There’s regular stand up paddleboarding – and then there’s stand up paddleboarding in vibrant turquoise, glacier-fed lakes in soaring mountain ranges.
There’s just no contest.
With sweeping alpine vistas in all directions, as well as crisp mountain air and fields of fluffy white snow, the highly sought-after experience is on many bucket-lists.
Of course, reaching these stunning locales isn’t always easy; some of the best spots are extremely remote. And while isolation may lead to their appeal, it means that the only way to access them is by air.
49 North Helicopters, a Canadian helicopter company based in Campbell River on Vancouver Island, offers chartered flights to some of the most spectacular and pristine places in British Columbia. From there, guests may try their hand at various heli-adventures, such as heli-stand up paddleboarding or heli-skiing, or simply enjoy enjoy the awe-inspiring scenery.
Vancouver Is Awesome spoke to Bastian Fleury, Marketing Manager, 49 North Helicopters, about how the company got started, as well as what guests have to look forward to on their next alpine adventure.
“The company started in 2007 offering helicopter flight training. Nowadays, we still offer flight training, but we also do a great deal of other things,” he explains.
“We do various heli-adventures, but we also help the Government of British Columbia in fire suppression. We also offer heli-skiing, longline and external load operations, sightseeing and photo flights.”
Fleury notes that since the packages are high-end experiences, they work closely with clients to ensure that they meet their expectations. He notes that they fly through the Coast Mountains range, and sometimes visit unexplored places. As such, they offer a truly one-of-a-kind journey for thrill seekers.
The packages often run all day, and groups vary in size from two to 20 guests. With that being said, the company also offers shorter sightseeing tours. For example, the 20-minute Discovery Tour flies guests along the Strait Of Georgia, through the Discovery Passage and around Quadra Island with a good view of the Surge Narrows. Guests may also add in a picturesque stop to take pictures, or one to enjoy a gourmet lunch. They also bring drones to capture breathtaking angles of guests.
When asked if beginners can venture into the mountains for this type of experience, Fleury remarks that people don’t need a great deal of skill.
“Stand up paddleboarding on the glacier is not difficult,” he says. “Ocean waves make the sport more difficult, but these lakes and streams are not like that at all.”
With that in mind, Fleury adds that guests are equipped with dry suits, so if someone falls in, they are protected.
“The SUP tours are available in the spring, summer, and fall, but these areas freeze in the winter.”
This September, the ariel exploration company will depart on a three-day tour exploring the West Coast of Vancouver Island. Guests will voyage through the Strathcona area as well as Discovery Passage, Desolation Sound and some of the oldest Glaciers in the area.
49 North Helicopters Tours
Find out more information here.