Canadian heli-skiing operator shows off adventures | SummitDaily.com
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Canadian heli-skiing operator shows off adventures

Richard Chittick
Summit Daily/Kara K. PearsonReid Christopher, left, gives a presentation to a group of people about Selkirk Tangiers Helicopter Skiing in Revelstoke, British Columbia at the Lord of the Mountains Church in Dillon Tuesday night. Christopher has been a guide with Selkirk Tangiers for 13 years.
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DILLON – Several hundred miles north of Spokane, Wash., is a small mountain town known as Revelstoke.

Reid Christopher, who lives there, describes it as “a sleepy little redneck logging town that’s really reinventing itself as a skiing and climbing town.”

It’s no joke, either, as Christopher stopped by the Lord of the Mountains Lutheran Church in Dillon on Tuesday night to show off a slide presentation of the company where he works, Selkirk Tangiers Helicopter Skiing.

“This is so fitting being in a church,” Christopher said about halfway through his presentation. “The skiing is so good that people do sometimes have a religious experience.”

For an hour and a half, a small group of people sat in the meeting room in the basement of the church and watched image after image of big mountain skiing.

At one point, Christopher points out a run known as “Ball Room.” As he outlines the area he’s talking about with a laser pointer, he casually said: “What we consider one run would make for a pretty smoking ski hill; it would rival most resorts in America.”

Again, it was no joke. The area he outlined was easily the size of Arapahoe Basin, the 500-acre ski resort located on Summit County’s eastern side.

In the huge expanse he outlined, there wasn’t a single skier, as the “Ball Room” hid behind a different run featuring four or five skiers plowing through waist-deep snow.

Annie Black, a local ski and mountain bike instructor, has been a client of Selkirk Tangiers for 13 years and helped organize Christopher’s appearance in Dillon.

“Skiing is a different sport up there,” Black said.

Mac Maclay has also been on several trips with Selkirk Tangiers.

“It’s a completely different type of skiing. The powder is completely different,” he said.

But Christopher is quick to point out that heli-skiing is not the same as extreme skiing.

While steep pitches and tight chutes are common in the Selkirks, so are wide-open, perfectly skiable 35-degree slopes.

While decent parallel technique is a recommended skill, anybody who is confident on a groomed black diamond run should have no problems at all, Christopher said.

The safety of his customers is paramount, Christopher said. Every client must take part in a 90-minute presentation on avalanche and helicopter awareness.

Selkirk Tangiers is one of a handful of heli-skiing operations based out of Revelstoke. Right across the valley from the Tangier Selkirk operation is Canadian Mountain Holidays Heli-Skiing, one of the largest heli-skiing outfits in the world.

According to Christopher, however, the other nearby operations don’t necessarily qualify as competition.

“There’s a friendly rivalry, but we get along really well,” he said.

But he provides a convincing argument that it is the best skiing experience there is.

“Our lifts are considerably faster than any detachable quad on the planet,” he said with a wry smile. “It’s just phenomenal skiing.”

Richard Chittick can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 236, or at rchittick@summitdaily.com.


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