TLH Heli Skiing with Epic Planks – VideoAthan Merrick
Nic and I were skiers before we were film makers. We have since merged our passion for art and the mountains into one, but before that happened we dreamed as kids that one day heliskiing would be in our future. As I grew older heliskiing seemed so far off and so close at the same time. The dreams didn’t stop, and they never should for a skier. Heliskiing is the pinnacle of our sport whether you are a recreational skier, a racer, a jibber, or a full fledged pro. It is a bucket list item for everyone who has ever strapped two sticks to their feet.
The Bird of Dreams.
Here’s the video
When we first received a call from Epic Planks it was asking if any of the athletes in our film “Out of the Shadows” were without ski sponsors. While most already had them, a few did not. I put forth their names and contacts. Epic Planks chose Alex Blais, a long time Blackcomb local who can be seen at the lunch tables beneath Glacier lodge nearly every day. He shreds, is super stoked, and a ridiculously funny guy with some of the most absurd one liners you’ve ever heard. Besides for the communication with Alex I expected that to be the last of hearing from Epic Planks for a while. They were a small start up company. The skis shipped to Alex looked great and he raved about them. I was ecstatically surprised when Epic Planks called to offer Dendrite Studios the opportunity to film a week long heli trip just north and east of our backyard at TLH Heliskiing.
Alex Blais sending it at TLH on the Epic Planks Crop Duster.
Alex Blais of course came along with Epic Planks athletes Danny Arnold, a young up and coming jibber from Michigan, and Jon Whelan, a young shred head from Nelson, BC. Epic Planks owners Bill Wanrooy and Brian VanDenBrand graced us with their awesome presence. Nic and I were pretty stoked to meet those two guys and are happy to report that both of them were like little groms in expectations of the trip. When the owners of a ski company are that stoked you know the skis are built with passion and determination. We rounded out the trip with two of our favourite skiers from the Dendrite stable, Maxim Arsenault and Matt Elliott. Both of whom are incredibly strong skiers, love the sport as pure as one can, filled with stoke, and are simply rad human beings. For all these great people to come together on, for many, their first heli trip, was exceptional. We tip our hats to Bill and Brian for putting this trip together, childhood dreams were about to be fulfilled.
The Crew below one of countless beauties.
TLH heliskiing is in Gold Bridge, BC. We rolled up to the lodge, luxury living at its finest, everyone exchanged smirks of, “Can you believe we are here right now?” We gorged ourselves on fine dining for breakfast and dinner. Lunches were packed with nutrients to eat in the field. Hot snacks were ready when we got back and the end of each day.
First course of many at dinner.
The bartenders kept the spirits flowing and foosball, pool table, ping pong, and the hot tub were all frequented. Simply put the time before and after skiing was as good as it gets, but really that isn’t what matters. What matters is what those childhood dreams visualized. The heli approaching, staring out the window as you fly by so many of the most beautiful peaks you can imagine, the nervous anticipation of landing, jumping out into the snow with the whir of the blades overhead, the heli taking off right over your head, exchanging shakas, fist bumps, and yells and laughter as the heli pulls away, and finally skiing the most incredible runs of your life. Those were my dreams from the age of 12 on onward, and TLH manifested them into real life.
Jon Whelan was not dreaming.
One of the dreaded fears of heliskiing is the down day. Up in AK you hear stories of the slow roast. Two weeks of amusing yourself as the storm rages and the bird won’t fly. I was pleasantly suprised that at TLH because of there alpine and treed terrain down days are very rare. There needs to be extremely high winds for the heli to not fly. It was dumping our first day and we flew through the storm to ski deep tree runs. When the skies cleared later in the trip we ventured into the alpine where big AK style spine lines roll onto glaciers as far as the eye can see. Every type of skiing that exists in the mind’s eye is here at TLH with the massive terrain they have available. Ten lifetimes worth of lines, many of which are on the official Dendrite hit-list if we ever get the chance to go back to TLH. I’ll let the video do the rest of the talking, but if you haven’t been heliskiing drop everything and make it happen, and consider TLH as the spot to go. Our minds were blown and I am desperately trying to figure out how to make it happen again! Bucket list item checked.
Danny Arnold far, far away from Michigan.
Thanks to everyone at TLH! Our lead guide Greg Johnson and the rest of the guides for opening the goods and keeping it safe, the chef, the staff, pilot Steve, and the rest of the pilots. Everyone and everything was incredible!
Pilot Steve would do a little hike for some turns while we did a lap. Our kind of heli pilot.
Enjoy the edit…winter is coming sooner then you think and dreams never die!