My stomach knots in anticipation as my husband and I, wearing our ski boots, climb out of the helicopter onto a windswept mountaintop. We shield our faces from the snow crystals filling the air, pull on our goggles and squint up at the impressive granite spires that touch the cobalt sky. We’re not in Kansas anymore.
Heli-skiing in Banff National Park has long been on our bucket list, and since our life together is an adventure, we booked a ski holiday with Canadian Mountain Holidays (CMH) – a perfect way to celebrate our 10th anniversary. Trading lift lines for untracked fall lines on a remote mountainside is why we are here.
“Thwack! Thwack! Thwack!” The helicopter silences the wind as it lifts off. This is it – the magic moment of anticipation as we click into our fat skis and wait for our guide to lead us into the euphoric world of heli-skiing. Nestled between imposing peaks and sloping dramatically downhill lies a blanket of virgin snow. Visions of fresh tracks are no longer just dancing in our heads.
Chasing each other down pristine slopes or across glaciers glinting blue on a cloudless day - whooping the entire way – is my definition of romantic. We’re both passionate about skiing and as I launch down the first run, carving effortless turns that spray up a feather-light rooster tail behind me, I realize that heli-skiing produces the same adrenalin rush as falling in love: you never want it to end. In seven days we’ll ski over 70 runs and log nearly 46,000 vertical m (150,000 vertical ft) on snow that makes us heroes for the week.
After a day of heli-skiing, every hero wants nothing more than a soak in an outdoor hot tub under a starlit mountain sky, followed by a glass of wine sipped in front of a crackling fire. Reconnecting over leisurely gourmet dinners at a beautiful backcountry lodge adds to the romance. The first night, the chef even makes us a special dessert in honour of our anniversary. Happily, we retire to our luxurious room complete with a comfy, duvet-covered king-size bed, then awaken refreshed and ready to repeat. On our last day, we’ll renew our vows on the mountain top.