By Rob Stokes, Revelstoke Review
The helicopter touched down gently on a flat section of a ridgeline and we exited to the side, crouching down a few yards away to wait for the pilot to take off again. We were dropped off at 2,000 metres elevation, up in the alpine in the new summer tenure of Selkirk Tangiers Heli Skiing, which is now operating a variety of summer helicopter adventures in partnership with Revelstoke Mountain Resort.
Jeff Honig, the Operations Manager of Selkirk Tangiers Heli Skiing, and our guide for the day, explained that Selkirk Tangiers is aiming to become a four season operator and diversify it’s clientele. They are hoping to attract more summer visitors to Revelstoke by offering heli sightseeing, heli picnics, heli hiking, glacier treks and mountaineering, and heli biking. It is a stand-alone venture at the moment, but they will be packaging deals with local hotels in the coming years.
The summer tenure is not the same as their heliskiing tenure. They have a separate Commercial Adventure Tourism Tenure covering 50,000 acres, about one-tenth of the winter range. It took two years and an Environmental Assessment before approval was given to operate in the fragile alpine environment, and hiking will be guided only, to comply with the assessment and reduce visitor impact.
There will also eventually be a large network of mostly cross country mountain bike trails, although to date the only biking adventure on offer is a drop off on Mt. Cartier. When asked if he was concerned about the local biking community poaching the trails, Honig smiled and said that the trails would be extremely difficult to access from the valley.
Our hiking trip was on just the seventh day of operations of the new venture, which was given a soft launch at the start of July. After a buffet breakfast in the Revelation Lodge we were dropped off in the middle of the core operational terrain, to the east of Mt. Cartier and south of Ghost Peak. There are no specific hiking trails in place, but the terrain is such that it is easily traversed and Honing explained that he expects routes to evolve as the guides become more familiar with the area and the expectations of their clients.
Honig led our group north at an easy pace, through the spectacular landscape of the Selkirk mountains, the Albert Peaks to the east, the Battle range to the south and Mount Mackenzie and Mount Revelstoke to the north. It was extremely hot, so sunscreen and plenty of water were the order of the day. A packed lunch was provided and we ate ours on a ridge line between Cartier and Ghost, enjoying fantastic views of the azure Ghost Lakes.
After lunch we headed up and north east, to a landing zone east of Ghost Peak. The hiking was generally very easy and accessible to anyone with a moderate fitness. Amazing vistas unfolded in every direction as we gained height.
After four hours or so of spectacular walking, Honig called in the helicopter and we were picked up and returned to the base of Revelstoke Mountain Resort.
For full details of the summer activities on offer visit www.selkirk-tangiers.com.