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“Highly addictive...vacations of a lifetime” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Canadian Mountain Holidays

Canadian Mountain Holidays
217 Bear St, Banff, Banff National Park, Alberta T1L 1J6, Canada
1-800-661-0252
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Ranked #9 of 32 Attractions in Banff
Type: Ski/ Snowboard Areas, Hiking Trails
Activities: Heli-skiing
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Attraction Details
Owner description: CMH Heli-Skiing and Summer adventures provides adventure travel in both the summer and winter seasons for all levels of travelers.
Zurich, Switzerland
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
5 attraction reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
“Highly addictive...vacations of a lifetime”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 20, 2014

My first vacation with Canadian Mountain Holidays took place 4 years ago at CMHs Galena Lodge. I never anticipated I could love a mountain range as passionately as the alps but the rockies had me at my first glance.
I had no idea what to expect on a trip like this but suffice it to say that I enjoyed it so much that two weeks after my first trip I immediately returned for a second trip.
The journey usually begins with a flight into Calgary spending the night at the Calgary Delta Airport Hotel. Upon Calgary arrival one usually spends the evening laughing and sharing stories with fellow heliskiers en route to one of CMHs eleven lodges.
Early next morning the bus transfer -except Valemount where transfer is by chartered plane- brings your final destination. At some of the lodges, after getting settled, safety briefing and ski/snowboard setup you will already ski a few runs in the afternoon.
What makes this such an incredible experience? Most lodges are in a remote setting only accessible by helicopter. The rooms at the lodges are basic; as a matter of fact when I saw my room for the first time I thought the last time I had stayed at a room like this was at my last high school trip. But the rooms are functional; a bathroom tub for showers and baths, enough space for ski gear and clothes and a comfortable bed. I was soon to discover that except for sleeping one does not spend time in the room. At the lodge there are no TV, papers or radio or anything else that would pull one towards the outer world that one just left. An exception is the wifi available free of charge at all the lodges. The lodges are absolutely stunning and offer everything one needs after intense days of out of this world skiing. Hot tub, the best massages I have had, phenomenal food, great wines, beer, pool table, ...everything is geared towards social interaction and shared experiences. In my opinion this is what sets skiing apart from most other activities. I am a highly passionate skier and love to spend every moment I have on skies but I do not enjoy skiing on my own. I think skiing should be a shared activity and sharing raises the pleasure to new heights. Now imagine being in one place where you can share this passion with likeminded people. Here friendships are forged to last a lifetime. Skiing in those remote areas is a revelation. Especially for Europeans where heliskiing usually means one run and earning of the golden hiking needle for the reminder of the day in order to get back to the village. Oh and that run usually is not in virgin untracked powder. With CMH you are looking -depending on ability and group- in between 12 to 20 runs PER DAY in absolutely perfect untracked champagne powder. Pillow drops, tree skiing,...possibilities one couldn't even dream of open up. The North American style of deep powder skiing is quite different from the European approach that seems to focus on the maximal number of turns per runs. North American style is more like "deep powder carving", something that makes you feel as if you can fly. Add to this being in the midst of wilderness, being part of the natural flow of things, the snow blowing in your face that you almost can't breath...to me this is the unbearable being of lightness. All troubles just seem to fade away and it dawns on you that they are entirely self made and meaningless. I have seen grown man in helicopters with rapt expressions of pleasure on their faces they last had when they found the firetruck they desperately wanted beneath the christmas tree at age 5.
So how does a typical CMH day look like? One gets (rudely:-) if you are a novice) awakened by a bell at 7:15am; 7:30am to 8am is stretch class. Breakfast is served at 8am and the first helicopter leaves at 9am. Depending on the lodge there can be 1 up to 4 groups per helicopter. If it is more than one group per helicopter the group who gets to be group one (i.e. ski the freshest most untracked powder) is rotated every day. Weather permitting one usually stays out the entire day until 4pm. Lunch is served on the mountain. Be assured, starve you won't. Quite the contrary. Upon return to the lodge an afternoon snack awaits; this is usually enjoyed with beer or wine reminiscing about the glories of the day. Then onto a massage or hot tub. Dinner is served around 7:30 and like breakfast shared with staff and guides. Usually one goes to bed around 10pm -unless there is a party- to recover for the next day of skiing one usually only has dreams about.
Is it suited for women? I can't begin to describe how much I have gained on a personal and professional level from these experiences. The boost in self-discipline, self-confidence and how to integrate myself naturally (as nature intended and not the uneasy coexistence to prevalent in corporate life) into a male dominated group has taught me invaluable lessons I can apply within my senior role in a testosterone heavy working environment.
A word of caution...once infected with the CMH bug you will spend all your disposable income on heliskiing. I figure there are worse ways to spend it :-).
A final word to CMH Lodges.
If you are a beginner I'd recommend the Bugaboos. If you are a fit, experienced strong offpiste skier and like steeps, pillows and drops Galena. For the best treeskiing Monashees. Monashees and Galena both require the same ability; the difference is Monashees is less cliffy but offers on average longer tree runs than Galena. If you enjoy Glacier skiing Adamants or Cariboos. Ultimately every lodge offers challenging terrain for even the most seasoned experts. Where they take you will depend and snow stability and ability of the group. Each lodge has their unique vibe and depending on personality you might favour one over the other.

Visited February 2014
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36 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
Atlanta
Top Contributor
143 reviews 143 reviews
78 attraction reviews
Reviews in 41 cities Reviews in 41 cities
53 helpful votes 53 helpful votes
“Great Adventure!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 17, 2014 via mobile

We just returned from a fabulous helihiking trip at Bobby Burns Lodge. CMH is well known for heliskiing. In the summers they utilize their staff and facilities for hiking and climbing on via ferrata routes. They pick you up by helicopter transporting you to a wilderness lodge. We hiked a spectacular wildflower basin to a ridge with 360° views of granite spires and glaciers. The next two days were for adventure routes on a via ferrata both up Mt Nimbus and alongside the Conrad Glacier. Google this to see videos. Such fun. Exhilarating but very secure.

Guides were knowledgable and super friendly. Other guests like minded adventure travelers. Food plentiful and delicious. Wonderful holiday.

Visited August 2014
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Toronto, Canada
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
5 attraction reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
44 helpful votes 44 helpful votes
“high flying family adventure”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 15, 2014

we just came back from a 6 day trip to the bobby burns lodge. the first 3 days we went it was a family kids group, and the last 3 days was just the normal group. we signed up for the high flying adventure because we all wanted to do the via ferrata mt nimbus climb and the conrad adventure climb. both were excellent climbs and were doable with many age groups but still making the climb challenging and exciting. the last 3 days we did hikes on both the ridges/peaks and the valleys. the guides at this hotel are all excellent. i couldn't believe the retention this lodge has with its guides in which many of them have been working over 20 years. they really take care of you and safety is number one for them. the staff all interact with the guest during dinner because they are in charge of serving you family style, and sit with you during the dinner. there are 4 large tables each seating about 10 people with 2 guides at each table. the food was excellent every day, almost gourmet meals during dinner. morning breakfast there was a huge selection. they also have sandwiches, fruit, veggies, chocolate bars, trail mix for you to pack on your hike for lunch and after your hike there is a huge snack almost enough for dinner! our typical day would be wake up at 7:15, go to stretch class in the morning at 7:30-8am. then have breakfast till about 8:45 and pack our lunches. 9am is the first helicopter out and we would hike till about 5pm. come back for a snack, then jump into the cold pond and then directly go to the hot tub to relax. 7pm we would have dinner, and after dinner play games in the lounge. sleep at about 11pm and do it again!!
the good thing about this company is they group everyone on the first day depending on their ability and what they want to do. if you want to take it easy, they have easier hikes! and you can even do half day hiking and then go back to the lodge to relax! the guides and the cooks are so flexible and will try to make your stay the best they can.
if you have kids, definitely go on one of their kids weeks and they actually hire 2 extra staff that are excellent with the kids.
highly recommend to go here. what also impressed me was that most people that we met at the lodge were all repeat guests! i don't usually go back to the same place but looking into their other lodge maybe in the future!

Visited August 2014
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Suffield, CT
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“wonderful trip!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 6, 2014

We have been back in New England for a few days and I can't help but pine away for our time in the Mountains with CMH. If you are up for an adventure in the most beautiful setting, with fantastic staff and delicious meals, look no further. The feeling we got on the trip has permeated my being. I keep wondering what our friends(staff and guests) are doing back at the lodge, I wonder how the light looks on those dramatic peaks,I wonder what incredible creation is being plated up right now, and, more importantly, how we can get ourselves back there for another trip!!!
The lodge was clean and comfortable and surely felt like our home away from home. We sat by the crackling fire in the morning, dipped in the pond in the afternoon, and watched the sun go down on the deck without a care in the world.
The hikes and high flying adventures were a blast and the guides were so knowledgeable and very tuned in. I could have never done those climbs without their expertise. I am so glad that I did them. The mountain vistas, alpine lakes, craggy cliffs, meadows of wildflowers and the mammoth glacier had us on sensory overload each day. .And, to be transported via helicopter is pretty addicting
We loved sharing our meals with the staff and the atmosphere is very family-like. The folks at CMH pay great attention to detail and we could not have been happier. This place is a gem!

Visited July 2014
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Santa Rosa, California
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“One of the most exciting hiking trips I've ever taken!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 23, 2014

We stayed at the Bobbie Burns Lodge for three days of heli-hiking and Via Ferrata hiking. Pristine wilderness with the added advantage of being dropped off by helicopter for the most wonderful hikes. The Via Ferrata rock climbing experience was challenging but totally safe and allowed fit but inexperienced people to safely participate in this thrilling sport. The lodge was comfortable (even has wifi!) and the food is fantastic. I can't say enough good things about CMH.

Visited July 2014
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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