Let's face it, we've branded ourself with a gargantuan boast.
Mountain guides tend to be humble by nature, which makes our claim all the more surprising. But when you add it all up, it’s the logical conclusion.
Someone who didn’t know what CMH is all about might think it is nothing more than a case of advertising hyperbole. Except it’s not. While many other operators have joined the industry over the years, here are the reasons why CMH remains head-and-shoulders above them all.
Largest Trained Team
How times change. In order to get a permit to guide in Canada's national parks back in 1953, all Hans Gmoser (our founder) had to do was fill out a form and pay a $2 fee. Nowadays, a mountain guide must study for years and then complete a rigorous series of exams in order to qualify for the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides. Founded in 1963 with considerable input by Gmoser and other CMH pioneers, the 700-member ACMG is now recognized world-wide for its high level of safety and expertise.
All 100+ CMH guides have met ACMG or equivalent international standards, and they have but one focus: ensuring the safety and pleasure of their guests. They work together as a team, sharing critical snow and weather-related information gathered in all 11 areas. The safety protocols CMH has perfected over the decades are widely emulated by other operators because they're the best of their kind. Yet no other skiing company has such a large team of accredited professionals ready to confront anything at a moment's notice, with a fleet of aircraft to back them up.
11 Areas to Ski
Just as in real estate, Heli-Skiing’s three most important elements are location, location and location. CMH founder Hans Gmoser understood that better than anyone. At a time when nobody else was interested in securing recreational alpine tenure in British Columbia, Hans struck out in a helicopter and literally surveyed the entire mountainous province. He wound up selecting 11 particular areas that, to this day, contain Canada’s finest ski terrain. All are within the Columbia Mountains (in particular, its sub-ranges, Selkirk, Monashee, Purcell and Cariboo), which represent the sweet spot when it comes to Heli-Skiing. They combine huge quantities of dry powder, ideal pitches above and below treeline, the easiest access to an international airport, plus old-growth forests that nature apparently designed for perfect tree skiing. (North of the Cariboos, for example, those kind of trees are in short supply.) Bottom line: because CMH got there first, it claimed the best ski regions on the continent.
4-5 metre Snowpack
Everybody knows that Canada is a snowy country. But the snowiest place of all? That could be Mt. Copeland—right in the heart of CMH Revelstoke’s terrain—which set the Canadian record for annual snowfall in 1972 with 24.5 metres. Or Mt. Fidelity, not far away, which leads the nation in average annual snowfall at 14.7 metres. But every year is a good year for snow in these parts, where mid-winter snowpacks of four and five metres are normal and snow droughts are practically unknown.
It’s not just volume, either. The Columbias won the snow lottery by being at the optimal elevation and distance from the warm, moist Pacific Ocean. The snow falls dry and fluffy, and succeeding layers tend to bond well, a process aided by consistent winter temperatures in the range of -10 to -15 degrees C. Because of their fortuitous location, the Columbia Mountains rarely experience the two weather events that can quickly ruin skiing: winter rainfall or outbreaks of extreme cold blowing down from the Arctic.
It’s not just that we have 11 separate areas to choose from, each with its own unique combination of terrain, tree cover and snowfall. But it’s the sheer profusion of trips we offer that sets us apart from all others. You can select from regular groups, small groups or even your own private helicopter. You can stay in the deepest backcountry or a mountain village. Come for three days, four days, a week, or even longer. And with our Powder University offerings, you can choose an instructional session where you can learn anything from your first powder turn to your first cliff drop.
We invented Heli-Skiing nearly 50 years ago. What was previously unimaginable and audacious is now a fairly commonplace, if luxurious, vacation. Still, when you ski at CMH, you become part of skiing history. You get to join all those who came before—the titans of industry, members of royalty, World Cup racers, as well as all the everyday ski fanatics—in saying that you too have ridden the best of the best.
CMH honours its heritage in everything we do. After five decades hosting the most impassioned skiers on the planet, we like to think we know how to please them by now. You can be confident that every moment of your adventure has been fine-tuned over the years to provide the optimal combination of high-octane skiing, relaxation and first-class hospitality. If you’re dedicated and lucky enough, one day you’ll even earn the shining trophy in our Heli-Skiing tradition: an Arc’teryx ski suit attesting to a million vertical feet of powder and the cherished memories that go with it.
From the very beginning, CMH has fostered a spirit and architecture of casual luxury, and we’re proud to have done it in the most isolated and beautiful places to be found anywhere. Our lodges are built for nothing other than relaxing, refreshing and refuelling. There are saunas and hot tubs. gyms. climbing. massage. And, you always know that when you stomp inside from a roiling blizzard, you’ll find a warm fireplace, a perfect little bar, and plenty of fun people to hang out with. That definitely includes our staff, the enthusiastic hosts who are just as happy for the chance to be in these special places as everybody else. CMH is a company run by people who proudly consider themselves skiers, first and foremost. Every time you speak to a CMH employee, be it a reservations agent or the guy who brings you fresh towels, you know you’re dealing with a true mountain lover—just like you.
YOUR SKI BUDDIES
Friends for life say they first met at CMH
There is one thing that CMH can’t control, but doesn’t have to: the delightful variety of snow-riders who choose to make this epic voyage. Our clientele is drawn from around the world, from all professions and walks of life. They are connected by at least one thing—the love of skiing—and, as it rapidly turns out, much more. Over the decades, many friends for life can say they first met in a CMH helicopter. Chalk it up to a casual, friendly atmosphere, where you can’t tell the flannel-shirted tech billionaire from the small-town ski hill manager who’s saved up for the trip of a lifetime—and who cares anyway.
Every meal is a masterpiece
There’s a reason for the high calibre of the chefs who choose to work at CMH. Though they could have their pick of city restaurant or hotel postings, they choose the remote mountains of Western Canada because it offers them total creative freedom. They alone determine the menu, ordering the finest food ingredients from around the globe, delivered via an ingeniously managed distribution system. Over the course of their stay, skiers go on a culinary tour with a custom itinerary. It might range from a Japanese buffet to a Spanish paella to South Carolina barbecue. Dinners are served in courses, family-style, by guides and lodge employees. Paired with wines from our well-stocked cellars, each meal is a masterpiece combining delectable foods and the bubbling atmosphere you only seem to find in the great ski lodges of the world.
ALL THAT AND WE FLY
Safety record is unparalleled
At the core of our operation is a crack team of pilots and helicopter mechanics and a fleet of robust aircraft that have all proven themselves over and over in the most punishing conditions. Their record of safety is simply unparalleled. But flying in rugged mountains isn’t our only travel challenge. The other is getting to our magical lodges in the smoothest, most trouble-free way possible. And we’re good at that too. From the moment you touch down in Canada, the entire CMH family springs into action with one unified mission that hasn’t changed in nearly a half-century: delivering you as efficiently and pleasantly as possible to the world’s greatest skiing.