Stories & Articles


One of the The 25 Greatest Adventures in the World:
British Columbia - Bagging Rights in the Selkirks

Plenty of heli-skiing companies operate in the Canadian West, but only one outfit has a guide who sets the standard for backcountry ski mountaineering. Ruedi Beglinger, the 45-year-old Swiss owner of Selkirk Mountain Experience (SME), has made his reputation by pushing guests as hard as he pushes himself. Beglinger makes no bones about it: If you want to get maximum bang for you SME buck, show up in shape and he'll help you bag as many as 15 summits and more than 40,000 vertical feet in a week. It's all earned the old-fashioned way: no lifts, no choppers - just climbs using skins on telemark or alpine touring skis for downhillers, or split boards for snowboarders. A second SME guide leads the less driven sliders who want to pause every now and then to admire the surrounding glacier-chiseled Selkirks.

Helicopters take guests, who should be at least strong intermediates, from Revelstoke, B.C., 30 miles northeast to a Swiss-style chalet sheltered in a forested knoll near the tree line at 6,360 feet. Up to 20 guests bunk in ten pine-paneled bedrooms with shared bathrooms and running water. Other backcountry comforts include a sauna, a sundeck, a lounge with a million-dollar views in all directions, and continental cuisine. Beglinger's 31-square-mile wilderness backyard consists of 24-glacier-draped peaks that provide runs of several thousand vertical feet. Outings usually last seven to ten hours, and take in two peaks. When bad weather rules out summit ascents, you can still get in you runs in three forested bowls.

National Geographic Adventure Magazine - February 2001