At most of North America’s heli-ski operations several groups of skiers share a single helicopter, ferrying them from run to run throughout the day. That can often mean waiting around for the helicopter to return from picking up another group. And not being able to venture too far from the herd for logistical reasons.
Now imagine how amazing it would be to have your own helicopter, at your exclusive disposal for your entire skiing trip. Your group could fly to the best parts of the tenure and remain – skiing big beautiful bowls, glistening glaciers, steep chutes and endless glades – all day long. And if you wanted to rest out a run or two? No problem. Instead of having to catch a lift back to the lodge at a designated time, you could simply remain in the bird and relax while your mates powdered on.
One group per helicopter. It’s a radical concept that’s just beginning to take off in the ultra competitive heli-skiing world. And TLH Heli-skiing is among its pioneers. Their irresistible powder hounds policy? Just 10 guests and 2 guides in your own Bell 212, or 4 guests and 2 guides in a Bell 407. And 830,000 acres of deep British Columbia powder to play in. It’s like having your own airborne limousine – and driver.
Heli-skiing is a numbers game; usually measured by how many meters you can ski in a day or a week. Most of North America’s major heli-ski operators limit the number of guaranteed vertical, and then charge you extra once you’ve topped out at around 100,000 metres. You can really burn through your allotted vertical, especially if you’re with a group of strong skiers hell bent on pushing the envelope to get as many daily runs in as possible. And if conditions are less than ideal you’re faced with a heli-skier’s dilemma – do you wait this one out and conserve your metres? Of course, hanging back at the lodge could mean missing out on some serious fun.
But wait! What if you offered your guests unlimited vertical? Giving them all the skiing they can handle, every day. Guaranteed. No extra billing no matter how many turns you carve. A radical idea to be sure, going against the heli-ski industry grain. And, as it turns out, the perfect way for TLH to give their guests more of what they want without penny pinching. They even went a step further: Should you be unable to ski or ride due to weather or mechanical issues, you get a refund based on the unused portion of your guarantee. Now, with TLH’s unlimited vertical guarantee, the only limit is your appetite for perfect powder.
If heli-skiing is the Superbowl of snow sports, then TLH Heli-skiing’s Private Platinum Package is like having your very own sumptuous executive suite for the big game. It truly is the ultimate rush. Few if any other boutique heli-skiing operators offer anything close to this ultra-luxurious, totally exclusive experience. Fly in your own private helicopter all day. Return to your own private luxury chalet at night. Indulge in the pampering and attention of your own private team, including a concierge, massage therapist, chef, pilot, and guides.
Platinum guests can choose to ski in groups of 10 with 2 guides in a Bell 212 helicopter or 4 with 2 guides in a Bell 407 helicopter. And at the end of every spectacular day of enjoying some of the best powder runs on Earth, return to the lap of luxury at Spirit Bear Chalet, located in a private setting adjacent to the main lodge. This sumptuous 9-bedroom wilderness hideaway comes fully equipped for après ski rejuvenation with its own sauna, Jacuzzi and massage room. Curling up round the giant stone fireplace, or soaking up the day’s last rays in the solarium overlooking the lake while your private chef prepares a gourmet feast, it’s hard to imagine wanting to be anywhere else. The TLH Platinum experience is as good as it gets.
95% of the world’s heli-skiing is to be had in British Columbia, mostly in remote, hard to reach areas that can take up to a full day to reach. Not the case with TLH Heli-skiing, which is easily accessed by ground or by air from Vancouver, making it one of the closest heli-skiing operations to a major international airport. Within a couple of hours of arriving in Canada you can be relaxing in luxurious Tyax Wilderness Lodge and Resort on the shores of Tyaughton Lake, base of operations for this high end boutique operator, and one of the largest log lodges in Western Canada.
World famous Whistler Resort, host of the 2010 Winter Olympics, is even closer. North America’s number one resort is just a half hour away by air from TLHs 830,000 acre tenure in the heart of one of the most desirable destinations in the world’s premiere heli skiing region. With Tyax Lodge’s proximity to Whistler, guests can combine the two in one amazing trip, spending a few days warming up by chairlift on Whistler Blackcomb before exploring TLH’s mountain playground by helicopter.
When Tyax Wilderness Lodge and Resort founder Gus Abel went looking for the perfect location he knew it had to be remote, on a lake, and surrounded by mountains, with dry hot summers and lots of powder snow in the winter. In his search, Gus found a remote lake known to the aboriginal people as “Tyaughton” or “lake of the jumping fish”. On its north shore was a deserted old hunting and fishing camp with the name of Tyax Lodge. This location and its 275 acres of lakeside wilderness had all the ingredients he was looking for.
Fast-forward over thirty years. Today, Gus’s original plan for the combination of mountainous terrain, sunshine and pretty much ideal weather conditions year round, make for a spectacular, family friendly getaway – not too far from the sophisticated reaches of Vancouver. The need for a bush plane service on-site became very apparent soon after the first summer of operation. Tyax Air Service was launched and now flies guests to remote alpine lakes for fishing, hiking and mountain biking, as well as flight seeing tours over the vast Bridge River Glacier Fields.
With the combination of mountainous terrain, sunshine and abundance of powder snow, Tyax also proved be an ideal resort destination for winter activities including snowmobiling and skiing. Instead of building towropes and chairlifts like other ski resorts, Abel chose to introduce heli-skiing in its first winter, and heli-skiers (and later heli-snowboarders) started to showed up in large numbers. A new company called TLH Heli-skiing was later formed to promote this activity to international markets. By the late 1990s, heli-skiing became the main drawing point for guests to visit Tyax in the winter season.
To the aboriginal people this region was known as the “Skumakun” or “Land of Plenty”. Today, thanks to the vision of Gus Abel to build a classic Canadian wilderness destination, Tyax Lodge has revived that spirit of plenty and evolved into a unique luxury wilderness resort visited annually by thousands of guests from all over the world.
After an epic day of cross-country mountain biking, hiking, canoeing or horseback riding amid some of British Columbia’s most spectacular wilderness scenery, guests at Tyax Wilderness Resort & Spa can look forward to much more than simply refuelling for another day of outdoor adventure.
Offering fine, organic, locally sourced cuisine lovingly prepared in classic French fashion, BC’s premier luxury wilderness lodge offers the best of both worlds - hearty yet fine dining in a pristine wilderness setting, prepared with continental culinary flare.
“For me it has always been about preparing every element of the menu from scratch - there’s love in every thing you do,” explains the Lodge’s Parisian born executive chef, Sebastian Vickers.
In collaboration with Randy Jones, proprietor of Pemberton’s award-winning Mile One Eating House, chef Vickers has designed a tantalizingly unique lodge menu that features regionally inspired cuisine sourced from most committed producers and growers, prepared from scratch and served fresh.
“It’s important for us to offer unique and interesting menu choices that celebrate BC products. ” says Jones, who defines his primary role as sourcing products that are brand appropriate from a culinary perspective and offering guidance through the process of menu creation. “Anyone can buy products from a big box supplier but we wanted to ensure that we were incorporating some great products from some great local artisans,” he adds.
Tyax Lodge’s unique location, where the Chilcotin Range meets the coastal forests only a few dozen kilometres from the Pacific Ocean, has inspired Vickers and Jones to create signature dishes with ingredients sourced everywhere from the nearby Pemberton and Lillooet Valleys to Port Alberni on Vancouver Island, where a local fisherman supplies them with Ocean Wise certified Albacore Tuna.
The mouth-watering results can be tasted in signature main dishes like Coastal Potlatch (Albacore tuna, BC spot prawns, halibut potato cake, Fort Berens white wine & vine ripened tomato broth), West Coast Halibut (Lodge smoked salt rub, fresh pea risotto, crispy buttermilk onions, red pepper emulsion, and micro greens.) and Fraser Valley Double Pork Chop (Cariboo honey glazed & fired grilled, sweet corn polenta, Okanagan apple & smoked bacon jam).
Similarly, the lunchtime favourite Cache Creek Natural Beef Burger (Smoked bacon, Village Cheese Company ale cheddar, and roasted garlic aioli, served with hand cut Kennebec fries or salad greens), is sourced from hormone, steroid and antibiotic free beef raised by a local supplier committed to natural grazing, environmental stewardship, and animal welfare, and
“I think our guests are engaged by the stories of where the ingredients of their meals come from, “ says Jones, pointing to another natural connection with the Fort Berens Estate Winery just down the road in Lillooet and deep in what was the heart of gold mining country at the foot of the mountains in the Fraser Canyon. “We've introduced Fort Berens wines into our house salad dressing and a few of our deserts,” he explains.
For chef Vickers, who spent fifteen years honing his craft in Whistler before signing on with Tyax Lodge earlier this year, their recent efforts to build a partnership with a local organic farmer represents the achievement of a long cherished goal. “This has always been my dream as a chef, that one day I could partner with a local farmer to supply all organic ingredients,” he says.
For lodge guests fortunate enough to savour the delectable results of Vickers’ Gaelic culinary passion and Jones’ expertise in sourcing the finest local ingredients, dining at Tyax Wilderness Resort and Spa is quite simply a taste of British Colombian back country heaven.