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CMH Kootenay, March 10-11

PostPosted: Mon Mar 11, 2002 5:05 pm
by Tony Crocker
I am at CMH Kootenay Heliskiing in Nakusp, B.C., about halfway between Revelstoke and Nelson on the west side of the Selkirks. Nearly all the skiing here is in the trees, similar to the numerous snowcat operators south of here. There are numerous changes in pitch, with some of it being pretty steep. It's definitely not the "autopilot" skiing you see on the glaciers. Therefore Kootenay is not a good place for first timers, despite being the only CMH operation where you can go for less than a full week.

At relatively low altitude, the snow could be heavy in March, but that's certainly not the case after a big storm last week and unseasonably cold temps. It warmed up to 22F on March 10, but the powder was still light and dry, even down to our lowest pickup at 4,400 feet. Highest drop was 7,300 feet, and we had 9 runs totalling 17,000 vertical. The first day gets a late start after orientation and transceiver drills.

I am, alas, sending this report March 11 because we are down for weather. It snowed 20cm last night and it's still snowing up high. Unfortunately it's wet here in Nakusp at 1,500 ft., so the chopper blades get wet and then ice over when it flies into colder air. Kootenay has had 12 no-fly days this season (about once a week, a bit more than normal), and nearby CMH operations at Galena and Bugaboos are also not flying today.

On the positive side, snow stability is excellent this season, so they are letting us ski some steep terrain when we get out there, which will hopefully be tomorrow with lots of new snow.