- Published: Wednesday, 11 May 2016 09:10
- Written by Mike Fraiman
Among the Clouds of Kananaskis Country
Dispatch by Delano Lavigne
Photos by Sergio David Spadavecchia
“I’ve never been in a helicopter,” I casually told the team.
It seemed as though I was the only one who had never enjoyed the experience, and was somewhat surprised by the barrage of exclamations that followed my otherwise benign comment.
But I guess it was a little surprising. I’ve travelled all over the world and have been to some rather remote areas. I’ve been on pontoon planes and twin otters, but for some reason I’ve managed—unintentionally—to avoid helicopters.
Whatever the case may be, that was all about to change. We came to Alpine Helicopters to experience Canmore and Kananaskis Country from the sky. Our pilot, Peter, led us into the cabin of a Bell 206B3, buckled us in and got us set up on our headsets. Within a few minutes of loading us into the helicopter, he gently lifted us off the ground, controlling the helicopter with the ease of a practiced professional. Within minutes we were flying—although it felt like floating—high above Canmore, headed west toward Mt. Assiniboine.
Peter’s voice filled our headsets as he named the surrounding peaks, valleys and lakes. I tried to take it all in as we flew past the Three Sisters, over Spray Lakes and across the British Columbia–Alberta border. It’s difficult, though; I’ve seen these mountains many times before, but never from this vantage point. I wanted the helicopter to stop in midair so I could study each mountain, valley, lake and river with hawk-like precision.
But Peter knew where the true coup de grace was, and he was keen to get us there. Sure enough, Mt. Assiniboine came into view and we all plastered ourselves against the windows, jaws agape as the mountain towered above. Peter slowed the helicopter to a steady yet seemingly unnatural hover well above the glacier, still well below the summit. He knew, despite having steered this flight many times before, how beautiful these mountains are, and was eager to share that beauty with us.
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Want to learn more? Check out our full expedition to Canmore Kananaskis: