Bella Coola offers World’s First Climate Positive Heliskiing
Bella Coola Heli Sports has flown past carbon neutral and become climate positive. After tracking and measuring its greenhouse gas emissions for 2019, the award-winning helicopter skiing company initiated policies to reduce carbon emissions company-wide and purchased offsets that protect old-growth forests in British Columbia. In doing so, the company voted as the World’s Best Heli Ski Operation, has achieved a milestone by becoming the world’s first, and only, climate positive heliskiing operation.
Situated an easy 70-minute flight north of Vancouver, Bella Coola Heli Sports connects skiers and snowboarders around the world with the vast terrain of the Coast Mountains through multi-day heliskiing and heliboarding adventures. Visitors have exclusive access to over 3,250,000 acres (13,150 square kilometres) of pristine wilderness, and can choose to stay at any of the 5 wilderness lodges in the company’s portfolio. With major aspects of the company’s operations requiring carbon-based fuels, owner Beat Steiner recognized the need to complete a comprehensive audit – from helicopter output to employees’ daily commute.
“Carbon-based fuels are contributing to a global crisis of climate change, resulting in a loss of biodiversity and destruction of land,” said Steiner. “While there is currently no alternative to carbon-based aircraft fuel available, we are determined to do our part and make a tangible difference, particularly in our home province.”
After measuring the company’s carbon output and making reductions where possible, Steiner and his team contacted Offsetters, Canada’s leading full carbon management company, and decided to purchase carbon offsets from the Great Bear Forest Carbon Project. This project helps to preserve vulnerable pockets of BC’s old-growth forests in the very land and environment that has attracted visitors worldwide since the company was founded in 2003. Also important is that the project supports local First Nations and educational platforms that encourage others to join the fight against climate change. Steiner took his offsets to the next level: rather than contributing just enough to mitigate the company’s greenhouse gas emissions for 2019, he opted to become climate positive—a designation that means a company has offset at least 10% more than what they emitted.
Steiner says “By purchasing carbon offsets from high quality projects that are third-party verified to be real, additional and permanent, Bella Coola Heli Sports can be confident that the carbon being sequestered would not have been sequestered otherwise”.
“We’re happy to be partnering with Bella Coola Heli Sports”, said Dawn Hancock, Director of Client Engagement at Offsetters. “Organizations that take the time to understand what their impact on the climate is and work to reduce it as much as they can and then — go the extra mile by offsetting more than they emit – are raising the bar for other companies to join in the fight against climate change.”
“I’m really proud of our decision to raise the benchmark for other tour operators and businesses in BC, and around the world, to become climate positive, if possible,” said Steiner. “With the earth experiencing the hottest summers on record and wildfires ravaging our province, we’ve missed the opportunity to take small steps for change – now, we need to be bold, forward-thinking and willing to put in the work to stabilize our world’s climate.”
Through Offsetters, guests of Bella Coola Heli Sports can also purchase offsets for the non-heliskiing parts of their journey. This gives customers the opportunity to make their entire trip carbon-neutral or even climate positive.
Well done Bella Coola!