Twenty of the world's top athletes and explorers share their wildest dream trips—a dazzling list of never attempted feats daunting to even these world-class competitors. For the rest of us, consider their must-do adventures—and start planning. —Kate Siber
Photograph by Roger Laurilla
Helicopters make the most sophisticated ski lifts look like Stone Age tools. In mere moments, skiers are transported from cozy alpine lodges up into wild untracked terrain straight out of a ski magazine. (Of course, it comes at a humdinger of a price.)
For Gretchen Bleiler, her first experience heli-skiing at Galena Lodge, a remote outpost in the Selkirks of British Columbia, Canada, run by Canadian Mountain Holidays, was instant bliss. “Amazing terrain, amazing snow, and totally experienced, safe and fun guides and staff,” says Bleiler. “And the food is delicious—need I say more?”
Galena is known for its deep powder and challenging lines, from ridges to steep, perfectly spaced glades. (Some of CMH’s other heli-ski lodges cater to beginners.) For many guests, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime splurge with indelible memories virtually guaranteed. Come evening, skiers coddle sore muscles with the help of a hot tub, sauna, massage therapist, and ample doses of wine and beer. A piece of advice from Bleiler: “Watch out for the shot ski.”
A seven-day trip with Canadian Mountain Holidays to Galena Lodge, including accommodations, meals, guides, 100,000 vertical feet of skiing, and transportation from Calgary costs $10,770 in January and February. Early season and late season rates are lower.
Next: See Gretchen Bleiler's Dream Trip: Snowboard the Himalaya
Snowboarder Gretchen Bleiler has stood on countless podiums, including at the X Games, the World Cup and the Torino Olympics, where she won silver in 2006.