Heli Dropping Mt. Cartier in Revelstoke, BC

Jul 16, 2015
by Devin Knopf  
 
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Any day that includes a 7000ft. (straight) descent on a mountain bike is going to be a good one. Throw in a rad group of guys and a helicopter ride to get you to the top and it’s going to be all-time.

Visible from pretty much anywhere in town, Mt. Cartier looms in the distance enticing adventurers to come explore, and since moving to Revelstoke last fall the mountain had been beckoning me. So, when Revelstoke Mountain Resort and Selkirk Tangiers Heli Skiing announced they would be offering guided heli tours to the Cartier trail starting this summer, I knew I needed to be on the first flight and I knew who I needed to invite. Lachlan Sillitoe is an Australian living in Kamloops, he loves riding in Revelstoke and since he had never been in a helicopter before, I knew he’d be stoked.

Photo by Ian Houghton
  Devin leading Lachlan on the face.

The trail up Mt. Cartier was originally built around 1920 to access a forestry lookout at the top of the mountain. Since those days, Cartier has evolved into a trail that has attracted many hikers, and in recent years dedicated mountain bikers willing to spend eight hours pushing their bikes up the gruelling incline for the downhill reward. I would have eventually sucked it up and gone the hike-a-bike route, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was stoked when the heli-option presented itself…

Photos by Ian Houghton
The best way to start a day that will be dropping 7000 feet over an 18km trail is with a lot of bacon and lucky for us Revelstoke Mountain Resort's Revelation Lodge was happy to oblige. We joined the rest of our crew for a breakfast buffet and some great views to get us fuelled and amped for the day, before meeting our guides and pilot at the base of the gondola.

Photos by Ian Houghton
With all of our waivers signed, gear loaded and the safety briefing out of the way, we were ready to go.

Photo by Ian Houghton

No one in our crew had been on a heli mountain bike tour before and Lachlan was going up in a heli for the first time, so the collective stoke levels were high. Minds were unanimously blown as our heli took flight across the valley, before reaching our final landing point exposing the amazing views of the surrounding mountain ranges. With the clear view of what seemed like mountains all the way to the East and West borders of B.C. it was clear why this spot was chosen as a fire lookout.

Photo by Ian Houghton
  We quickly scrambled to the summit to get the best views possible (and add a few 100 more ft. to our final descent!) and check out the still standing fire lookout. I'm very scared of heights but the small hike was just fine for me. Revelstoke is right in between the Selkirk and Monashee mountain ranges and from that vantage point you can take in all its beauty.

Photo by Ian Houghton
Photo by Ian Houghton
Photo by Ian Houghton
  Once geared back up again we headed down the trail. Since the trail was initially built as a hiking trail, you definitely need to be an advanced mountain biker to enjoy its full potential, but if you have the skills to navigate it you are rewarded by breathtaking views and high alpine single track.

Photos by Ian Houghton
Trying to stay on the trail is not easy, but that's just because you are constantly stopping to check out the ever changing view.

Photo by Ian Houghton
Photo by Ian Houghton
Photo by Ian Houghton
Photo by Ian Houghton
Photo by Ian Houghton
  Further down the trail, the alpine single track gives way to an amazing ridge line, with Cartier peak bearing down on you and Revelstoke Mountain Resort as the foreground. Our mate Lachlan did some freeriding and found a really cool steep drop in, pretty safe to say that no one had ever done it before!

Photos by Ian Houghton
The single track was amazing! Considering the long life of this trail and the hiking history, I wasn't expecting a whole lot, but with over 100 hours of work on the trail to get it ready for tours before we dropped it's safe to say it was running awesome. You could really get your speed up and there were even a few good lips to launch yourself off of.

Photo by Ian Houghton
  After a pit stop at the midpoint cabin, the singletrack was back on! There are a few small pedalling sections, but anyone would be happy bringing a DH bike or an All Mountain bike. My only recommendation would be to bring what the rest of the crew has - If your buddies are all on DH bikes, bring your DH bike and vice-versa.

Photos by Ian Houghton
The singletrack never gave up and was uninterrupted the whole way down to our shuttle and I couldn't have been happier to get delivered right back to the Revelstoke Mountain Resort Village where a well-deserved Begbie pint was waiting!

Photos: Ian Houghton
Words: Devin Knopf

** To join in the action and book your own flight and ride, visit www.revelstokemountainresort.com. This trail is black diamond rated and suitable for advanced riders only. All mountain or downhill bike required. Booking cut-off is 9am on the day of the trip.***



MENTIONS: @knopf / @ankhou

Must Read This Week

61 Comments

  • + 10
 This Mt. Cartier trip report without the heli-drop from 2012 still sticks out in my mind as being all time: www.pinkbike.com/news/North-Americas-highest-descent-2012.html
  • + 8
 Cool to see tours getting people up to this awesome trail now, I heli dropped it for my 16th birthday last year, incredible trail, these photos don't show just how crazy small the heli pad is, we came though the backside of the mountain where theres a series of amazing lakes and waterfalls, don't know if the tours go this way but if you can convince your pilot its a breathtaking ride. Riding itself was unbelievable, the high alpine was crazy, you'd hit an old rockslide halfway across every time it would cut back across the mountain and just lean on the outside pedal and hope you make it across the gravel without falling 4000ft into the ravine. Once you hit halfway it transitioned into the most beautiful loam dirt I've ever ridden! Awesome experience and so happy I got to go. I have a GoPro edit from it in my profile if you guys would like to see some more of the trail!
  • + 5
 Almost forgot to mention that as an added bonus, Casey Brown showed up at the bottom to take us home! No joke!!! If your reading this Dave, thanks again for showing us a good time!!
  • + 0
 just checked it...great stuff. what a sweet sixteen.
  • + 5
 That looks so incredible. The views are ridiculous. Going from exposed ridge to lush single track has got to be a neat feeling. I remember being lucky enough to do this on Rainbow Mountain a long time ago and it was one of the best experiences. I highly suggest everyone to save up enough to do at least one heli mtb ride. You'll never forget it.
  • + 4
 What a beautiful day and location. Any ideas on what it costs???
  • + 1
 Awesome article! I'd love to do it myself!
  • + 1
 out of control.
  • + 1
 Cost............ Yer right nut! But worth it.
  • + 3
 yeah if it costs anything like heli skiing, then at very least 500 per head and up.....if you do it watch out for me i will be the one slogging up for 8 hours Wink
  • + 2
 Hey there! Not quite $500 and up - cost per person is $345 + tax and includes a few extras over and above your typical bike drop. Check out program info here: rvls.tk/1J0cIop
  • + 3
 well hells bells then. that might just have to go on the wishlist!Smile
  • + 3
 Revy is unreal. Did Martha Creek last year and it was one of the only times where I honestly did not want to drop into the trail. The view was too amazing. Glad I did though, as the trail was mind-blowing. I'll definitely add Cartier to the list.
  • + 3
 I visited Revelstoke back in December to install a beer clarifier at Mt Begbie Bewing Co and absolutely fell in love with that place! I remember being blown away at how many Heli-Ski Tours there are in town and wondering if any of them did bike trips in the summer. Guess this answers my question. Holy Crap I gotta get back up there!!!!
  • + 6
 You're doing god's work. Begbie Beer is bloody great!
  • + 3
 It must feel overwhelmingly big (in the greatest way possible) to have such a massive horizon in the background as you descend such a singletrack.
  • + 5
 150 bux cheaper to just charter a heli.
  • + 3
 Or a 5.5hr hike But free heli flights for friends and BROs of the company don't pay for themselves! Keep the industry circle jerk alive
  • + 1
 Or $0 if you're feeling strong and walk the whole thing! All options lead to an amazing ride at the end Smile But if you're looking for a drop with some added value, like a slinged bike-rack to ensure your ride isn't banged up by the time it's flown up there, we're happy to oblige!
  • + 0
 been up three times, no special bike rack, bike was in the chopper right beside me, not a scratch on it. It just sucks to see something that was so unique and original, being capitalized on by a large commercial company that charges way too much and takes advantage of people that don't know it can be done cheaper.. Now with a guide you're going to have people up there that don't belong up there. Sorry, but 180 bux under your own power makes a lot more sense!
  • + 1
 You allude to 100 hours of trail work to get it ready. I'm hopeful Selkirk Tangiers will be responsible for some of the maintenance of this trail if they're using it commercial. And I'm not knocking this arrangement. Better than the damage that Martha's suffered.
  • + 3
 Trail work was done by local volunteers and Selkirk Tangiers who floated the heli bill to get us up there for 2 big days. Martha Creek is undergoing a huge maintance project right now too, check out www.marthacreekmakeover.com. Lots of other trail work is happening in Revy right now also. RCA trail crew is on Frisby Ridge for three weeks this year! Local volunteers have put in some time on the Joss Mtn trail too, a bit of a hike-a-bike in spots, but another of our amazing big alpine rides.
  • + 1
 Couldn't have said it better @WanderingWheels We have been and will continue to be putting effort into maintaining the Cartier trail to keep it enjoyable for all users. Having local volunteers help has been a valuable and welcome part of the process and we're stoked to be a part of the Revelstoke bike scene! Even as the new kid on the block...
  • + 1
 well that's awesome news and great to hear of the wide variety of participants and partnerships. Revy seems to be on it's way to being established as Canada's home for mega-trail epics... Keep it up!
  • + 2
 its like a run we call JPL in SOCAL but on steroids and with almost another 2000ft more taller and way better views , would love to take that Heli tour myself with some friends
  • + 4
 I would stand there and forget time.
  • + 4
 Yeah Devin! Thanks for the day bud. Great times.
  • + 2
 Great article and photos you two!
  • + 4
 Revel in the stoke.. Of Revelstoke. Cool
  • + 4
 Its so cool that Bon Jovi is getting into mountain biking
  • + 3
 Yep, this is the last straw. Time to quite the day job and go heli-biking. FOREVER.
  • + 4
 the scenery is just...mindblowing. No words
  • + 3
 I'm gonna have to push up that.
  • + 2
 It is a dream trip of mine to ride on my mountain. A fine definition for the word "destiny".
  • + 1
 only pussies and kooks heli drop something that can easily be pedaled in under 8 hours.
  • + 0
 Yessir, right your are.
  • + 1
 We're riding up this next weekend. Totally psyched. No helicopter required, but will need a 2* drivetrain Smile
  • + 2
 the views... the views...
  • + 2
 the day I do this will be the happiest day of my life!
  • + 1
 The views are so good on this. Hiking up is probably the best option the first time.
  • + 2
 bugs in the first shot look relentless.
  • + 2
 Yeah that's a pretty accurate description.
  • + 1
 cool article Devin! Hadn't realized you moved Revi. Kelly and I are hoping to check out some riding there this fall.
  • + 2
 Any idea on how much it costs?
  • + 3
 $345, there's a link to the website in the article
  • + 0
 is that 345 cad?
  • + 1
 Yes
  • + 1
 Thanks!
  • + 2
 get a group of buddies together and charter a heli. should come out to ~$200 each. No guide required, just follow the trail
  • + 1
 they allow that?id much rather pay 200 and have no guide or included snacks ahah,all my money is going into a ski trip to NZ atm
  • + 1
 150-200 depending on weather. 345 is way too much for an 11 minute helicopter ride
  • + 1
 No gloves. Already love it! Sounds like a great trip, but for me i guess ill be hiking Up for quite some time!
  • + 1
 F yeahhhhh!! You have no idea my friend!! Haha
  • + 2
 Just WOW!
  • + 1
 Well, adding that to the must-do list, which will probably never happen...
  • + 2
 Spectacular views!
  • + 2
 Beautiful views!!
  • + 2
 nice

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