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It all started with a man who had a dream. Mike Wiegele, born in Austria 1938, immigrated to Canada in 1959 at the adventurous age of 21. Mike began his career in Canada as a carpenter, laborer, insurance salesman but eventually his passion for skiing led him to become the director of the Lake Louise Ski School where he led many young skiers to international success. In the 1990’s, Mike joined Atomic to develop the “Fat Boy” ski which revolutionized the sport of powder skiing.
After researching weather and snow patterns all over BC, Mike discovered the perfect location for his Heli Village Resort in Blue River BC - in the heart of the Cariboo and Monashee Mountain Ranges. The snowflakes here were big and falling straight, guaranteeing high quality powder snow.
Today, located on the shores of Eleanor Lake the Resort features 22 hand-crafted log chalets, Lodge, Administration Building/Guest Lobby, Sports Shop, Laundry, and Guides Haus.
The 22,000-sq. ft. main Lodge is home to our Powdermax Dining Room where under the direction of Toni Spöri, fully trained chefs take pleasure in pleasing both the eye and the palate. Guests can also find the Silver Buckle Lounge, Boutique, Games Room, and Fitness Center. Newly renovated, the Fitness Center provides guests with access to 15 Nautilus machines, a stretch room with a 34’x45’ suspended hardwood floor, seven massage rooms, whirlpool, and men’s and ladies’ change rooms complete with showers and sauna.
Accommodations at Mike Wiegele Helicopter Skiing range from standard rooms and private chalets, to luxury chalets. All rooms are located in individual log chalets with two-six bedrooms, each equipped with private bath and telephone. As well, all chalets feature a fully equipped kitchen and living room with large stone fireplace. In selected chalets, additional amenities include satellite TV, VCR/DVD, internet access, in-room safe, sundeck, jacuzzi tub & steam shower.
Built in 1990, the Bavarian House Estate offers the ultimate in private luxury. It is a private self-contained residence across Eleanor Lake and 10 minutes walking distance from our main lodge. The property is home to the 9,000-sq. ft. Bavarian House with five bedrooms and the 6,000-sq. ft. Cabana with three bedrooms. Both homes are fine examples of log craftsmanship and come fully appointed to satisfy even the most discriminating guest. Ideal for small parties of two to ten people.
The Albreda Lodge welcomes a whole new world of mountain adventures. Located only 45km north of Blue River, it offers quick access to the northern part of our skiing area. Inspired by the old lodges of the European Alps, Albreda is hand crafted from huge reused timbers with slate accents that provide a warm feel in the cozy spaces. With only 17 rooms to service up to 20 guests, it offers a traditional mountain chalet experience. In addition, it also includes an exclusive 2 bedroom-2 bathroom private suite.
The Albreda Lodge is equipped with a fiber-optic link to Heli-Village including a video link from the Guides Haus in Blue River. Other features are high-end gourmet meals, full range of powder gear and other big mountain accessories in its own ski shop and boutique, fitness room, sauna, hot tub and massage therapists. All rooms have a telephone, wireless internet and TV. The lodge also is equipped with climbing wall facilities.
Founded in 1970, Mike Wiegele Helicopter Skiing resort lies in the heart of the magnificent Cariboo and Monashee Mountains and plays host to a variety of summer and winter activities. Our skiing area is 1,200,000 acres (1,750 square miles), encompassing over 1,000 peaks and runs. Our terrain encompasses of the world’s most productive snow belts with consistent annual snowfall accumulations of more than 10 metres (30 feet).
Blue River is situated a comfortable 2.5hr drive north of Kamloops, BC, via the well maintained Hwy #5, making the Resort easily accessible by car or bus. Horizon Air offers non-stop daily flights from Seattle, WA and Air Canada offers multiple flights from Vancouver to Kamloops, where a host will pick you up on our courtesy shuttle bus. A 5,600-foot airstrip accommodates private aircraft, weather permitting and dependent on snowfall. Local services include two grocery stores, two service stations, post office, elementary school, Interior Health Authority Clinic, ambulance service, library, motels and two campgrounds.
Our professionally trained guides, certified by the Canadian Ski Guides Association (CSGA) and the Canadian Avalanche Association (CAA) or equivalent international organization, are also Certified Ski Instructors and are members of the Canadian Ski Instructors Alliance (CSIA). They are chosen for their ability to provide our guests with an exciting and memorable vacation, while caring for their safety and comfort at all times. In addition to their technical qualifications, they also possess strong interpersonal and communication skills. Most of our senior guides have been involved with our operation for more than ten years.
The only way to the top around here is by helicopter. Through our association with Yellowhead Helicopters, who have been in operation since 1975, we are able to offer our guests the use of specially designed & equipped helicopters; three Bell 212 twin engine helicopters and seven of the smaller but quicker, powerful A-Star’s and the Bell 407. The pilots have extensive mountain flying experience. Each one has taken part in special mountain training as well as our own comprehensive training program. To give improved and more reliable service, Mike Wiegele Helicopter Skiing has invested in a newly expanded, heated hangar in which all of the Helicopters are serviced.
Snowcat Skiing offers a relaxed and methodical introduction to back country skiing, skiing instruction and basic mountain safety training. In 2005, Mike Wiegele Helicopter Skiing purchased their first Piston Bully Grooming snowcat and strategically placed it on Saddle Mountain. Then in 2006, the state-of-the-art Piston Bully 300 snowcat mounted with a passenger cabin for transporting up to 12 guests and 2 certified ski guides was introduced. The deluxe passenger cabin is equipped with roomy high back captain seating, self controlled heating, CD stereo system and DVD player/monitor. With the run development plans of the 8 Peaks Project, snowcat guests will be guided down long and challenging runs that start below the tree line and descend for up to 4,500 vertical feet on both powder and groomed terrain.
Winter is the season that highlights the magnificence of the Cariboo and Monashee Mountains. Welcoming approximately 2,000 guests per season November through May. Impressively, 60% of our guests return yearly and over 80% of our guests return every two years. Whether it is the sense of freedom from carving turns down a blanket of snow on one of the high alpine glaciers or experiencing the challenge of a steep tree run, our wide variety of terrain lets us find exciting Heli-skiing and Heli-snowboarding for any ability level. The winter fun is available in three, five and seven day packages in Deluxe or Private Tours. While our Resort is located at a comfortable elevation of 2,240-ft. (690m) skiing takes place from 3,400 – 11,600-ft. (1,046 – 3,569m). The average landings are at about 8,000-ft. (2,462m). Therefore, there are no problems with acclimatization. Our skiers do approximately 120,000 vertical per week, and about 17,000 per day (an average of eight – ten runs) determined by snow conditions, weather, and the ability of the skiers. Winter temperatures average around -7ºC (20ºF), but we have experienced temperatures as low as -30ºC (-18ºF).
The months of April and May are a special time of the season for us. Favored by Mike for a generally more stable snow-pack, as well the glacier crevasses are covered, allowing us to set forth deeper into the mountains for steeper runs and chutes. During these months of longer days, we play host to the popular Spring Festival.
Going beyond the industry standard of 11:1, guests to guide, our Bell 212 groups ski with two professional guides bringing the ratio down to 9:2 and our A-Star groups operate on a 4:1 blend. Mike Wiegele Helicopter Skiing is one of the few operators with a dedicated infrastructure: three weather stations, three radio repeater stations, advanced guides training, and an avalanche research program.
Many films and videos have been shot at Mike Wiegele Helicopter Skiing. Hollywood Pictures, Dominique Perret, Radical Films, ESPN, DSF, Snowboarder TV, Austria’s ORF, Willi Bogner, Sandbox Productions, Discovery Channel, Pontiac World of Skiing, and Warren Miller (with whom we have a more than 40 year association) have all used the spectacular Cariboo and Monashee Mountains as settings for their videos. Our guides and staff have extensive experience working with the film industry.
Approval of the Eight Peaks Plan was finalized in June of 2003, which is comprised of 45,000 hectares of premium terrain that will provide safe and consistent skiing opportunities in close proximity to the Blue River base. Involved is on-going run development that is beneficial to the Snowcat program and to eliminating the minimal “down days” for the Helicopter programs. The official signing of the Saddle Mountain Master Development Agreement was recorded on April 12th, 2007 confirming the vision of Mike Wiegele and the governing agencies for future growth. The Saddle Mountain Resort master plan concept is now being created by well known ski resort designer Brent Harley and ski pioneer Mike Wiegele. The master plan is innovative and creative for the establishment and sustainability of the skiing operation, the village development, the quality of life for the people who live and work here and for their families. The unique mountain resort will be served by ski lifts, snow cats, helicopters and the village design will offer harmonious ski in/out lodging and private residences. It will also include education and career development facilities.
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Toll Free: 1.800.661.9170 Local: 1.250.673.8381
1 Harrwood Dr., Blue River, BC, Canada, V0E 1J0