That should be a simple question to answer, right? At 2057 meters, with helicopter access, Jeff and Paula Pensiero have created what sounds a little like what I imagine Heaven to be. And, like my version of Heaven, it’s got 32,000 acres of fresh powder, days where 3,000 vertical feet is no big deal, and rock stars, moguls and heroes of the snowboarding, ski world congregate to chill out and enjoy themselves.
A little different from Heaven, as I understand it, is that it’s entirely possible for anyone to helicopter up there and enjoy a 3 or 4 day snow-filled experience as long as you plan well-enough ahead, or, conversely, as long as you’re flexible in the early and late season.
Sounds like heaven to me.
Heaven, Shangri-la, Nirvana, El Dorado…Whatever — It’s a Magical Place
Once you’ve booked, you meet at Nelson airport at 2:00 and, of course, notice the cool little town you are surrounded by, Nelson. Just a small taste for the incredible dose of cool to follow once the helicopter lands. As noted, you land in a place that touches on magical. The only access is by this helicopter, which has transported you to a space with everything you will need for the 3 or 4 days you are up there. Food and comfy lodging (both understatements), massage on request, fun staff, friendly bar, and, of course, the terrain.
Daily, you head out in the CAT, eating your snacks and sandwiches while your guides attempt to prepare you for what’s next. You might be a bit smug if you’ve skied in the Kootenays before. You might think you know powder. You might think you understand vertical feet and lots of fresh, unskied terrain. You might, at the end of your first day, be begging for the sauna and a nice massage. Just, you know, I warned you.
Revelstoke, a ski resort here in the Kootenays famous for its vertical feet, boasts something like 1500. A review of Baldface talks about 3,000 vertical feet in one run. This place is 8 times bigger than Whistler Blackcomb. The snow CATs travel 150 kilometers of road. You’re going to ski or board your guts out here. And then you’re going to chill out in luxury, with gourmet food and some of the best staff around, all with the aim to make sure you’ve had the time of your life.
You are, in a word, in the centre of nowhere, on top of the world. And Baldface has made a point to love snowboarders. In a world that sometimes feels a little heavy on the ski-side of things, Baldface loves snowboarders and prides them self on being part of the legacy of Craig Kelly. Skiers are well taken care of and loved as well, but the place is centered on snowboarding, to the point that they held the Supernatural competition, followed by the Ultranatural competition. Filmed by NBC, then syndicated, the video of these events became AirCanada’s in flight entertainment. Eight full minutes of which are dedicated to Nelson. What an amazing place we live in.
More Than Possible — Baldface and Other CAT Skiing/Boarding Adventures
You know, heliskiing can be an expensive habit to start. But when you think about it, a CAT skiing/boarding adventure is well within the means of anyone whose considered a serious ski resort vacation. When you add in lodging, gourmet meals, lift tickets, entertainment and travel expenses, the total bill can come pretty close if not surpass the cost of 3 or 4 days at Baldface. And you know you’re going to get perfect conditions, great snow and more terrain than you can handle. Really, try it.
Money’s not the reason people choose to come to Baldface. It’s the vibe. It’s the way it feels. And, as Jeff Pensiero notes, a lot has to do with the amazing people he has working with him from Nelson, bringing this awesome Nelson Kootenay Lake feel with them up to Baldface Lodge.
At the end of the day, you’ve got to ask why wouldn’t you do it? Why wouldn’t you at least try to get some time up there? Well, of course, as 85% of the people who come rebook for the exact same everything for next year, it can be hard to find space. But in the early and late season, there’s opportunities to book and enjoy the best rates of the season as well. As Jeff puts it, it can be a “crime of opportunity” – a perfect excuse to call in sick to work and take some powder time.
We hope you have a chance to visit Baldface at least once in your life. And, with hints of an early snow season this year, maybe it’s sooner than you think??? Mark McMorris can go anywhere in the world to board, and guess where he goes?
Whatever you decide, we hope to see you here soon. And, of course, if you’d like ideas for places to stay and eat before or after your CAT trip, take a look at the Nelson Kootenay Lake website.