*THE "BACK-TO-THE-FUTURE" TOUR*
Why mess around with perfection, you might ask. When you can improve upon it, that's when! So we have again tweaked and improved our 2016 trip, offering you more options, more fun, and - thanks to the very favourable Canadian exchange rate, THE LOWEST TRIP COST (in U.S. dollars) SINCE 2005!!! And, this year, nearly EVERYTHING you need for the week is included in that low, low base price including AN ADDITIONAL 5th DAY of snowcat skiing. Yep, your catskiing, lodging, resort ticket, food costs, catering, and of course, all that great powder skiing -are ALL INCLUDED in this year's price! The only thing you need to do is get yourself up to Valemount. So, why not join in the fun when we head west on March 12-20, 2016, where we will celebrate thirteen incredible, fun-filled years in British Columbia's best backcountry with a week of crazy and amazing powder sking with the "little group of skiers that could".
I know we are about a month later than normal posting the trip details this year, but there is a reason for that. It took two solid months of planning, it wasn't until yesterday that this year's trip was locked in. I am very pleased to announce, that after all that begging, phone tag, and some help from above, we have once again assembled a magnificent snowcat and heliskiing week for less than the price of a typical four-day snowcat trip! These trips are without a doubt one of the ultimate HELI/CAT SAFARI experiences and it should be on every powder skier's bucket list. At a time when the going rate for lodge-based, all-inclusive catskiing usually ranges between $550.00 to $800.00 per day, and a week of heliskiing can easily set you back as more than a whopping $10,000.00, I can state with absolute confidence that our fifteen (15) lucky guests will experience the best package for their hard-earned dollar in the entire industry. We continue to offer way more fun - at way less cost - than ANYONE else. We offer so much more value for your dollar, it's crazy. How can we continue to do this? It's not magic and it's certainly not cutting corners. It's just a lot of smart, hard negotiation. It also helps that we are not a professional, profit-driven tour company. Instead, we are a great group of black diamond, diehard skiers and riders, male and female, that have been attending these group trips to British Columbia for more than a decade. Our big group offers an attractive, full-capacity option to the operators, especially since we "ski hard and ski smart", the operators (and the guides) like our return business.
So, I extend a huge welcome to everyone to come join our group for an action-packed nine days and eight nights in beautiful Valemount, British Columbia. On five of those days, we'll plunder the powder at our favourite catskiing resort in all of B.C., CARIBOO SNOWCAT SKIING. And that's not all; because as an extra-special treat this year, you'll have a final-day option to plunder the vast, untracked steeps at one of our our favourite heliskiing partners, the legendary MIKE WIEGELE HELICOPTER SKIING! Yes -I pulled out every stop to ensure we will be the ONLY group of heliskiers granted single-day access this season to this usually all-inclusive, heliskiing paradise located a short 45 minute drive south of our Valemount base. Alternatively, guests can opt to participate on the final day in the sweetest, cat-assisted, fully guided backcountry ski-touring on the planet. After you read what this year's trip offers, you'll see why you should make it YOUR trip of a lifetime. However, for a start, check out these photos from actual past EPIC ADVENTURES!
Come join in the fun as we lap powder runs all week long in the gorgeous Cariboo and Monashee Ranges of eastern British Columbia in a carefully planned itinerary which DOES NOT INVOLVE ROAD-TRIPPING. On Saturday, March 12, 2016, as we arrive and settle in to our luxurious accommodations for the next eight nights in beautiful Valemount, British Columbia, you can't help but notice that the mighty white peaks towering over the quaint and unspoiled town regularly receive some of the heaviest daily dumps and snowiest winters in the entire central mountain region of B.C. Relax and enjoy the fully catered, decadent array of gourmet meals served up the entire week. And what about that itinerary? After a warm-up day skiing at Marmot Basin Resort in Jasper National Park, we ride the snowcat for FIVE of the next SIX days. Catskiing can occur any day between Sunday and Friday to coincide with the best powder conditions, because we have the whole mountain ALL TO OURSELVES. Cariboo Snowcat Skiing offers a GUARANTEED HUGE INCREASE in challenging, new skiable terrain for 2016. There is even an option to catski for the entire six days - assuming mother nature cooperates - for a modest surcharge. Then, as a spectacular finish to our week, 10 lucky guests will welcome the arrival of spring by traveling down the highway on Saturday, March 19th, 2016 to nearby Blue River, where they will spend the day ripping up the powder with Mike Wiegele Helicopter Skiing and, later on, enjoying a gourmet spread of fine dining in their main dining chalet. And, lest you be worried about El Nino, record snow is pounding hard already this season, and your snowcat and heli charges are fully refundable on any day we are unable to ski because of conditions. No 2017 rain checks required! Try finding that offered anywhere else!
I will offer one caution, however. While we are not all skiing rock stars, if you are not a reasonably competent and confident powder skier, stop reading now. This trip is not for you. This trip is about lots and lots of powder skiing and riding, not resort chilling and shopping. On the other hand, if you are interested in participating in what will be the best ski trip of your life, read on for the details!
AIR TRANSPORTATION, RENTAL CAR TRANSFERS AND THE INTERNATIONAL BORDER:
This package does not include air transportation and shuttle transfers to and from Valemount because there will likely be a multitude of arrival and departure arrangements and travel dates among the group members. As usual, I will assist in coordinating rental car transportation based on the group's travel dynamics. This will require some further coordination (with my assistance, of course) once everyone's arrival date and airport is dialled in. As usual, my goal is to place about four persons per vehicle to minimize expenses. Please note that renting a 4WD VEHICLE IS VERY STRONGLY RECOMMENDED, as the access roads to the ski areas as well as the provincial highways in March can be extremely challenging to navigate. After your airport flight arrival and transfer in from either Calgary (5.5 hours) , Edmonton (5.0 hours), Kamloops (3.0 hours) or Kelowna (4.5 hours) (these are all major AirCanada and WestJet hubs) we head to Valemount. Please note that scheduling, vehicle/cost sharing and your drive times will be long and difficult through anything other than these airports. Also, be aware that while arrival times are fairly flexible, you should not plan on tackling the Icefields Parkway after dark if flying in and out of Calgary. As well, PLEASE ENSURE THAT YOUR FLIGHTS ARE NOT SCHEDULED TO ARRIVE LATER THAN APPROXIMATELY 2:00 P.M ON SATURDAY, MARCH 12th, 2016, OR DEPART PRIOR TO APPROXIMATELY 2:00 P.M. ON SUNDAY MARCH 20th, 2016. Ignoring this advice will most likely incur the wrath of your rental car co-passengers, or alternatively, find you paying for your own rental vehicle. Please book your airfare and let me know your air itinerary as soon as possible so this can all be set up well in advance. We will set up a communal google-docs spreadsheet online to assist in this regard. Some attendees often fly in a day or two early to ski in the Banff/Kicking Horse area before heading up. That option is feasible for those travelling in and out of Calgary airport, as Lake Louise and Sunshine Village are directly on the way to Valemount. Accordingly, I will require that you forward your likely airport and arrival/departure times as soon as possible. Remember, the only documentation accepted by the Canada Border Services and the United States INS is an official passport to ENTER OR RE-ENTER either country by air or by land. Please ensure that all passport documentation is in place in advance of the trip dates. As well, please be aware of the requirement that all US airline tickets must bear a name that is *exactly* as set out in your passport!
When I say we have POSH accommodations booked for 2016, I'm not joking! This year, we are again very pleased to announce that our lodging partner will be Whisper Creek Cabins of Valemount. Once again we have reserved not one, but TWO adjacent, fully-private, luxury chalets, known affectionately as "the Cranberry" and "the Raven". Both of these large units are less than five years old and fully outfitted with all the luxury touches that a group of ski-bums could ever desire! The lodges offer large great rooms, full cooking facilities (for our chef, of course), and free satellite and wi-fi. Our gracious hosts, Diane and Shawn Fowler, are again excited to have us back. Together, these clean, spacious and modern lodges are perfectly tailored for a group of 15 skiers, offering us a huge amount of room to stretch out our legs and to dry gear. There are multitude of sleeping configurations spread over three levels, including large lofts. No dorms, bunks and waiting for bathrooms at these lodges! Please note that we will be assigning room preferences based on a complicated priority system, using a mix of "attendance seniority", spousal requirements, and "first to pay" bases, with your group leader (me) having final say in any case of dispute. I think is the fairest way to do it, and trust me, no one will feel short-changed. The Whisper Creek website is here:
As I indicated, this is a nine-day/eight night package providing up to seven days of powder skiing or snowboarding, tailored to your interests and advanced ability level. Your week will begin with a warm-up day at Marmot Basin Resort in Jasper, Alberta. Attendees will then enjoy to five (5) out of six (6) of the following days (Monday through Friday, wit the Marmot Sunday also being an option) of snowcat skiing at Cariboo Snowcat Skiing in Valemount. And, weather permitting, we are pleased to offer an optional 6th day of Catskiing for a very modest tax-inclusive surcharge of $300.00 per person (based on not less than 15 people signing on to fill the Cat). If we have less than 15 signups, the surcharge will vary accordingly.
OPTIONAL ADD-ONS FOR SATURDAY, MARCH 21st (NEW THIS YEAR):
Guests now have the option of choosing their mode of skiing on the final Saturday, March 20th, 2016. The first ten (10) guests to sign on can opt to enjoy five hours of heliskiing at Mike Wiegele Helicopter Skiing. Mike Wiegele Helicopter Skiing boasts nearly 1,000.000 acres of untracked runs spread across two mountain ranges. After a training walk-through beginning at 6:30 a.m., guests depart by not later than 8:30 a.m., for five hours and 25,000 to 30,000 vertical feet of untracked cold smoke. We will be utilizing their large Bell 205s helicopters,and a two-shift turnaround. Wiegele's advises that we will ski as much vertical on this single day than we ski during two typical Cat skiing days. The day concludes with the chopper whisking you back to base to a waiting spread of gourmet grub (which will not interfere with ski time). It's enough to make to make you think you are part of the 1%!
Guests on a budget (or simply needing to work off the week's gluttony) will want to check out the very-best in British Columbia guided backcountry touring which may be cat assisted on request. Our itinerary that day is highly flexible. Perhaps we will get a first hand look at the newest Cariboo expansion terrain on the south end of Mica Mountain. Or, maybe we will be the first guided group to experience the spectacular terrain at Valemount Glacier Resort, a full two seasons before it is set to open to the public. Guests electing this option will be required to be equipped with telemark or alpine touring gear, which may be rented in Jasper at a very modest cost. Just so you know, many guests participated in our touring day last year, with the consensus being absolute rhapsody enjoying the serenity and grandeur of the Cariboos. I guarantee, the views are simply mind-blowing, and the low altitude is easy on the lungs.
Here is a more detailed look at our nine-day itinerary:
Saturday March 12, 2016:
Latest recommended travel/arrival day at Whispering Pines in Valemount. Our chef will have a nice spread of finger food (and much more) awaiting our arrival.
Sunday March 13, 2016:
Sunday starts early. An hour drive brings us to Jasper National Park and Marmot Basin Resort, where we grab a quick lift to ski over 3000 vertical feet of its high alpine terrain. We'll rip some wicked steeps, powder, trees and high bowls on over 3,000 acres of newly expanded terrain. Expect to have rubber-legs after yo-yoing off the new high-speed summit quad by shutdown. Check out the official Marmot Basin website here:
Monday March 14, 2016 through Friday March 18, 2016:
First thing Monday morning, Terry Cinnamon, proud owner of "Cariboo Snowcat Skiing" since 1996, welcomes us back for a sixth year. Like usual, it will be tough to top the last five years of deep powder and epic views, but Terry says he'll try his best! Enjoy the on-hill pizza oven (a very nice perq!). Cariboo Snowcat Skiing operates on more than 13,000 acres of tenure on the upper slopes of Mica Mountain, just northeast of Valemount and in the shadow of Mount Robson, the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies. Once again, he has reserved his modern, newly renovated snowcat and his best terrain for our lucky group for four (4) solid days of untracked skiing, with an optional fifth day at the ready. The reason we have booked four of five days is to build in some flexibility for the occasional down weather day and to maximize our untracked powder - a feature that very few operations will offer their guests. Cariboo's tenure contains steep, varied and interesting topography (both north and south facing), with some runs topping out at 8,500 feet in elevation. That's high for this part of the world, meaning excellent powder preservation. For those of you who travelled out with us last year, be prepared for a real surprise. After many years of work and a lot of promises, new gladed acreage and a newly completed snowcat road have finally opened a new steep, north-facing drainage and has expanded the already considerable terrain by a whopping one-third, in the process creating more monster 3,000+ vertical steeps big enough to service many consecutive days without overlapping tracks. Here's the link:
Saturday March 19, 2016:
Option 1: The Mike Wiegele website is here:
Option 2: Here's just a small sample of the guided touring terrain available:
Sunday March 20, 2016:
Sunday finds us arising for a final breakfast and the drive back to our departure airport, taking those fantastic life-long memories with us!
THE BASE PACKAGE:
Cost in Canadian Funds for this amazing 2016 package is CAN$2,275.00 + 5% GST (WOW - This is only approximately US$1,665.00 at the current Canada-US exchange rate on December 10th, 2016!)
The base package INCLUDES ALL of the following:
* eight (8) night's accommodations at Whisper Creek Cabins, Valemount, British Columbia,
* on-site chef with fully catered meal plan and daily on-hill lunches
* five (5) of six (6) days of catskiing at Cariboo Snowcat Skiing, Valemount, British Columbia,
* your food costs for the week (please note that menu will be approved in advance)
* day ticket for Marmot Basin
The base package DOES NOT include:
* airfare and the pro-rata cost of your rental car
* optional cost for a 6th day of catskiing (CAN$300.00 surcharge including taxes, based on a minimum of 15 signups)
* your "beverage" requirements for the week
* gratuities for chef and ski guides, due on final day of applicable service in Canadian or US cash only
* any charges for returned cheques, US Fund exchange fees, as well as paypal/wire transfer service fees (please speak to me in advance of making any Paypal transfer to avoid this fee being applied to your paypal payment)
* optional heliskiing injury/evac insurance (available if purchased in advance - please speak to me directly if you wish more information on this option)
* 5% federal GST
Option #1: Mike Wiegele Helicopter Skiing
Note there is a maximum of ten (10) guests (priority will be on a first to sign and pay basis, so be sure to act quickly): CAN$970.00 pp (approximately US$710.00 pp at the December 10th, 2016 exchange rate)
Option #2: Guided backcountry ski touring
This is an amazing deal! The cost is variable and will depend on group size, terrain, and level of snowcat assistance: CAN$75.00-$100.00 pp (approximately US$55.00-$75.00 pp at the December 10th, 2016 exchange rate)
YOU MIGHT THINK I AM GOING TO CONCLUDE BY ASKING YOU THIS QUESTION: "WHERE ELSE CAN YOU BOOK A LUXURIOUS ALL-INCLUSIVE *SNOWCAT/HELI SKI WEEK* FOR US$2,375.00?"
BUT I'M NOT GOING TO ASK YOU THAT QUESTION - I'M GOING TO YOU ASK THIS QUESTION: "WHERE ELSE CAN YOU BOOK A LUXURIOUS ALL-INCLUSIVE *REGULAR SKI RESORT WEEK* FOR US $2,375.00?"
What you must bring:
Passport, good layered & waterproof ski outerwear, small ski backpack containing avalanche probe and shovel (we REQUIRE that all guests bring this gear for safety reasons, although it is becoming more common to have guest packs provided by the operations), cash for optional cat day & gratuities, a great attitude, avalanche transceiver* (*for optional touring day only)
What we highly recommend that you bring:
Phat skis or a powder-specific snowboard, camelback, ski helmet, good vented goggles, digital camera
What you will not be required to bring:
Avalanche transceiver (both operations use only their own beacons), superphat powder skis (there are rentals available at a modest per diem cost), illegal substances
PAYMENT TERMS AND DATES:
To secure this incredible deal, I had to front MAJOR deposit advances upon confirmation. Accordingly, this year's payment terms are as follows:
Step 1: To secure your spot, your non-refundable deposit of CAN$1,000.00 is due upon sign-up, payable by Paypal (MUCH preferred, and made payable to [log in to unmask] , money order, bank draft or approved cheque (in Canadian funds only!) made payable to "J. Leigh Daboll". Note that if you are paying in US funds or by Paypal, a 3.0 % service charge must be added to all payments unless you know the secret Paypal service code. Speak to me about this before wiring funds via Paypal.
Step 2: To retain your spot, your non-refundable balance of CAN$1,275.00 + 5% GST on the complete base package (meaning, a total payment of CAN$1,388.75), must be received by me by not later than FRIDAY, JANUARY 15, 2016 on the same terms and conditions as above.
Optional Step 3: To secure your spot at Mike Wiegele Helicopter Skiing, your additional non-refundable deposit of CAN$500.00 is also due upon sign-up on the same terms and conditions as in Step 1 above. To retain your spot at Mike Wiegele Helicopter Skiing, your additional non-refundable deposit of CAN$470.00 + 5% GST on the complete optional package (meaning, a total optional payment of CAN$518.50, and also meaning your all-inclusive final payment will be $1,388.75 + $518.50 = CAN$1,907.25) must be received by me by not later than FRIDAY, JANUARY 15, 2016 on the same terms and conditions as above.
Sorry - there is no deviation permitted from the above. Any default or late payment means forfeiture of your reserved spot! It was impossible to make this deal work with other than a full 15-person Cat, and there IS ALREADY a waiting list for the 2016 season. Unfortunately, it is not possible to expand our group size beyond 15 persons because of snowcat capacity - so we are restricted to the first 15 paid attendees, .
NEW - SKIING WITH TEENS UNDER 19:
Due to a number of requests, I am also pleased to confirm that both operations permit teens under 19 to ski with a parent or legal children, provided that they "ski maturely and will obey the Guides".
OTHER LEGAL STUFF:
GROUP LEADER (ME) RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MAKE LAST MINUTE ADJUSTMENTS TO ITINERARY AND TO PRICE ON ACCOUNT OF WEATHER CONDITIONS, THE USUAL FORCE MAJEURE FACTORS, AND FINAL GROUP SIZE. WHILE THIS PACKAGE HAS BEEN PRICED BASED ON 15 ATTENDEES, YOUR GROUP LEADER HAS EXPENDED CONSIDERABLE EFFORTS IN ENSURING A SUB-OPTIMAL GROUP SIZE OF LESS THAN 15 ATTENDEES WILL EXPERIENCE ONLY AN INCREMENTAL COST INCREASE. IF WE DO NOT REACH AN ATTENDANCE LEVEL OF 15 ATTENDEES BY THE FINAL PAYMENT DATE OF JANUARY 15, 2015, GROUP LEADER HAS THE RIGHT , IF NECESSARY, TO ADJUST PRO-RATA PRICING BY UP TO 10% OF PACKAGE PRICE. ALL ATTENDEES WILL BE ADVISED OF THEIR OPTIONS PRIOR TO ANY INCREASE IN PRICE ON ACCOUNT OF THE EXPECTED WAITING LIST.WE MUST ENFORCE A 'NO REFUND POLICY.' ACCORDINGLY, WE STRONGLY RECOMMEND PURCHASING TRIP CANCELLATION INSURANCE . IF YOU FIND YOU ARE UNABLE TO ATTEND, YOU MUST ADVISE ME IMMEDIATELY. IF WE HAVE A WAITING LIST, I WILL ENDEAVOUR TO RE-SELL YOUR RESERVED SPACE. ALL FUNDS ARE OTHERWISE NON-REFUNDABLE. ALL GUESTS MUST SIGN A STANDARD "WAIVER OF LIABILITY" UPON THEIR ARRIVAL AT THE CAT SKIING AND HELI SKIING OPERATIONS AS WELL AS FOR THE GROUP LEADER ON LODGE ARRIVAL. NO EXCEPTIONS. GROUP LEADER ASSUMES NO LIABILITY FOR ACCIDENTS OR LOSS. ALL DEPOSITS MUST BE RECEIVED IN MY OFFICE BY NO LATER THAN THE ABOVE DUE DATES. I ALSO REQUIRE THAT ALL ATTENDEES SUBMIT, WITH THEIR DEPOSITS, AN INFORMATION PACKAGE, INCLUDING FULL NAME, MAILING ADDRESS, TELEPHONE NUMBER(S), AND EMAIL ADDRESS.
PLEASE SEND ALL INFORMATION TO MY SECURE EMAIL AT [log in to unmask] OR CALL 905-892-0569 AND PROVIDE ME WITH THE INFORMATION DIRECTLY. MY MAILING ADDRESS FOR PAYMENT IS: J. LEIGH DABOLL, 1991 HANSLER STREET, R.R. 1, RIDGEVILLE, ONTARIO, L0S 1MO.
I hope to see you all back in 2016!
J. LEIGH DABOLL
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