Bugaboos, The Birthplace of Heli-Skiing

Posted By: The Ski Channel on November 19, 2013 3:09 pm

CMH Bugaboos, the first heli-skiing lodge/area started by Canadian Mountain Holidays in 1965.  It’s next in our series of heli-skiing operator interviews with HELISKI.com and HeliskiingReview.com.

1.  CMH Bugaboos Lodge is “The Birthplace of Heli-Skiing” Tell us about that.

2015 represents the 50th birthday of the heli-ski industry, a pretty significant milestone indeed.  Even though the industry has changed significantly since those early days, one thing that never gets old is standing on top of those magnificent mountains, pointing your skis (or board) down the fall line, and dipping into some perfect powder turns.  Technology, skis, helicopters and accommodations may have changed, but the experience of deep powder snow in untouched mountains remains the same.  It is a gift from nature.

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Photo courtesy of HELISKI.com

2.  Heli-Skiing these mountains since 1965, you must be getting to know the best runs, eh?

These mountains are big and the landscape is constantly changing.  It is amazing how we are still exploring the nooks and crannies of our terrain even after all this time.  We definitely know where to look for great runs, but each season our guides are still able to root out new, exciting lines to test out.

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Photo courtesy of HELISKI.com

3.  What level of ability and heli-skiing pace is best suited for CMH Bugaboos? 

The Bugaboos is a fantastic place to come if you are looking for a wide mix of terrain including tree runs combined with high alpine glaciers, stunning scenery, and the experience of a comfortable, cozy and luxurious remote lodge. The Bugaboos has it all – great skiing by day followed by all the bells and whistles for the perfect après ski experience. You can relax after a full day in the mountains by cozying up by the fire, a soak in the roof-top hot tub, testing your skills on the 4-story climbing wall, treating yourself to our massage services, or enjoying a few extra cocktails from our fully stocked bar.

heliskiing, bugaboos

 Photo courtesy of HELISKI.com

4.  Bugaboos is roughly half way between Banff and Revelstoke.  Tell us about getting there.

Guests typically fly into Calgary where we’ll transport them by motorcoach to the Bugaboo Lodge heli-pad (2 hours west of Banff).   The bus leaves early in the morning from Calgary so we can have you out heli-skiing by the afternoon!  Return ground transfers from Calgary are included in our CMH Bugaboo packages.

heliskiing, bugaboos

Photo courtesy of HELISKI.com

5.  Easier access is why Bugaboos offers a variety of trips (Family, Masters, Intro, Fusion), including 4, 5 and 7-day trips?

Access is one of the reasons, but also because the Bugaboos are so iconic.  People travel from all around the globe just to witness the grandeur of these mountains. Skiing amongst the peaks of the Bugaboo Spires is truly magnificent and makes this location so coveted.  It is one of our most popular locations because of the mix of terrain and the extreme beauty of the area.  As a result, we like to offer as many trip options as possible to keep our guests happy.

6.  Bugaboos are in the Purcell Mountains.  Tell us about the heli-ski terrain.

The Purcell Range includes a wonderful mix of alpine glaciers together with excellent tree skiing. The Bugaboos represent a sub-range within this larger area, a sub-range that is visually spectacular.  The Bugaboo Spires are an anomaly of alpine beauty. They are made of granite, the stone that comprises most of the famous rock spires of the world, from the Himalaya to Patagonia, Yosemite to the Alps. It resists the carving power of glaciers better than most rock, so it tends to form smoother faces, as if the ice were a giant knife in the hand of a master sculptor cleaving great slices from the mountains to leave great cathedrals of stone. In the surrounding mountains, the glaciers shaped the softer sedimentary rocks as well, but left more rugged faces as if the carving force of the glacier were in the hands of a drunk with a bulldozer.

Places like the legendary Mont Blanc massif in the Alps have similar climbing opportunities, but as a ski destination the Bugaboos have become known worldwide as a place to have an experience unlike anything else on earth. The tectonic intrusion that pushed the granite into the sky also lifted the surrounding area into a high plateau, creating deep valleys on all sides and ski runs that begin within snowball-throwing distance of the surreal rock walls and go for miles down rolling steep glaciers into uninhabited valleys.

heliskiing, bugaboos

 Photo courtesy of HELISKI.com

7.  And the lodge has been remodeled four times?

The lodge has changed and grown since 1965.  It is a lodge that has embraced its history while keeping up with the needs of our modern guests.  The lodge is a living museum where the mountain stories continue to be layered on.  Our guests can see how the building has grown and expanded over the years – with renovations in keeping with the natural surroundings.  Today the lodge boasts a 4-story climbing wall, roof-top hot tub, steam room, dry sauna, private guest rooms with heated bathroom floors, and wifi to keep everyone connected.  Guests can relax in our library or check out the many mountaineering artifacts in museum cases.  The lodge is rich in history and a modern tribute to the sport of mountaineering.

heliskiing, bugaboos

Photo courtesy of HELISKI.com

8.  CMH Bugaboos opens early and stays open later than most, eh?

The Bugaboos is a very popular heli-ski location that gets great annual snowfall. As a result, we are able to open early and heli-ski well into late April/early May.  From a snow perspective we could keep going, but by that time of year our guests have turned their interests towards summer oriented sports.

9.  Which of the other ten areas is most similar to Bugaboos?

From a historical and terrain type experience, our CMH Cariboo Lodge is relatively similar: excellent mix of terrain, beautiful historical location, fantastically BIG mountains,  and a remote, but full service backcountry lodge.

10.  What else would you like to share about the CMH Bugaboo Location?

Go – it should be on your bucket list!

heliskiing, bugaboos

Photo courtesy of HELISKI.com

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