Financial Services offers comprehensive coverage for these insurances and they may be purchased directly through Northern Escape Heli Skiing at the time of booking. Information will be provided with you confirmation package.

Evacuation Insurance

Evacuation insurance is available from Northern Escape Heli-Skiing to cover evacuation of an injured guest from the mountain to the hospital in Terrace, BC or to the nearest appropriate transfer point for the BC Ambulance Service. This is included with the Private Package.

Powderhounds Review of Northern Escape HeliSkiing

The Powderhounds were fortunate enough to head out on a 4 day Elite Package so we felt rather elite. With only 2 groups of 4 guests sharing one helicopter and only 8 of us staying at the Pioneer Lodge with our own chef and own guest services staff member, it felt delightfully intimate and rather decadent! We had an absolutely amazing time and would thoroughly recommend NEH!

Of course even though we (and many others) think that Northern Escape Heli Skiing is an extraordinary operation, no company is absolutely perfect for everyone. Our review covers different aspects of their operation so you can determine if Northern Escape is likely to align with your priorities. It’s our job to critique even the smallest potential shortcoming so even though we had an amazing time, we don’t provide full marks for everything. As a guide to the ratings below, a 5/5 equates to absolutely phenomenal, 4/5 is excellent, whilst 3/5 is still a very good score. You can check out our heli ski ratings to see how Northern Escape Heli Skiing fares against other mechanized backcountry operations.

Pros

  • Northern Escape is like a cross between an Alaskan & Canadian heli skiing outfit and with the benefits of both. NEH scores huge amounts of snow and has the snow stability advantages of a coastal snowpack (like Alaska) yet it has the pro of some treed terrain so that the weather doesn’t have to be bluebird.
  • The snowcat skiing backup is a major pro for stormy days.
  • The Elite package provides the intimacy and boutique nature of private heli skiing, without the associated price tag. And whilst you can pull your own group together, you may also be able to book this package as an individual, couple or small group (subject to availability).
  • NEH provides great value heli skiing and it’s fabulous that you have the choice of a limited or unlimited vertical package.
  • It is a very well polished operation, with timely and effective communication between the staff and guests.
  • Northern Escape Heliskiing has a high emphasis on the safety aspects of heli skiing including the provision of airbag backpacks to all guests.
  • It’s easy to access the lodge with just a 2 hour flight from Vancouver and a short 20-30 minute van trip from the Terrace Airport to the lodge. And you can ski or snowboard on your departure day.

Pro or Con Depending On Your Perspective

  • This was probably just a minor con, but due to the operational decision not to land and keep the heli under power for risk mitigation purposes, we only landed on conservative LZs that were very flat and wide. Without being able to land on narrow ridges or the like, we felt that this limited some of the terrain and entries we could have skied.
  • Safety was paramount but it felt that at times the guides would err on the side of caution with respect to terrain choice. Even though the snow stability was very good, there were times when we hoped we could have skied some slightly steeper or more technical lines.
  • The lodging was very nice (and the food exceptional!) but it was not as luxurious or remote as some other Canadian heli ski lodges. On the plus side, the price of NEH is much more reasonable than other operators.
Powder Snow
Terrace is located in a fantastic snow belt not far from the coast where a massive 20-30 metres of snow falls per season. Being so close to the ocean the powder tends to not fall as dry blower pow, but with its northerly location and cold temps, the snow tends to dry out. And of course the advantage of the coastal snowpack is that it tends to be much more stable than in Interior BC.

When we visited, the temperatures had uncharacteristically warmed up across all of BC, so the snow quality was pretty poor below the treeline. Up in the alpine we had a variety of snow conditions and thankfully due to the vast terrain, the guides had a lot of runs and aspects to choose from to find good snow.
Overall Terrain
Like most other Canadian heli skiing operators, Northern Escape has the advantage of having both alpine and treed terrain so the guides can choose to head up high on fine days, or play in the trees on low vis days or if the wind or sun has affected the alpine snow. The terrain size is large which also scores it more points.

NEH were willing to fly a long way to find good snow, but terrain diversity varied for us from day to day. A couple of days we skied different areas and each run was rather different, whilst on another day (after the guides had been directed to improve efficiency) we mostly skied in the one area. Whilst we always scored fresh tracks, we were getting a bit of déjà vu.
Alpine Terrain
NEH has masses of alpine terrain of varying pitches and with plenty of features to keep it interesting. It only loses a point because despite there being negligible wind, we tended to get dropped off at somewhat low LZs (see comment re helicopters) and felt we missed some of the best terrain.
Tree Skiing not rated
We did a little bit of skiing through small trees but didn’t go tree skiing per se because the freezing level had been too high a few days prior, so we didn’t get an extensive look at the treed terrain. A huge plus for the operation is that they have a fully staffed operation for cat skiing with some well renowned tree skiing for inclement weather days.

Strong Intermediate Terrain


Like most cat and heli operators, NEH claims it can cater to strong intermediate riders, yet in reality it’s difficult to do so. The operation tends to attract advanced and expert riders, so a solo intermediate skier/snowboarder could feel rather intimidated holding up others in the group. Of course if you organise your own group with others of a similar ability level then it could work.

Terrain-wise there’s no lack of slopes for intermediates. In the alpine there are plenty of landing zones where the abundant low angle terrain could be accessed, however some of the trees may be too challenging.
Advanced Terrain
Perfect! There are lots of wide open slopes with decent pitch, and lumps, bumps and little trees to keep it very interesting.
Expert & Extreme Terrain
As with most operators, NEH could cater much better to uber experts if you have your own like-minded private group (or 2 groups of 4 for the elite package). Of course the snowpack has to play ball too.

There was plenty of steep terrain on offer and we skied some reasonable steeps but not too many runs that were really challenging, most likely because the other group sharing the heli didn’t seem as keen. The LZs may also have factored into the inability to access some highly technical terrain.

On the mid-angle terrain there were at least plenty of features to pop off or huck off along the way.
Guiding
We had two guides during our stay who were both excellent, yet they had completely opposite demeanours. One guide was rather serious whilst the other was full of giggles (yet very responsible of course!) and had so much energy that he made the day incredibly fun. As snow stability was pretty good, the guides explained that they could guide somewhat loosely (ie follow me style) so they didn’t do a lot of hand holding and just regrouped above cliff bands. We felt incredibly confident in their knowledge and abilities and approach to safety.
Heli
Firstly it was a major pro of the Elite Package that the chopper was only shared with 2 groups. The chopper for the Elite package held 4 guests incredibly comfortably (and a small 5th person with a little squeeze). With front and rear facing seats, all 4 of us had primo views next to a window. The helicopter wasn’t as small or agile as some others used in the heli skiing industry, and they didn’t seem to want to land it on gnarly ridges. The majority of our LZs were somewhat low (even though the weather was very fine) and very wide and flat.

We also rode in the Koala (the Classic Package heli) one day as one of the skids on our heli needed maintenance. The Koala is ideal for the Classic Package because it holds 6 guests and keeps costs down. Whilst it’s much more nimble than the big Hueys, it’s still relatively large.

As with most heliski operators, they sometimes use a bus to take the 2nd group of guests to/from another staging area to minimise heli time, but they often travel to and from the lodge via the heli.

A major pro is the snowcat skiing backup with multiple snowcats and a fully staffed operation to build roads etc. Generally they fly to the snowcat staging area because it’s OK to fly low below the clouds.
Avalanche Mitigation Strategies
Like many other Canadian heli and cat outfits, NEH runs a tight ship when it comes to safety. They put a lot of work into safety and this is very evident to the guests. Firstly the guides have very strong leadership and are highly qualified and experienced. Discussions from guides meeting and stability forecasting are conveyed to guests. All guests have to wear an avalanche beacon and ABS backpack with shovel and probe, and the guest at the back of the group carries a radio. If anything, some gung-ho guests may find the guides a fraction overally cautious.
Safety Briefing
For such a safety conscious outfit, the safety briefing was surprisingly not very comprehensive for a multi-day outfit. The helicopter safety component was excellent, the beacons and ABS were explained pretty well, and we got to practise beacon searchs individually. The rest of the briefing wasn’t structured or slick and the demonstration of shovelling and probing was very elementary. Elements not discussed included what do if you witness an avalanche or are caught in one, backcountry hazards such as tree wells, and the buddy system.
Frills
Northern Escape provides all the bells and whistles you could want. Lunches were made with love (and included some lovely poetry) and included yummy soups, rolls and wraps, cookies, chocolate (including deluxe chocolate coated coffee beans!), veggies and spicy teas. An array of powder skis were on offer and all guests were provided with an airbag backpack and other safety equipment.

A high quality photography service may be on offer if there’s a spare spot in the chopper, although it can be rather pricey to buy the photos if not everyone in the group want to purchase them. Other frills include an extensive retail/souvenir shop, massage services, stretching classes, and transport to/from the airport. The overall levels of staff communication and service was very impressive.
Accommodation
We stayed at the Pioneer Lodge which was lovely with its boutique format. The highlight of the lodge was the beautiful handcrafted Canadian log building that housed the dining and lounge area with its lovely fireplace, the kitchen, and the massage/stretching room.

The food was absolutely exceptional and we could have got a serious case of heli belly if we’d stayed there any longer! For each meal, the chef explained what fare he had lovingly created which made it feel just a little bit more special. Even breakfast was sensational and incorporated an incredibly decadent hot cooked dish. During après appetizers and dinner, they sold a good range of wines by the bottle and a few wines by the glass as well as other beverages. Overall the levels of service provided were excellent and very attentive without being intrusive.

The lodgings were about 50 metres away from the main building (and just steps from the outdoor hot tub). There were two types. We stayed in one of the 3 large rooms/suites that have 2 double beds, an ensuite, a kitchen (we obviously didn’t need it), dining table and TV. The room was incredibly spacious and functional, and whilst the accommodation was deluxe it wasn’t luxurious as it lacked a little charm, the beds were rather uncomfortable (and squeaked every time one rolled over) and had cheap pillows. It definitely wasn’t a true wilderness lodge as it was located near the highway and we could hear the trucks rumbling past in the mornings. There were also a few traditional log cabins that offered small rustic rooms (no TV); ideal for those who want their own room.

The much larger Yellow Cedar Lodge looked very nice. It was further away from the highway, so would be unlikely to receive any truck noise. It obviously caters to a much larger group of people so you’d have to decide whether you wanted the intimacy and attentive service of Pioneer Lodge or the highly social atmosphere of YCL.
Value for Money
Northern Escape Heli Skiing offers amazing value for money, particularly if you don’t think you’ll aim to ski or snowboard an abundance of vertical. The Classic package with limited vertical (with the option to pay for more as you go) is one of the least expensive packages of all the Canadian heli ski operators, except for Crescent Spur that has a big chopper with 2 guides, and Selkirk Tangiers that has big choppers that carry 11 guests and only one guide. And the limited vertical offered by NEH is much higher than the guaranteed vertical that other operators with unlimited packages offer.

For the Classic with unlimited vertical package, the NEH price is a little higher than other operators with the exception of an equivalent product at CMH where they charge a small fortune! The difference with NEH is that they offer a much higher vertical guarantee than other operators. See the Canadian heli skiing statistics comparison for more information. As for the Elite Package, this offers fantastic value for a boutique heli skiing experience.

As with many Canadian operators, you can’t BYO alcohol to have with dinner or apres snacks.

Notes Regarding Review The review is largely based on our experience, but also on discussions with staff, former guests, and information available on their website. Our review has some limitations as it’s not possible to ski every run and in all possible snow and weather conditions. Every guide is somewhat different and we acknowledge that everyone’s experience will be slightly different. The ratings are from our perspective only.

Reviews

Fabulous Heli Operation

POWDERHOUNDS.COM
25/03/2017
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Age
    36-50
  • Rider Ability
    Expert
  • Country
    Canada
  • Month:
    February
Fun times! Pic by Aaron Whitfield I think we've trashed that slope! Yep trashed that slope too! Pretty nice snow considering it hadn't snowed in 2 weeks
We thoroughly enjoyed our time out with Northern Escape Heli Skiing. The elite package has only 2 small groups per heli, so it was a great opportunity to get in plenty of skiing. And with only 8 guests at the lodge, it was sociable whilst also being delightfully intimate.

It hadn’t snowed for a couple of weeks and the temps across all of British Columbia had risen a few days prior to our trip, yet considering the vast terrain, the guides were able to find some very good snow up in the alpine and provide plenty of run variation.

Some others pros:
- Mother Nature usually drops the snow bomb big time on NEH (unfortunately not for us).
- The food at the lodge and out in the field was exceptional.
- The levels of service provided by the lodge staff were incredibly high and the communication between the staff and to the guests was excellent. It was a well polished operation.
- Excellent value for money with either a limited or unlimited package.
- High emphasis on safety.
- The snowpack was very stable.

Potential con:
- Whilst the communal log building at Pioneer Lodge was absolutely delightful, the accommodations were very nice without being luxurious, which is to be expected considering the low price point relative to other Canadian heli ski outfits. We stayed in a very large room with 2 double beds that were uncomfortable & squeaky; not that it mattered too much thanks to a heli belly coma! The occasional rumble of the trucks on the highway reminded us that whilst were in a reasonably remote location, that we weren’t out in the wilderness.

For a more in-depth critique of NEH you can also look at our review tab on the Northern Escape Heli Skiing overview.

Trip of a lifetime!

Tom Flynn
06/03/2017
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Age
    36-50
  • Rider Ability
    Advanced
  • Country
    USA
  • Month:
    February
I may be biased, as this was my first heli-skiing experience, but this was an amazing trip. The skiing was great, the food and service were amazing, and the location was stunning. If I had to find a criticism, while the Pioneer Lodge itself was beautiful, the cabins were a bit rustic, lacking a tv, and having squeaky, lumpen beds. Not that I was complaining much, as I was so tired out most nights I fell asleep quickly.
The food was top notch; they fed us four excellent meals a day, and the chefs and lodge staff were attentive and willing to cater to our whims.
As for the skiing, it was great terrain- even though there was no fresh snow for the last week, the guides worked to find pockets of fresh powder for every run. The guides were always fun, safe, and knowledgeable.
Overall, I couldn't recommend the experience more. If you can do it, it is well worth it. Your soul will thank you.

Great Experience!

Miguel
31/01/2017
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Mixed Group
  • Rider Age
    18-35
  • Rider Ability
    Advanced
  • Country
    Switzerland
  • Month:
    January
We came end of Jan / beginning of Feb right at the end of a storm. Thanks to NE offering cat skiing backup we only had one day of no skiing at all due to heavy fog. the guides made a great effort to always entertain us and explain all security procedures. We also enjoyed the smaller groups of max 6 allowing us to move efficient. The skiing and snowboarding here was just amazing with a good mix of trees and alpine. Would certainly want to come again.

Mind Blowing Terrain

Bob Legasa
21/12/2015
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Age
    51-65
  • Rider Ability
    Expert
  • Country
    USA
  • Month:
    January
Sunrise from Machu Pichu Wide open spaces John skiing in Catland's Old growth timber Lot's of good steeps to be had Spectacular scenery
What an operation. From high alpine skiing to some of the best tree skiing anywhere. We were fortunate to hit NEH on a variety of different weather days. Our first day we were in the trees experiencing their new cat skiing Catland addition. Catskiing in old growth forest timber was quite the experience, big timber means nice openings between the trees, natural gliding if you will. What a fun time. Our guide Yvan knew this area like the back of his hand and took us to some of his little Honey Holes where we were able to play in the steeps and on some of the natural features.
Day 2-Bluebird in the Alpine, WOW!!! Over the Top Spectacular is an understatement! If the heli ride in to these magnificent peaks isn't enough the skiing will seal the deal. We landed on top of what they call Machu Picho where we were able to witness the sun rise over their zone. That scene will be etched in my mind forever. Throughout the day we lapped big vertical in wide open spaces. Talk about leg crushing fun!
Can't wait to get back!

The best of the best

Remo
04/04/2012
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Snowboarder
  • Rider Age
    36-50
  • Rider Ability
    Expert
  • Month:
    January
I was there a few times already, but was also in other places and if you like to heli ski deep powder, Northern Escape is the place to go.

We did over 200'000 vertical feet in our last week. 6.5 days in the heli, 0.5 days in the cat.

Now That Was DEEP

Powder Lover
02/11/2010
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Age
    36-50
  • Rider Ability
    Expert
  • Month:
    February
We skied Northern Escape twice last season. The first time it was spectacular. The snow was incredibly deep and we spent most of the time in the trees. What an amazing week.

We had 1 day that the heli couldn't fly as it was snowing so hard and the flakes were so big you could hear them hit the ground. That didn't deter them as we jumped in the snowcats and skied all day in the best snow I have ever experienced.

I couldn't believe it could ever be better till we came back for the second week at the end of their season. Wonderful blue skies all week and deep powder in the alpine this time. We'll be back for sure!