If you read our earlier post about Whistler, British Columbia you know that Bertaut and I were there celebrating our 9 year wedding anniversary in August 2015. Bertaut wanted to do something really special and memorable to surprise me for his anniversary gift. Blackcomb Aviation’s “The Ultimate BC Experience” helicopter tour was the answer, and it is best gift he’s given me to date (and he’s given me some really great gifts). Taking a helicopter tour over a beautiful location had been on our bucket list, but we hadn’t wanted to cough up the money, since it can be quite expensive. Since this vacation had barlely cost us anything, (we used Chase Ultimate Rewards points for both our hotel and rental car, and my flight was free with Bertaut’s Companion Pass for Southwest Airlines), now seemed like a good time to splurge on this once in a lifetime experience. We happened to luck out since we booked a regular 45 minute tour at a lower rate ($360/person in Canadian currency, which saved us about 30% with the exchange rate) than the private tour ($1020 for a 24 minute tour for up to 5 people and an extra $250 for additional flying time). Fortunately for us, they didn’t book anyone else on our flight. I’m not sure if it was Bertaut’s charm or his genuine friendliness and warmth that comes across even over phone calls, but people often go above and beyond to help us, I think in response to his kindness. We were overjoyed and grateful not to have to share the helicopter with any other passengers and received a private tour at no extra cost. As an anniversary gift and surprise, being up there alone with the pilot made it much more romantic and memorable. Well done Bertaut, and thank you Blackcomb Aviation for making it happen for less!
While we were waiting for our helicopter to return from its earlier flight (on which a man proposed and had a photographer there to capture the moment), we snapped a few photos with their larger helicopter in the background. It was pretty cool seeing our helicopter land, as the newly engaged man stepped out with his glowing fiancé, a bottle of champagne in hand and photographer en suite. It was now our turn to climb aboard and see Whistler from a bird’s eye view, the best around.
I think this is so cool how the camera captured the bend in the helicopter’s blades.
As we lifted off the ground, it was neat to see our shadow in the alpine forest. Can you find it below?
I felt really cool with my headphones and microphone on, like I was straight out of the classic film Top Gun.
As our elevation and moods climbed higher, we had amazing views of the gorgeous Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains and glacier-fed lakes below. Here you can see volcanic Black Tusk peeking out from the heavy clouds.
It was surreal to fly this close to the clouds, like we could reach out and touch them.
This magnificent body of water above is Garibaldi Lake, which lies within Garibaldi Provincial Park. No, this photo has not been photoshopped, the water is really that turquoise! Glacier floor, which is fine-grained particles of rock generated by glacial erosion, is responsible for this iridescent shade of blue. It is by far the most beautiful lake I’ve ever seen. It looks magical, like it’s from a fairy tale. On our next visit to Whistler, I want to hike the Garibaldi Lake Trail up to this lake so I can stare at its mesmerizing colors as long as I’d like. The trails in the area are known to be amongst the most beautiful on Earth. The trail is 9km long (5.5 miles) so it would be a day trip. There are campgrounds on the west shore of the lake for the more adventurous. I’ve never been successful at convincing Bertaut to go camping. Maybe that will be the vacation where I can change his mind…
Next we flew over Rainblow Glacier and Cheakamus Glacier and skimmed the surface to get a closer look. I’ve never been this close to a glacier and was fascinated by the blue colors deep in the ice. It was truly fascinating.
Normally on the Ultimate BC Tour, the pilot lands on Rainbow Glacier for photo opportunities. However, the clouds were too low during our flight, so we had to land at another location for safety reasons. Actually I think turned out for the best because Beverly Lake was a beautiful spot where we could sit down and enjoy the scenery without freezing our butts off. If you want to spend a little more, Blackcomb Aviation provides picnics as part of their customized packages at this location.
The pilot normally makes a brief stop for some photos and then heads back to the heliport. We were fortunate again and had a really nice and knowledgeable pilot (Spencer) who let us spend about 45 minutes up there taking photos, running back and forth to find the best view, breathing in the fresh mountain air, and feeling like hot shot millionaires. As you can see from the photos, we had a lot of fun posing for the camera.
On our way back, we traded spots and I sat shotgun for a view out of the front of the helicopter. Honestly, there’s not a bad seat because the back windows open up enough for your camera to get a photo without the glass interference, which was perfect for me since I was manning the camera during most of the flight and could snap away out the window while Bertaut recorded from the front seat with nothing to obstruct his view. Here’s some footage he captured during our tour.
Flying over the Garibaldi Lake and its surroundings
Flight over Rainbow & Cheakamus Glaciers
Flight to Beverly Lake
This was one of the coolest things we’ve ever done, and it will be hard to top for our next anniversary after Bertaut set the bar so high on this one. If you are in the area and have been wanting to cross a helicopter tour off your bucket list, we highly recommend doing it in Whistler with Blackdomb Aviation. Yes, it’s a lot of money, but it is well worth it, and we all deserve to splurge once in awhile. You won’t regret it. Have you ever taken an amazing helicopter tour of this area, and if so, what did you see? If you would Iike a more affordable option to see the mountains of Whistler from a great perspective, try the Peak to Peak Gondola or ziplining through the alpine forests. If you liked this post, please sign up for our RSS feed to be updated each time we publish a new blog post and our email newsletter for tips to travel like a millionaire.