The Sky’s The Limit With Head-Line Mountain Holidays

“The sky’s the limit,” says Matt King, Head-Line’s director of operations and tour guide for the day. “We have corporate events up here with fully catered barbecues and a chance to hit a few biodegradable balls over the icecap.


“A few days ago we had ice climbers hauling themselves up through the caves. Then there was a fashion shoot. My job was to give out ski boot warmers for the models to tuck under their armpits to keep warm,” he says with a grin.


Pointing to a rather nervous looking man who has just arrived on the next helicopter, he says: “There are a lot of proposals up here. I think that guy’s about to pop the question to his girlfriend.”

A scheduled visit to the ice caves costs around CAN$1,300 per person, but Head-Line is also tapping into a different market, with bespoke tours (some costing up to $500,000) that range from stays aboard luxury yachts and in specially built igloos, to flights over desert canyons and scenic mountain ranges. You can stay in a snow castle, as Seal did when he proposed to Heidi Klum, go snowmobiling or even charter a submarine.


“There’s so much to do here,” says Matt. “More than anything you need a taste for adventure.” Doug Washer, founder of Head-Line, certainly has that. A former snowmobile tour operator, he started exploring the Pemberton Icecap nearly 30 years ago. The beautiful scenery of British Columbia ranges from backcountry wilderness to the urban playground of Vancouver, pristine Pacific beaches and the ski and board mecca of Whistler and Blackcomb. And like the 300 square kilometre icecap itself – the southernmost of five giant icefields in British Columbia – the business has become something of a behemoth.


“We are an events management company really; designing holidays and working with professional pilots, chefs and guides,” says Washer. “Our people work both in the film industry and in guiding.


“Most of the land in BC is owned by the crown but you can get land tenure and there’s a lot on our doorstep. We’re lucky enough to have close access to the coast, the icecap, the desert as well as private hot pools and islands.


“So our clients can ask to go heli-rafting, have a romantic dinner in an ice cave, charter a luxury yacht. We’ve had people take an eight-day holiday which requires four dedicated aircraft plus two helicopters to move around chefs and crew.


“Then we get a lot of people filming up here too – lots of TV shows and commercials. Just recently there was a joint Canadian and Chinese film being made, with the icecap standing in as Mount Everest. Coors beer made an ad up here, and there are a lot of documentaries filmed too. National Geographic teams were here recently.”


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