June–December Let the remote corners of the Canadian Rockies inspire a trip that will leave you with both memories and a work of art to hang in your home. Departing by helicopter from Jasper, you’ll soar high above the treeline and over the icefields of Mount Robson, hover mere metres from the Kiwa Glacier and zoom around the peaks of the Cariboo Mountains – weather permitting – before being set down in the backcountry with an easel to spend the rest of the day. Mountain Galleries provides all painting equipment as well as a gourmet lunch and a guide for up to five people (only three passengers at a time can go up in the helicopter, which will make a second trip to accommodate larger groups).
January–April (weather dependent) Take ice fishing to the next level by landing right on the lake. Outfitter Kouri’s Kopters brings enthusiasts to different spots in and around southeastern Ontario, from the St. Lawrence River and Bay of Quinte to the tucked-away Land O’ Lakes region. Once you arrive, you’ll angle for trout and walleye in complete tranquility, cut off from the outside world. Each excursion includes a guide who will walk first-timers through the process, and all the necessities like tackle, huts and heaters – guests pack only their clothing and fishing licence. For out-of-towners or groups, the company offers accommodations for up to six in a rustic cottage about an hour from their Gananoque base.
April–October Kick your dinner date up a notch and arrive by air for a four-course meal at Mont-Tremblant Casino’s Altitude Seafood and Grill, which overlooks the surrounding mountains. For this romantic option, Héli-Tremblant will take you on a 10-minute ride over the Laurentian Mountains with panoramas of Lake Tremblant, the ski slopes, tony chalets and the racing track. Upon landing at the skiing centre, you’ll be shuttled to the restaurant, where the set menu includes Beef Manhattan, goat cheese risotto and pan-seared salmon. For an extra-special occasion – say, a marriage proposal – you can choose to skip dinner and instead land on the mountain, where Héli-Tremblant provides the bubbly to celebrate your big moment.
June–September Practise your downward dog and connect with Mother Nature at the foothills of the Rockies with a sunset hatha yoga class. The helicopter ride out to Lusk Hill (otherwise a three-hour hike) only takes a few minutes from outfitter Rockies Heli Canada’s base, but that’s enough to get a thrill without sacrificing shavasana time. As the sun sets, you and your fellow yogis will toast to the unforgettable vistas over a picnic. If you’re looking for a place to stay once the helicopter lands back at the base, the Stoney Nakoda Resort & Casino is conveniently located next door.
Golden, British Columbia
July–September Adrenalin junkies, take note: You don’t need to be an expert climber to scale the Mount Nimbus via ferrata in the Columbia range. Italian for “iron road,” this system of fixed rungs and steel rope lets you conquer pinnacles 600 metres above the valley floor without ever having to tie a knot – though a general level of fitness is required. Sign up for a three-day stay at the all-inclusive CMH Bobbie Burns lodge, owned and operated by Canadian Mountain Holidays, then choose from a series of activities like climbing the via ferrata, the longest of its kind in North America, and heli-hiking. Guests first meet in Banff and are bused (via luxury coach) to a helipad in British Columbia’s Kootenays, then helicoptered into the remote retreat.
Tobeatic Wilderness Area, Nova Scotia
Year-round, except May to early June Hike, snowshoe or cross-country-ski your way through the largest protected area in the Maritimes. With a guide from Ukaliq Wilderness, you’ll jump on a helicopter for an aerial tour of the peninsula’s greatest hits – think Peggys Cove, Lunenburg and the Bluenose II schooner – before landing in an abandoned airfield just outside the Tobeatic. Once landed, you’ll quickly find out why this park is considered to be the real backcountry. No motorized vehicles are allowed on its 12,000 hectares, and while there are trails, there are no maps, which is why an expert guide is essential. During the multi-day, all-inclusive expedition, Ukaliq can arrange a variety of activities: hiking through old-growth forests and along Mi’kmaq trading routes, canoeing on the rapids, or spotting moose, bear and other wildlife. Accommodations range from ultra-rugged (guests make their own shelter as part of the survival-training program) to traditional tent camping and upscale glamping facilities.