• Overall Rating
Last Frontier5.0 out of 5 based on 5 reviews
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Last Frontier Heliskiing Canada
Last Frontier Heliskiing Canada
The helicopters are very agile machines
The helicopters are very agile machines
Last Frontier Heli Skiing scores 25m of snow per season on average
Last Frontier Heli Skiing scores 25m of snow per season on average
To say the terrain is vast would be an understatement
To say the terrain is vast would be an understatement
Last Frontier Heliskiing Northern BC
Last Frontier Heliskiing Northern BC
The terrain goes on and on
The terrain goes on and on
Last Frontier Heliskiing receives massive snowfalls
Last Frontier Heliskiing receives massive snowfalls
Last Frontier Heliskiing BC Canada
Last Frontier Heliskiing BC Canada
Last Frontier Heli
Last Frontier Heli
Plenty of glaciated terrain
Plenty of glaciated terrain
The hot tub at Bell 2 Lodge
The hot tub at Bell 2 Lodge
Get away from it all
Get away from it all
Bell 2 Lodge is a remote heliski village
Bell 2 Lodge is a remote heliski village
The rooms at Bell 2 Lodge are spacious
The rooms at Bell 2 Lodge are spacious
The birds are ideal for heli skiing
The birds are ideal for heli skiing
Last Frontier Heliskiing
Last Frontier Heliskiing
Ripley Creek Inn in Stewart BC
Ripley Creek Inn in Stewart BC
Ripley Creek Inn offers plenty of historic charm
Ripley Creek Inn offers plenty of historic charm
Last Frontier Heliskiing
Last Frontier Heliskiing
The hot tub at Ripley Creek Inn is very unique
The hot tub at Ripley Creek Inn is very unique

Last Frontier Heliskiing

Last Frontier Heliskiing offers some of the most amazing powder skiing and snowboarding on this planet, and one can only assume in this universe! On the topic of outer space, space is often referred to as the very last frontier for humans to discover, but the next best thing is the exploration of the phenomenal backcountry of Last Frontier Heli Skiing!

Considering the name, you could be forgiven for thinking that this heliski outfit is in Alaska. Last Frontier Heliskiing is located in British Columbia, but it’s so far north that it’s adjacent to Alaska, and it’s just as remote. In this completely out-of-the-way spot, Last Frontier Heli has a vast tenure of 9,500 square kilometres (2.3 million acres) where there are skiing options galore. To put the size into perspective, this is 3.5 times the average size of a Canadian heli ski operator, twice the size of the average Alaska heli ski operator, 13 times the average size of a lower 48 heli skiing outfit, and 280 times the size of Whistler Blackcomb. It’s massive!

Also massive is the amount of snow, with 25 metres of powder falling annually on average, which is the highest of the North American heli operators. Small groups of 4 guests and mega terrain and snowfalls combine to make Last Frontier Heliskiing a powder hound’s fantasy!

Last Frontier Heli Skiing Packages

Last Frontier Heli offers 4, 5 & 7 day packages from 2 locations: Bell 2 Lodge which is in a remote location in the Skeena Mountains; and Ripley Creek Inn located in the small historic mining town of Stewart BC. Packages are available to solo travellers & small groups wanting to join a group or for private groups of 4 or 8.

The two main heli skiing packages offer the same elements, but the Ripley Creek Inn and Bell 2 locations are slightly different.

  • Bell 2 is located in a really remote location along the Stewart-Cassiar Highway, whilst Ripley Creek is located in the little town of Stewart (which is also out in the middle of nowhere!).
  • Bell 2 hosts a maximum of 36 guests per week, whilst Ripley Creek has a maximum of 24 guests.
  • Bell 2 offers the comforts of an upscale hotel and is a little more luxurious, whereas Ripley Creek consists of restored historic buildings that have plenty of character. See Bell 2 lodging and Ripley Creek lodging for more information.
  • The cost of the Bell 2 packages is slightly more.
  • The terrain size and options at Bell 2 are somewhat greater.
  • The southern terrain at Ripley is burlier and has more steeps and trees.
  • There are a couple of additional things to do in Stewart (Ripley) in the event of a down day.
Ripley Creek Inn Packages DETAILS
MULTI-DAY HELI SKIING PACKAGE
From 4 Nights / 4 Days Heli Skiing
From price based on 4-day package in high season, mixed group, twin/double-share (price per person)
Base/invoice currency is in CAD inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations
Price p/p
From price based on 4-day package in high season, mixed group, twin/double-share (price per person)
Base/invoice currency is in CAD inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations
USD 5,475
Ability: Strong Intermediate to Expert
Whether you are a solo traveler, a couple or group, heli skiing with Last Frontier will deliver memories that last a lifetime! The Ripley Creek Inn packages offer both mixed or private groups (4, 5 or 7 days). Packages include all meals & great Canadian hospitality. More
View inclusions & Add-ons
Inclusions
  • Lodging at the Ripley Creek Inn
  • Daily breakfast, lunch, apres appetizers & dinner
  • Daily small-group guided heli skiing (max 4 guests per group)
  • Return transfers - Terrace / Ripley Creek Inn
  • Use of avalanche safety equipment & fat skis
Add-ons
No optional extras to display
Location: Canada | Tour Focus: Guided | Terrain Focus: Backcountry
Click here for rates, dates & availability
Future rates & dates are currently not yet available for this operator. Click here to enquire.
You can request a custom tour for your own private group within the date period shown Custom Booking Period
The number of days for this tour can be customised however must be a minimum as shown below Min Days
Please enquire for a price for your custom tour Price
It is not possible to know the exact availability for custom tours so please enquire here and the operator will let you know of their availability. If the availability is flagged as "Filling", "Almost Full", or "Sold Out", it means that dates are filling up or are fully booked. Availability
Jan 12 - Apr 13, 2018
From 4
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Enquire
Future rates & dates are currently not yet available for this operator. Click here to enquire.
Bell 2 Lodge Packages DETAILS
DELUXE MULTI-DAY HELI SKIING PACKAGE
From 4 Nights / 4 Days Heli Skiing
From price based on 4-day package in high season, mixed group, twin/double-share (price per person)
Base/invoice currency is in CAD inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations
Price p/p
From price based on 4-day package in high season, mixed group, twin/double-share (price per person)
Base/invoice currency is in CAD inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations
USD 6,300
Ability: Strong Intermediate to Expert
Whether you are a solo traveler, a couple or group, some blissful time with Last Frontier is the ultimate! The Bell 2 Lodge packages offer both mixed or private groups (4, 5 or 7 days). Lodging is in deluxe Canadian log rooms & gourmet meals & Canadian hospitality is all included. More
View inclusions & Add-ons
Inclusions
  • Deluxe lodging in the Bell 2 Lodge rooms with ensuite bathroom
  • Daily breakfast, lunch & dinner (chef prepared)
  • Daily small-group guided heli skiing (max 4 guests per group)
  • Return transfers between Smithers & Bell 2 Lodge
  • Use of avalanche safety equipment & fat skis
Add-ons
No optional extras to display
Location: Canada | Tour Focus: Guided | Terrain Focus: Backcountry
Click here for rates, dates & availability
Future rates & dates are currently not yet available for this operator. Click here to enquire.
You can request a custom tour for your own private group within the date period shown Custom Booking Period
The number of days for this tour can be customised however must be a minimum as shown below Min Days
Please enquire for a price for your custom tour Price
It is not possible to know the exact availability for custom tours so please enquire here and the operator will let you know of their availability. If the availability is flagged as "Filling", "Almost Full", or "Sold Out", it means that dates are filling up or are fully booked. Availability
Dec 08 - Apr 27, 2018
From 4
Enquire
Enquire
Future rates & dates are currently not yet available for this operator. Click here to enquire.
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Where is Last Frontier Heliskiing Canada Located?

It’s a bit of a hike to get to Last Frontier Heliskiing, but it’s definitely worth making the pilgrimage to these remote spots to truly and completely get away from the hubbub of everyday life. Last Frontier has two heliski lodges that are based in Northern BC Canada.

Bell 2 Lodge is located 220 miles (360km) northwest of Smithers (home to the little Hudson Bay Ski Resort) along the Stewart-Cassiar Highway. Terrace and Smithers are the closest major towns to Bell 2. Smithers has a population of only 5,400, which gives you an idea of the delightful remoteness of the Bell II lodge. Stewart (home of Ripley Creek) is 150km away from Bell II.

Bell 2 is accessed via a flight from Vancouver to Smithers Airport (YYD). From the airport, a morning ground transfer is provided to the lodge (about 4.5 hours) which is very scenic. See the itinerary for more details.

The Ripley Creek Inn is located in the tiny town of Stewart BC, which has a population of about 500 folks. Stewart is just a stone’s throw from the even smaller town of Hyder Alaska and 200 miles (310km) northwest of Terrace BC which is home to the local ski hill of Shames Mountain.

Ripley Creek is accessed via a flight from Vancouver to Terrace Airport (YXT). From the airport, a morning ground transfer is provided to the lodge (4-5 hours). The last part of the road trip is particularly dramatic because the valley into Stewart is very narrow. See the itinerary for more information on getting there.


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Heliskiing Terrain

With such an enormous tenure, the terrain choices seem almost infinite which assists the guides in finding the best snow quality possible. And you’ll never get bored with the type of runs which include wide open bowls, glaciated terrain, and tree runs in old growth forests. There are some steep and aggressive lines for experts through to more mellow slopes. The longest run is 2,000 metres with an average run length of 900 metres.

Considering the amount of snow that Last Frontier receives it’s not surprising that no-fly days occur, but these only happen about one day per week on average, which is much less than Alaska heli skiing operators. Thankfully Last Frontier has plenty of protected tree skiing options for inclement days.

Last Frontier Heli Skiing Review

The Powderhounds were incredibly fortunate to visit the heli skiing paradise of Last Frontier! Our stay was unfortunately short and we only spent a day and a half heli skiing at Bell 2. Considering the vastness of the LFH terrain, we didn’t get to ski even a poofteenth of their terrain! The snow conditions also limited the terrain we could ski, so there were terrain elements that we didn’t feel we could review. Nevertheless we managed to get a really good feel for the other fundamentals of the Last Frontier Heli operation at Bell 2, which was fabulous! We also popped into Stewart (the other base of operations) to stay a night, and it was pretty special to check out this charming little far-away town (and the quirky town of Hyder just over the border; a must do!).

There were lots of repeat clients, which in itself speaks volumes of the specialness of Last Frontier. Of course even though we (and many others) think that Last Frontier Heli Skiing is a fantastic outfit, no company is absolutely perfect for everyone. It’s our job to critique even the smallest potential shortcoming so even though we were very impressed, we don’t provide full marks for everything. As a guide to the ratings below, a 5/5 equates to absolutely phenomenal, 4/5 is excellent, whilst 3/5 is still a very good score. You can check out our heli ski ratings to see how Last Frontier Heli Skiing fares against other operations.

Pros

  • If you can’t decide on whether to go heli skiing in Canada or heli skiing in Alaska, Last Frontier could be perfect to score the best of both. It has the relative snow stability and massive snow volumes of Alaska, and the tree skiing, emphasis on safety, and high quality lodgings and cuisine typical of Canadian heli skiing.
  • It’s a very well organised operation.
  • LFH has a massive terrain choice.
  • The operation demonstrated a very strong emphasis on safety.
  • The helicopters were fantastically agile, and combined with small groups and organisational skills of the guides, we were able to churn through a lot of vertical in a very short space of time.
Cons
  • This is a little hard to gauge because we didn’t see a lot of their terrain, but it’s possible that riding steep terrain is not commonplace at Bell II on a standard package.
Pro or Con Depending On Your Perspective
  • The tenures scores 75 feet of annual snowfall so there’s a chance you’ll get neck deep in God’s gift to powder hounds. With colossal snow storms comes inclement weather, so there may be a fraction more down days (or down half days) than in the BC Interior, but thanks to some tree skiing, the down days are less frequent than in Alaska.
  • It takes a lot of time and commitment to get there, but this is part of the adventure and you really feel like you are getting away from it all and the stresses of “real life”….far, far, away. Considering its isolation, it’s not surprising that communications such as phone and internet are not that great at Bell 2 Lodge, but this may assist in really getting away from it all.
Powder Snow
Located near the coast, the mountains get absolutely dumped on and being a very coastal snowpack, the stability is not as fickle as that found in Interior BC. Yet being so coastal, the snow is also not as light and dry as in the Interior, although due to the northerly position the temperatures are reasonably low and the snow quality is generally well maintained.

Just before we visited, the temperatures had uncharacteristically risen across all of BC, so the snow quality wasn’t good enough for tree skiing. On the first day, the snow was boot deep up in the alpine and pretty nice, whilst by the 2nd day howling winds had turned the snow into a pretty disgusting crust. Sometimes the weather gods are not kind, but as a general rule the snow conditions at LFH range from very good to epic.
Overall Terrain
LFH scores points for the massive amount of terrain on offer. And more points because the combo of the quick helis and organised guides means that you can ski or snowboard lots of vertical efficiently. And for those that don’t want to max out the vertical (due to energy or financial concerns), they do a really good job at coordinating with fuel runs to get any guests out of the field early.
Alpine Terrain
It goes without saying that there’s lots of it; hence the big score. However the little of it that we saw was very repetitive and lacked variety; big long runs on moderately pitched wide-open bowls that didn’t have many features. However to be my own devil’s advocate, this is some people’s nirvana, and if I could only ski runs like this for the rest of my life I probably wouldn’t complain.
Tree Skiing not rated
The snow conditions did not enable us to check out the tree skiing.

Strong Intermediate Terrain


We skied an abundance of terrain that was ideal for strong intermediate riders: not too steep; wide open; and limited camber challenges. However like most multi-day heli ski operators, LFH tends to attract advanced to expert riders so unless you organised your own group of others of a similar ability, you may feel pressured to ride at a speed you’re not comfortable with (or have difficulty in steeper terrain or if the weather dictates below tree line terrain).

The ability for tired skiers to easily return to the lodge in line with a fuel run is a major bonus.
Advanced Terrain
not rated
As we didn’t ski the trees, and pretty much skied the same type of run, I don’t feel we’re able to rate this. By all accounts from other guests, the terrain for advanced riders is supreme.
Expert & Extreme Terrain
not rated
The jury is still out on whether Bell 2 is the place to go if you really want to ski Alaska-esque steeps (Ripley Creek has a rep for more steep terrain). We certainly didn’t ski any terrain that was steep or technical and the snow conditions were likely a major factor in this. Like any heli ski operation, the ability to ski/snowboard this sort of terrain is dependent on snow stability (which is often good at LFH) and the ability and desire of the other guests in the group. BYO group and your own team cohesion and then obviously the odds of skiing challenging terrain is heightened. And if you want to ski steeps, head to Last Frontier Heliskiing during April when odds increase again.
Guiding
The guides were all incredibly well qualified and experienced and had great leadership to coordinate their efforts. They rotate the guides around so you’ll potentially have a different guide each day, which has its pros and cons. Both guides we had found the ideal balance of tight versus loose guiding considering the conditions, and provided very clear instructions. One of the guides was socially awkward which made us feel equally awkward but all the other guides were amazingly charismatic and contributed to the really really fun experience. During meals, all the staff mingled with the guests, which was also great. Even the heli pilots were incredibly social (which is somewhat rare in the heliski industry!).
Heli
Wow these were amazing machines! Powerful and agile, the A-Star B2/B3s were the perfect helicopters to get the job done, and to allow plenty of vertical to be skied in a short space of time. As with most choppers it’s a bit squeezy when 4 big people pile in the back, but little things like colour coding the seat belts made all the difference to the potential frenzy of getting into the heli.
Avalanche Mitigation Strategies
Avalanches are inevitable with heli skiing as are other safety concerns, yet it was evident that safety was a major priority. LFH has very comprehensive systems to mitigate the risks which are somewhat typical of most Canadian heli and cat skiing operations. And of particular note, safety officers head out to dig pits and assess snow stability, rather than the guides rushing to do this whilst guests are waiting. All guests carry ABS airbag backpacks with a shovel and probe, and one guest at the rear of the group has a radio.
Safety Briefing
The safety briefing was fantastic. It was very comprehensive, well organised and also efficient. And all guests practised beacon searching, probing and shoveling multiple times.
Frills
Last Frontier Heli covers most of the necessary trimmings you’d ever want. Transport from the Smithers/Terrace airport is provided so you don’t need to rent a car. In addition to the safety gear, a large range of powder skis and poles are on offer as well as a small range of snowboards. As is the case with various small group heli operators, a photography or videography service is not provided.

Lunch was pretty good (without being amazing) and basic snacks such as muesli bars were available for guests to carry, and small water bottles were available in the heli.

The level of service from the majority of staff was exceptional, and despite there being 36 guests in the lodge, the service was rather personalised.
Accommodation
The setting at Bell 2 was really nice. Even though it’s located on the highway, the lodging was far enough away from the road which didn’t have much traffic anyhow, so we still felt like we were staying out in the wilderness.

Our room was spacious and the décor was very nice (albeit a bit old in places) without being luxurious. The beds were very nicely made up with quality linens and were incredibly comfortable. One minor limitation was that we could hear our neighbours walking around upstairs very early in the mornings (possibly why the repeat customers get upper rooms as part of a loyalty program).

The little combustion fireplace was a really nice touch and the staff provided lots of firewood as well as kindling so it was easy to light. And there were slippers, bathrobe and beach towel for the hot tub.

The food was first-rate for gastopub fare without being OTT gourmet.

As Bell 2 is out in the middle of nowhere and there are satellite communications it was no great surprise that there was no cell service (but phones in each room) and the internet was painfully slow (and expensive). The upside for many is the chance to really get away from the world.
Value for Money
Firstly LFH scores points for heli skiing with only 4 guests and a guide in the bird, unlike a handful of operators that are still offering large group or large heli formats.

The package rates are pretty much middle of the road for most of the Canadian multi-day heli operators (with the exception of CMH operations that charge a fortune!). With LFH you have to pay extra for additional vertical past the “guarantee” which adds to the cost for those that want max vertical, and this package style makes sense for an operator where there’s a good probability you won’t get full days of heli skiing every day.

Notes Regarding ReviewThe review is largely based on our experience, but also on discussions with staff, former guests, and information available on their website. Our review has some limitations as it’s not possible to ski every run and in all possible snow and weather conditions. Every guide is somewhat different and we acknowledge that everyone’s experience will be slightly different. The ratings are from our perspective only.

Reviews

Heli Skiing Paradise

POWDERHOUNDS.COM
09/04/2017
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Age
    36-50
  • Rider Ability
    Expert
  • Month:
    February
Heli skiing paradise Vast terrain Fantastic helicopters Little bit of fresh snow on the 1st afternoon Hyder Alaska is just over the border from Stewart BC - worth a visit
As an all-rounder, the Last Frontier Heli Skiing business is exceptional. It’s well run, highly organised, and service levels are excellent. A few other obvious pros include massive terrain, copious snowfall, and fantastic small agile birds.

We visited Bell 2 Lodge for a couple of days, and on the 1st day we had a down-morning due to it snowing heavily (and low temps that had soured the snow below the treeline), and by the afternoon the snow was boot deep and rather nice, and we felt like we got a full day of heli skiing in just the afternoon. Being able to rip through some vertical very quickly was probably the result of the Ferrari-esque helicopter, a cohesive group, and great organisational skills of the guides. Unfortunately on the 2nd day some overnight howling winds had turned the snow into a yucky crust (these were winds and snow conditions that a few days later at an AK heli outfit, grounded us for a whole week!). We were just unlucky that we missed it, because we’d heard that the snow conditions are generally very good and often epic!

Bell 2 Lodge was very plush and we had very comfortable beds and a nice combustion fireplace in our room. In particular we really liked the vibe of the bar, which is a benefit of having 36 guests at a time (and the guests are generally an assorted mix of nationalities). And the dining atmosphere was also a highlight, in part due to the effort that staff made to mingle with the guests to ensure they were having a great time.

We also went to the Ripley Creek base for an afternoon and evening. The inn and the café are delightfully historic (who would think to collect antique toasters?!) and have plenty of charm and the surrounding buildings are very quirky. We thoroughly enjoyed popping over the border to Hyder Alaska. This is a strange little town that’s stuck in a time warp and in summer is known for its bear spotting. At the very eccentric Glacier Inn you can get “hyderized” with 150% proof rocket fuel. Lots of money is stuck to the walls; a tradition that started way back in the mining days.

Last Frontier is an amazing heliski operation. Some may say that a huge disadvantage of LFH is that it’s so far away from civilization and it takes time and a little effort to get there. But I think for many of us, this is one part of the major attraction of LFH – that it’s so far away from the well-beaten path of southern BC and far away from day to day life.

For a more in-depth critique of LFH you can also look at our review tab on the Last Frontier Heli Skiing overview.

Epic

Brett Kennedy
01/03/2016
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Age
    36-50
  • Rider Ability
    Advanced
  • Country
    Canada
  • Month:
    February
Wow, it is hard to describe how big the ski tenure is at Last Frontier. Imagine 1,000 peaks at your disposal only shared by 50 people. In a week you are lucky if you cover 5% of the available terrain.

I have been twice, most recently Feb 2015, and it was an epic week. Had about 80cm of fresh, only a half day down, and skied lots of trees, with the last day of waist deep.

This operation is brilliant, food fantastic, really friendly team with no attitude and nice international guest list; just an awesome skiing experience.

Looking Forward to Next Season

Chris
29/07/2015
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Age
    18-35
  • Rider Ability
    Expert
  • Country
    USA
  • Month:
    January
I've been to LFH's Ripley Creek each of the past two years with some buddies and can't wait to return in 2016.

If you crave long, untracked runs in the middle of nowhere, do yourself a favor and add Last Frontier to your bucket list.

Last Frontier has everything: long glaciated runs, incredible tree skiing, unbeatable views and excellent food. The guides are knowledgeable and down to earth. Overall it was a top notch experience. Looking forward to next season!

Big thanks to the entire Ripley crew - we had a great time

A Dream Come True

S.Andrea
04/12/2014
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Age
    36-50
  • Rider Ability
    Advanced
  • Country
    USA
  • Month:
    February
We had all been dreaming of this sort of thing since salivating over Warren Miller movies in the 70's. Vast untracked bowls that would fit an average Austrian ski resort, and LF made it happen.

On top of this, the LF crew made the experience unforgettable. I think the model is perfect, fun lodge, great food and staff and NO attitude.

Thanks for everything - very professional

this Place is BIG

Seth Morrison
04/12/2014
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Age
    18-35
  • Rider Ability
    Expert
  • Country
    USA
  • Month:
    March
The skiing is very similar to what I have skied in Alaska, but it has many more options for down-day type skiing (bad weather skiing). Many tree runs with tons of features in them; cliffs, pillow walls, pillow poppers. And with a tenure a quarter the size of Switzerland, we barely scratched the surface.