Freeride Chronicles Crew Hits Northern Escape Heli Skiing

Posted By: Freeride Chronicles on January 23, 2015 10:00 am

All of our ski gear has been checked in at the Kelowna International Airport, destination Terrace, British Columbia home of Northern Escape heli skiing, which is the next filming location for an episode of The Freeride Chronicles.  The Freeride crew was greeted at the Terrace airport by a few members of the NE Heli staff and we were whisked away to the NE Heli lodge which was a 15 minute drive from the airport. The gorgeous log structure is called the Yellow Cedar Lodge and it was constructed from the native Big Yellow cedars which surround this zone.

NE Heli lodging accommodations, the Yellow Cedar Lodge sits on the banks of the Skeena River

NE Heli lodging accommodations, the Yellow Cedar Lodge sits on the banks of the Skeena River.

After getting settled in we were greeted by NE Heli owner John Forrest who escorted us down to the dining room where dinner was waiting, Duck Confeit cooked to perfection. At this point, we knew things were off to a great start.

The next morning we met our Guide Yvan Gaston Sabourin who then ran us through the standard transceiver and heli safety talk. After that we loaded up the Bird and made our way north along the Skeena River to a portion of NE Heli’s tenure which they call Catland. We were going to be spending the day cat skiing in a old growth forest which is know for it’s incredible glade skiing. Catland has been used by NE Heli as a backup plan to their Heli ski program when there was the periodical No-Fly day due to weather.

Johnny Witt blasting through the old Growth in Catland

Johnny Witt blasting through the old growth in Catland.

Desiree' loving the natural gladed terrain at NE Heli

Desiree’ loving the natural gladed terrain at NE Heli.

Starting next season NE Heli will offer cat skiing as an option for a person who wants to book an experience at NE Heli. They can cat ski for 2-3 days and if turns Bluebird they can upgrade for a day and board the heli to slay the higher peaks and bowls.

Our second day we were treated to Bluebird skies and and some heli time. We explored the upper portion of their cat skiing tenure called Pacha Mama. The scenery was incredible and lifted the spirt.

Who wouldn't have a grin from ear to ear!  Skier: Desiree' Leipham

Who wouldn’t have a grin from ear to ear!
Skier: Desiree’ Leipham

Just a taste of some of the NE Heli playground

Just a taste of some of the NE Heli playground.

The cloud layer was staying pretty high so we only had a 1000 meters of sun before we disappeared back into the old growth forest. Skiing conditions were good but they changed with the cloud cover and then they stayed consistent in the forest.

Steeps and Bluebird, What a combination

Steeps and Bluebird, what a combination.

Day 3 was more of the same as we took heli drops to varying aspects in the tenure.

Not a bad way for the free ride Chronicles crew to commute to work

Not a bad way for the Freeride Chronicles crew to commute to work.

Being that I had never been to Northern Escape I wasn’t sure what I was going to find. As most of us know, brochures and marketing people always tell you how good something is and once you get there sometimes your disappointed. We’ll I can tell you this, our trip to Northern Escape beat my expectations. It is one of the finer run operations, with incredible terrain, top notch lodging and staff, and damn fun skiing. I can’t wait until the next time especially if we hit it NE Heli during one of their iconic storm cycles.

Here’s the video from our experience. Enjoy

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A former member of the United States Freestyle ski team, Bob Legasa combined his passion for skiing, outdoors and storytelling and created Freeride Media. Bob has won numerous Society of Photo Journalism Awards and a highly coveted Emmy Award. With over 25 years as a professional Freestyle skier Bob has taken his knowledge of the sport into a variety of different fields including, Television, journalism, coaching, and event management. Bob's passion for skiing can be seen on The Freeride Chronicles Together with his wife Jane of 21 years Bob has two beautiful girls Alli and Hannah. The entire family loves to ski and they can be found most every winter weekend skiing at Schweitzer Mountain.