The Story Of Tiny Town
Imagine driving along a quiet Northern Canada highway and coming across a community of tiny chalet-style homes perched at the base of snow-covered mountains, surrounded by nothing but rugged Northern beauty.
That’s the location of Tiny Town, where skiers come from all over the world to experience epic heli-skiing in a secluded and unassuming location that actually provides high-end accommodations and chef-prepared meals in the middle of the wilderness.
The terrain is epic: surrounded by the Northern Coast Mountains, the air is pristine, the snow is plentiful and untouched and you’re not likely to meet very many other people. On clear nights, the stars can be seen in all directions as there is no light pollution and, if you’re lucky, you will be treated not just to a nightly bonfire under the stars but a bonfire under the dancing Northern Lights.
It takes about 90 minutes to reach Tiny Town from Whitehorse. To get there, you head south on the Klondike Highway to a wilderness terrain that borders the Yukon, British Columbia and Alaska.
So what exactly is Tiny Town?
Tiny Town is a purpose-build little community of cabins that makes the base for Yukon Heliski, a Yukon-based ski company. The community is seasonal, running only in the peak ski season of March and April, has a small footprint so as to have a minimal impact on its surroundings and provides high-quality accommodations with instant access to some of the best skiing in the world.
Guests stay in charming and comfortable tiny homes (thus the name Tiny Town) that come with beds, showers, electricity and heat, as well as a small kitchenette. The base also has a central saloon, where groups hang out, eat the delicious meals catered by professional chefs and unwind after a day on the slopes.
Outside, you’ll find a wood-fired sauna, hot tub and a fire pit for relaxing.
During the day, guests do what they came here for and that is to ski the 3,600 square kilometres of spectacular terrain. The location of Tiny Town puts skiers close to the runs, ensuring short helicopter rides to maximize time on the slopes.
With such a vast tenure and decades of guiding experience, the team at Yukon Heliski is equipped to serve skiers of all abilities. The terrain has long, fun, mellow powder runs which are perfect for intermediate skiers or better, as well as challenging slopes good for those with more advanced skill.
Behind it all is Pete Wright. Pete grew up between Atlin, British Columbia and Whitehorse, Yukon and learned to ski at a Heliski operation while he was working there as a maintenance person.
“I was thrown right into the deep end,” he says.
Landsby asked Pete Wright about his inspiration for Tiny Town and why he loves showcasing this particular part of Canada. Read on below for his answers.
Q & A with Pete Wright
What gave you the idea to start Tiny Town?
The Moutains are such an important place to me – it’s like my cathedral. And the inspiration and clarity that being in the high alpine gives me, I wanted to give that opportunity to my fellow Yukoners; and I wanted to share the beautiful Yukon with the world… so what better way to achieve both than to create Yukon Heliski?
Tell us a little bit about the terrain and what makes it special?
Super vast, magical, epic… you have to experience it to understand what a special place it is! It’s also special because we have lots of easy, mellow lines that are perfect for skiiers of all abilities. We like to focus on a fun, powdery adventure more than intense, steep crazy lines.
What does it take to create Tiny Town? What is the process like each season?
It’s a BIG process! Though the cabins are all on trailers and are not permanent, they stay in place over the summer. However, we have to bring out all of our equipment, machinery, supplies, staff housing, staff washrooms, power, water, propane, bedding, food, etc. every year. Set up is an intensive 10-14 day process which also includes lots of repairs and upgrades each year. It’s always hectic but it’s amazing how it comes together each time, just in time, and transforms into this magical place it is.
What does a typical day at Tiny Town look like for a visitor?
For day skiiers, we greet you with smiling faces and a copy of tea, and then we get ready to ski! Get your gear on (if you’re renting, we’ll get you sized) and we’ll go through a safety briefing for avalanche safety and for helicopter safety. We jump in the helicopter with 2 groups of 4 (so 8 guests skiing together at maximum). We experience the breath taking beauty of our local mountains which our vast, expansive, incredible. We’ll ski some mellow and easy powder lines before lunch, then sit down for a mountain-top hot lunch. We’ll ski some more, then come home for an apres-ski snack before sending you on your way.
For overnight guests (truly the full experience!!!) wake up in you “tiny home” cabin, with a view of snowy mountains, trees, and a helicopter sitting atop a hill just outside your window. Stretch, lie-in if you like… then walk over the the saloon for a 5-star breakfast at 8am. Take your time to prepare for the day, possibly enjoy a camp host-led stretching / yoga session. [Ski & apres-ski portion of the day is same as for day skiiers]. Come home to a wood fire-warmed cabin and enjoy a sauna or soak in the hot tub, or a hot shower in your cabin. Get a massage if you like (not included, but available). Enjoy a yukon-inspired dinner menu with local meats or berries. Relax, unwind with your small group of fellow-guests and staff. Exchange stories and feel at home! If you’re lucky, see the northern before you head to bed!
What’s your favourite way to end the day at Tiny Town?
Unwind in the sauna!