For years skiers have known that somewhere—up there above the last lift lines—were heavenly fields of unbroken snow; the problem lay in getting to them. Then along came Hans Gmoser and his helicopters, opening such lofty playgrounds as this one, the Bugaboos of British Columbia—thousands of miles of skiing, some swingingly easy, much of it tough, all wildly exciting.

Dropped off at the summit, skiers sail through untracked snows, skirting crevasses—directed by a guide—and race down the Bugaboo Glacier (above).

Ex-U.S. Olympic racer Brooks Dodge runs a powdery ridge (above), then joins Joe and Anne Jones for a downward dash through a high mountain col.

Away from the world, a party skirts Snowpatch Spire on the rooftop of Canada, while Rudi Gertsch guides the way past sentinels of snow (below).

EIGHT PHOTOSJOHN G. ZIMMERMAN