Our reservations consultant Nikki shares her amazing holiday and heli-skiing experience in Panorama, BC, Canada…
Our journey started with our flight from Heathrow to Calgary on Air Canada which took around 9 hours. The on-board service was great and everything ran like clockwork. On arrival at Calgary, we quickly located our bags and cleared customs.
We took a transfer from Calgary to Panorama which took around 4 hours including a short stop off in Banff. The driver was happy to let us stop at the grocery store in Banff, which was a good idea because the general store in Panorama is smaller. They still have everything you need for your stay in Panorama, just a little less choice and it was good to arrive at our condo with some basic supplies.
We stayed at the Ski Tip Lodge, which is one of the Gold Studios. The building is right on the slopes and literally a couple of steps from the lift. Panorama has been brilliantly thought out and everything is super-convenient with everywhere no more than a very short walk from the lifts. The condo units at the Ski Tip are very spacious with a balcony and gas log effect fires. They’re very cosy and all come with a full kitchen including an oven.
Visitors also have the choice of a premium condo with the only real difference being the amenities on site. For example, the Panorama Springs building is attached to the hot pools, but this is accessible to any Panorama resident with your room key. The hot pools are an iconic Panorama feature – relax in the warm water and watch people skiing down the adjacent slopes.
Panorama is a compact resort but there’s still lots to do and see. There’s a typically Canadian après ski venue called the T Bar & Grill which is always busy, showing hockey and serving beers and burgers at a very reasonable price. There’s also a new restaurant called the Monticola which is more up market Italian and there are a couple of cafes that do breakfast that are only open during the day. So definitely not a crazy après scene, but more than enough for a few beers and some food after a long day on the mountain.
And what’s the mountain like? We loved it and it has terrain for every level of skier. From the challenging blacks up at the summit to some very good long pisted runs perfect for hero status carving. For our first two days we stayed on-piste, but then (hallelujah) we had a 40cm dump and everything changed. Some of the runs aren’t groomed in Panorama, which means a storm and dump leaves a LOT of fresh snow on piste as well as in the trees. There’s also Taynton Bowl which is excellent at holding fresh snow for some amazing off-piste powder skiing and riding. There are also some very good beginner slopes and they have a new chair lift this season called the Discovery chair which services the beginner area and makes this area larger and much more easily accessible.
And the best thing about our trip? We got to go heli-skiing. We’d booked with RK heli-ski and what a great company they turned out to be. Their guides are very knowledgeable and know the area inside out. The terrain within their tenure is MASSIVE and at the highest altitude for heli-skiing in Canada. They cater for beginners up to experts and can tailor the experience to the clients as they have such a huge area. There were about 10 people in our group plus 2 guides, but they have 3 helicopters and can cater for more than this. They provide a hot breakfast and lunch in the field as well as a good standard of après food.
We reluctantly came home at the end of our trip happy and determined to go back again. Panorama offered us a little bit of everything topped off by an unforgettable heli-ski experience. I’d highly recommend a similar itinerary to my clients.
If you’d like to know more please email me at [email protected] or call on 0131 243 8097