Bella Coola

The Waiting Game: Patience and Deliverance in Bella Coola

Staring out a charter plane window at British Columbia’s Coast Mountains was equally reflective and surreal. Whistler was merely the gateway to these gnarled, snow-caked peaks stacking from saltwater all the way north to Alaska. Moving north, they commanded awe with powerful coastal glaciers and icefields of unimaginable scale. Even the access was rugged, with few signs of humanity for hundreds of miles at a stretch, save for a logging camp, a fly-in fishing lodge or a rare depopulating resource town. 

Scando-style fjords carved fingers through the glaciated peaks. Coastal forests, either in a stage of harvest or impossible to reach, flanked mountaintops shrouded in cloud and mystery. The skiable lines were overwhelming—more than any human could check off in a lifetime. Too much for even John Baldwin, the patron sage and author of Exploring the Coast Mountains on Skis, who wrote the guidebook for this 1,000-mile expanse. For those with less time, thankfully, it’s also home to 3.5 million acres of heli-ski tenure—all of it accessed by a single, legendary operation…

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