Stellar Heli FAQ's
Where is Stellar Heliski?
Nestled between the Selkirk and Purcell Mountain ranges, Kaslo, BC is situated in the Kootenays on the west shore of Kootenay Lake along the Powder Highway.
How do I get to Kaslo?
For guests coming from the USA, we recommend flying into Spokane Washington which is a 4hr drive. Rent a vehicle, book a shuttle to Nelson and taxi to Kaslo or arrange for private transportation to Kaslo. Cross into Canada at Frontier-Patterson Border Crossing which is open 24 hours or use Metaline Falls-Nelway crossing open 8am to 4pm.
We have 2 international airports within hours from Kaslo. Fly into Cranbrook International 3.5hr or Kelowna International Airport 4.5hr from Kaslo. Rent a vehicle or pre-arrange a private shuttle to get to Kaslo.
We are an 8hr + drive from Vancouver or Calgary International Airports. From one of these locations, take a hopper flight to one of our regional airports; Castlegar 1.5hr from Kaslo and Trail 2hr from Kaslo.
We recommend arriving a day or two early as weather in the mountains is unpredictable making it challenging flying and driving at times. Arriving early gives you the opportunity to warm up your legs at a local ski resort before coming to heliski.
What is included?
Day packages include: Avalanche rescue orientation and helicopter briefing, skiing, a gourmet mountain lunch, and safety equipment ~ an airbag containing a shovel/probe, Mammut transceiver and guest radio.
Multi day packages include: Avalanche rescue orientation and helicopter briefing, skiing, accommodations, meals, and safety equipment ~ an airbag containing a shovel/probe, Mammut transceiver and guest radio.
What is NOT included?
Ski or board rentals, transfers, massage, retail purchases in the gift shop or in the restaurant and bar, gratuity.
Can I rent books and skis/boards in Kaslo?
We do not rent ski or snowboard boots, guests need to bring their own. If you need to rent boots, we suggest getting in touch with ROAM in Nelson BC. We have a wide selection of skis and boards available for rent.
Can I use my touring skis and boots?
Touring boots are compatible with our bindings so if you are renting skis this should be fine (salomon warden). Please do not bring skis with pin bindings ~ they are susceptible to damage in the basket from loading and unloading, and the bindings tend to ice up which creates issues with the bindings functionality.
What ability level do I need to heliski?
Heliskiing is a challenging fast paced physical activity. Guests who practice skiing in varied snow conditions and terrain will have a better experience heliskiing.
Many days in the season are epic but there are those days where It is not always possible to access perfect snow conditions. While riding with us at Stellar, you will be in and out of the heli many times, you will ski varied terrain, you may encounter snow that is tracked, crusted or heavy, it may be a low visibility day or flat light. Even if you find conditions like these less comfortable, you can still make it through them at your own pace.
If you fall down, it can be exhausting to get back on your feet. If you lose a ski or pole you could be searching for some time. It is essential that all guests be in good physical condition by training and keeping a regular fitness routine ~ strong legs, cardio and stamina are essential.
We recommend early season training to get yourself in shape for heliskiing.
How are groups arranged?
We heliski in groups of 4 with a guide. The helicopter will service up to 3 groups per day in regular programming. Groups meet up for lunch but otherwise ski independently throughout the day.
We don't have a full group of 4, are the seats left empty?
No, these seats will be sold to other guests. We highly recommend booking as a group of 4 to avoid disappointment if blending groups.
Where will we be skiing and what kind of terrain?
We have 7 different zones in 2 different mountain ranges separated by Kootenay Lake.
We have 125,000 acres of untouched terrain to choose from. Open bowls, high alpine peaks, and steep old growth forests await you. Guides will decide where we ski based on conditions and weather. You may start the day in the alpine and transition to skiing trees in the afternoon. Heliskiing is a weather dependent sport. . . Mother Nature will guide us in our backcountry terrain selections.
How long are the runs?
Our runs average 500 to 800m. This changes depending on where we are skiing and conditions. Our longest run is 1700 meters. Our top elevation is 3000m.
When is the best time to come?
Early season (early Dec to mid Jan)
Storms bring the driest and fluffiest snow of the year.
Mid season (mid Jan to mid March)
Snow conditions are reliably consistent and excellent skiing, longer days. Most popular time for ski vacations.
Late season (mid March into April)
Longer days bring lots of sunshine but also epic snowfalls.
What if we can't fly?
In a typical season we log 3 or 4 down days on average due to weather. We have excellent tree skiing close to base which allows us to get out in stormy weather. Review our cancellation and refund policy. On down days, we will try to arrange alternate activities. These can include; skiing at a local resort, hotsprings, mountain walks, curling, and/or cold plunge in the lake.
Can I bring extra gear in the heli?
You will need to carry what you bring in the pack provided. There is room for an extra down layer, gloves, goggles or and/or camera. Each guest can choose 1 pair of skis or snowboard for the day. We secure an extra pair of skis in the basket in the event they are needed.
I can't make my trip due to an emergency, can I have a refund?
We recommend that all guests purchase Trip Cancellation Insurance to protect them from unexpected situations. If you purchased this insurance contact them to start a claim and please let us know by email if you are unable to join us as soon as possible. Visit our Refund Policy for more details.
I have special dietary needs, should I bring my own lunch?
No problem, we have you covered. You will be asked in advance about any dietary restrictions. Let us know if it is a preference or allergy and how serious the allergy is. We will make a special note on your reservation.
Can I bring a drone, is there a photographer on board?
We don’t allow drones in the field while we are skiing. Seats are reserved for guests so no photographer on your heli days. Your guide will be happy to take photos/videos, just ask them. We will also set up a shared folder for guests and staff to upload photos from your trip.
Is there a shop where I can buy gear?
If you forgot something we have a small retail shop that has a supply of outerwear, base layers, socks and casual wear. We carry goggles, gloves and buffs as well. If you don’t see what you are looking for let us know and we can see if we can track it down for you.