*BEEP*, *BEEP*, *BEEP*…that’s the sound of your alarm clock attempting to wake you up. Laying there motionless, you suddenly realize that today is special. Today is different. It’s the day to go to Baldface Lodge! Leaping out bed you rip open the curtains with excitement. Your heart rejoices at the sight of falling snow but thoughts of doubt begin to form. Will the helicopter be able fly? Is there a way to the lodge when it snows? How much snow is falling up in the mountains? But first, sustenance is needed to kick-start the most exciting chapter in the Powder Highway journey.
Breakfast and a Cupcake
Located on a bustling street corner in Nelson, the Full Circle Café is a stress-free spot to experience the local flavors. With a relaxed atmosphere and open floor plan it’s perfect for folks not in a rush but rather looking to enjoy a leisurely morning. Once the food arrives you know it was well worth the wait. Here are just a few of the highlights off the menu. The Kicking Hash is scrumptious with its perfectly cooked potatoes, buffalo sausage, and the spiciest banana peppers you will ever taste. It truly is a great hash that isn’t a gut bomb. If you’re an egg lover then check out the Salmon Eggs Benedict. Cutting into one of the eggs you’ll realize they were raised on a local farm. The dark color and the consistency of the yolk are dead giveaways. The creaminess of the eggs, a fresh spelt bun, and homemade hollandaise sauce with local smoked salmon was the perfect recipe to energize you for your first “heli” ride.
Full Circle Café
Address: 402 Baker St
Nelson, BC V1L 4H8, Canada
After breakfast there’s still enough time for another cup of coffee and a cupcake…or two. As you ventured down the street looking for your next stop, light snow fell making it look like a scene from a movie. Only a block from the Full Circle Café you suddenly find the John Ward Coffee Shop. Resembling an old school candy shop it serves gourmet coffee and Lucky Cupcakes. This was the perfect last stop before embarking on your first helicopter ride.
John Ward Fine Coffee
Address: 503 Baker St
Nelson, BC V1L 4J1, Canada
Panic ensues on where to go next!
After a great breakfast, another cup of coffee, and some dessert it was time to head to the airport. Driving to the airfield a sense of panic comes over you. The only thing you see is a long runway and no other buildings. Where were you supposed to go? Fortunately, a kind soul stopped by the car and asked if you were lost. In fact, you were! Smiling, they point towards the other side of the runway and say that w-a-a-a-y-y-y-y on the other side of the airstrip is the actual Nelson airport building. This is where the helicopter will pick you up. Driving to the other side of the airstrip you see the humble airport tower. Finding “official” airport parking along the fence of the runway, you park the car and walk into the building. Standing behind a fold out table you meet Vynessa, the host for Baldface Lodge. She greets you with her pleasant demeanor and starts the process of checking you in. Being excited, a little nervous, and unaware of the process you are the first in line. An hour later, your helicopter mates begin to flood the building, checking in and preparing for the trip ahead.
Introducing yourself to everyone, you begin to get even more excited for the week ahead. In the distance, the sound of a quiet whop, whop, whop can be heard. Immediately everyone rushes to the windows squinting and searching for the helicopter. The sound of thumping can be heard getting louder. Through the snowflakes and fog the helicopter suddenly appears. The nerves disappear and adrenaline fills the air. You watch as crew begins filling the helicopter with gear and supplies for the week ahead. Vynessa calls out “Ok, I need the first group of people for the helicopter to watch the training video on how to enter and exit a helicopter.” Fifteen minutes later, the first helicopter ride leaves. What seemed like an instant, Vynessa then suddenly calls your name to view the film next. Rushing the next group into the hangar, you watch the safety video. It makes sure everyone understands the basics on how to enter and exit the helicopter and what to do in an emergency. This does not feel like any emergency video you’ve ever seen on an airplane. This was serious! As the film ends the tin walls of the hangar began to vibrate. Just like before everyone runs to the windows to look at the helicopter coming in. Visions of Vietnam movie flicks flash through your head as the helicopter lands. With a sudden whoosh the door swings open and the flight crew yells smiling, “You guys ready to go?” Without hesitation you run to the helicopter and enter it like a pro.
On our way to Baldface!
As the helicopter takes off, the first thing you notice is how much safer and sturdier it feels compared to an airplane. This might not be the case, but it at least felt that way. The helicopter flies out of town following the terrain of the valley for only a few minutes. Almost as quickly as you left, you began the climb over a few mountain peaks and to the hallowed grounds of many snowboard videos… Baldface Lodge. With snowy peaks everywhere and snowfall reducing visibility, the lodge appeared out of nowhere like a fantasy. Is it real? As you gently land, the door swings open and the crew yells over the rotors to exit. The blades continue to rotate causing snow to blow everywhere making this place seem like a fairyland. This was heaven on earth…