Active + Adventure

The Checklist: Ultimate Adventures

by Sarah Tuff


The trip: A whir of the chopper blades, a helicopter's shadow forming and fading as it lifts and banks away, and then—nothing. Just the remote silence of the Bugaboo Mountains, with sawtooth peaks, glacial lakes, and wildflower fields that would otherwise be next to impossible to reach. Unless, of course, you've arranged a heli-hiking trip, one of the best (and only) ways to see these particular far-flung splendors of the Canadian Rockies. It's just one part of a six-day trip arranged by the outfitter Backroads. The other half is spent biking through Banff National Park, with only the pine-scented air between you and the twisting rivers and yawning canyons. A Bell helicopter transports guests between the Bugaboos and Banff, Lake Louise, and Yoho National Park, where you'll see the peaks, lakes, and waterfalls from a bike saddle. And if the high-class helicopter service doesn't bring out the trust funder in you, the cuisine and accommodations will. Think mountain lodges with exposed beams, stone bars, and saunas, along with blueberry port-glazed buffalo tenderloin.

Why go? You want your mind to be blown away by scenery but your body to remain intact.

What to pack: The kitchen sink. Since the helicopter carries the gear you'll need up in the mountains, you can stuff your backpack with almost anything you'd like (provided you don't weigh down the chopper, of course).

Difficulty: 4 out of 10. Guests can hike up to 14 miles in one day and bike up to 42 miles the next. But those who are lagging behind can choose shorter routes or ride in the sag wagon.

Your guides: The California-based Backroads, which has been around since 1979. For this multisport-palooza, Backroads partners with heli-skiing and heli-hiking experts Canadian Mountain Holidays for dream-team service.

Tel: 510 527 1444
Helicopter service, bike rental, five nights in hotels, and all meals, $3,898 per person

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.



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