The chopper touches down on top of a wide-open alpine bowl. We hop out, and the mechanical bird rises straight up, then drops its right side, swerving and dropping away from us. We’re left standing in the stillness of a perfect bluebird day on the mountaintop. It’s surreal. The bowl below stretches off forever, so vast and expansive the scale is unfathomable until we ski it. We drop into a massive unblemished sea of fresh powder. Though the slope is mellow, this is easily one of the best heli skiing runs of my life. Knee-deep pow explodes all around me, as I turn and glide past the surrounding peaks. Hoar frost sparkles in the sunlight like crystals. It’s a magical moment.
Tucked into the eastern slopes of the Selkirk mountain range just north of Revelstoke, CMH Adamants is known for its small-group heli-skiing. Four guests ski with one guide making for intimate and efficient days in the mountains.
While some hardcore skiers claim CMH is known for flat, lame powder and for farming turns, I’m not ashamed to admit, I can’t get enough of it. I don’t need to carve a couloir at full speed a la Mark Abma. Give me some low-stress skiing through bowls that feel safe and are well within my skill level, and I’ll savour every turn, every vista and every minute of the experience.
With 60 percent alpine and 40 percent trees, the skiing is anywhere from blue square to black diamond. There are a number of different options on what you can book at the Adamants, including a small group powder intro trip that will help first-timer heli skiers get their legs. The intro to powder features a slower skiing pace than the small group trips.
Of course, if you’ve never been on skis before, this isn’t the kind of place you should cut your teeth on. CMH claims their Intro to Powder trips are for newcomers to deep snow, but you still need to be a decent skier. They recommend you call them if you aren’t sure; their number is 1-800-661-0252, and they say they’ll find the right trip for you.
Advertised as moderate to fast-paced skiing, CMH Adamants’ Intro to Powder trips ski at a slower pace. That said, much of the terrain is blue square to black diamond, so it isn’t extreme terrain. The ideal situation is to go with a group of four, so you have a whole helicopter and one guide to yourself. If you’re with buddies or family that you ski with on the regular, you can all go at the same pace. Alternatively, CMH will pair you with similarly skilled riders, so if you end up in a heli with strangers, you should be good. Just don’t inflate your skill level on your paperwork. Be honest to get the best heli skiing experience.
Trips are about $1800 per day and are five-to-seven days long. This price includes accommodation, all meals, a guide and non-alcoholic beverages. It also features a limited amount of vertical per trip; it’s a generous number, but at some point, if you max out your vert you’ll need to pay more to ski more.
This price point attracts folks with the means and desire to ski the world’s best ski runs. If you go enough times, you’ll earn a ‘million foot suit.’ I’d never heard of one until I watched a guy named Frank get his fourth. Basically, for every million feet of vertical you ski with CMH, they give you a ski suit with their logo on it. To put a million feet in perspective, in five days of skiing we covered 71,000 feet; so to hit a million feet, you need to take 14 five-day trips with CMH. This was Frank’s fourth million-foot suit. Another guy in our group got his sixth suit by the end of the trip.
The lodge at CMH Adamants is absolutely gorgeous. It’s a fly-in only lodge, making for a true backcountry experience with no distractions from the outside world. With 31 guest rooms the experience is intimate and high-end. There’s an outdoor hot tub, a sauna, steam room, on-site massage and chef-prepared meals and snacks. If you’re into luxury this is one of the best places to go heli skiing.
It’s a four-hour shuttle drive from Kelowna to the helipad and then a thirty minute flight from the heli pad to the lodge. Alternatively, it’s about the same distance from Calgary. CMH arranges the shuttle, so it’s as easy as getting in the van at your hotel and snooze until you’re ready to get in the chopper.
When To Go
CMH trips book quickly. Trips generally run between early December and mid-May; if you can manage to book a trip, it’s a good time to go. The guides don’t mess around either; they know the terrain and they know where to find the good snow any day of the season.
Should You Go?
CMH is known for high-end experiences, and on that, they absolutely deliver. They won’t take you into the gnarliest terrain of your life, but you’ll farm some amazing turns in some incredible alpine landscapes. As far as price is concerned, CMH Adamants isn’t a cheap experience, but it may be one of the best places to go heli skiing in British Columbia. I had one of my best heli skiing runs ever there. And I bet you will too.