Heli-skiing in December: Fresh tracks

In Heli-Ski, Lodge Life, Lodges

CMH Cariboos | Danny Stoffel

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WORDS BY KELSEY VERBOOM | JANUARY 6, 2021

First tracks on a powder day are always coveted. What’s an even more brag-worthy pursuit? The very first heli-ski tracks of the season. 

December is the final month of the year but the kick-off to the ski season, when CMH lodges swing open their doors and welcome back helicopters full of excited guests. 

There’s magic in those mountains

Those who visit CMH in December know the magic this month holds and understand the appeal of slicing the very first guest tracks of the season into totally untouched snow. There’s something to be said about being the first. If you know, you know (and if you know, you go). 

The season’s initial weeks have their own special energy; guests are buzzing with anticipation, guides are stoked to ski again, chefs and bartenders can’t wait to share their newest creations – the atmosphere vibrates in a way that’s unique to that time of the year. 

All that anticipation is for a good reason, after all. While no one can predict exactly how each year will unfold, December is a month that’s known for delivering big wins in the snow department. 

First tracks at CMH Bugaboos | Craig McGee

CMH lodges receive an overall average of 280 cm (110 inches) of snowfall in December, with a base of around 200 cm (78 inches) and average daily temperatures between -5 and -10 degrees Celsius (23-14 degrees Fahrenheit). It’s not uncommon to hit a lucky heavy-hitter snowstorm in December, which, combined with the month’s typically cold temperatures, can result in impressive dumps of the blower, cold-smoke snow that makes Canada the best heli-ski destination on the planet. Plus, complex snow layers haven’t yet had time to accumulate at that time of year, which can translate into bottomless, light powder. Ummm, yes, please! 

What else to expect in December

December is a tree lover’s dream month. Depending on the year’s conditions, regular storm cycles mean you’ll likely spend at least some time skiing/riding in the trees where the snowpack is favored. More and more terrain becomes available throughout the month as the snowpack builds. If you’re unsure about heli-skiing in the trees, don’t fret. CMH works regularly with forest management crews during the summer months to ensure our winter tree runs stay well-spaced and conducive to smooth, sexy S-turns. Be sure to ask our booking team about the trees and terrain at different areas, as it will differ slightly from lodge to lodge. 

The month of December experiences some of the shortest days of the year, so you’ll likely ski slightly shorter days than trips later in the season (not a bad thing for early-season glute muscles, in our opinion!). Not to worry, though, there are still many hours of drool-worthy runs to be had. The slightly lower price point of December trips reflects that your heli-skiday will most likely wrap around 3:30-4 pm before daylight dwindles. The perfect hour for après, we say! 

Be the first

Overall, December offers up elements of heli-skiing that no other month holds. Most notably, the opportunity to ski/ride the first turns of the season and the prospect of winning big with a few of those legendary December snowstorms. 

It’s worth mentioning that if you’re booking with us for the first time, you’ll likely find more availability in December versus the peak of the season (February to mid-March). 

See you in December! 


>> Explore December Trips

>> When is the best time to go heli-skiing?