Canadian heli-skiing operator shows off adventures
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
As a Summit Daily News reader, you make our work possible.
Your donation will be used exclusively to support quality, local journalism.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User