Skiing adventures featuring deep smooth powder and pristine mountain vistas without crowds of people do not occur at the top of a ski lift. To reach the virgin snow and the isolation of real mountain wilderness you have to use another form of transportation. Heli skiing is the only way to find that kind of adventure.
Skiers contract with a specialty outfitter that uses a helicopter to transport them to a mountain area not part of any developed ski slope system. The helicopter lands at the top of the mountain where the skiers depart skiing down the mountain. Depending on the circumstances, the outfitter may also provide pickup services at the base of the mountain. Because these areas can only be accessed by helicopter, there are seldom any other skiers. The mountains are often steep with good snow cover and excellent scenery. The heli-ski adventure may be the highpoint of any ski vacation.
What You Should Know
The same traits that make heli skiing the grand adventure add to the risks. They don’t use helicopters to take skiers to the top of the bunny slope. Expect to be skiing on steep slopes and through terrain that has not been groomed. Most heli-ski adventures are meant for advanced skiers with considerable experience. Many helicopter-ski adventures involve extremely high altitudes. Only skiers in good physical health should consider this type of activity. In addition, the remote locations of most helicopter accessed ski trails make rescue or medical assistance difficult. Make sure you have the skiing ability and the skills to enjoy this type of adventure.
Finding Your Adventure
Not all ski areas have helicopter supported skiing. Check the websites of any resort area you are considering to find out more. In addition, comments on Facebook, twitter and other social media from other skiers may give a sense of the quality of the skiing and the availability of helicopter service. Visit with other skiers around the resort for first-hand information about the outfitters.
Canada offers many of the premier opportunities for this extreme form of skiing. The larger wilderness areas in that country provide more undeveloped mountain slopes. Numerous heli-skiing outfitters also operate in the United States with smaller numbers of operations in Europe and New Zealand. Expect the helicopter outfitter to be one of the most expensive portions of your ski vacation although many fans of the sport say the thrill is worth the cost.
Most outfitters allow the use of either skis or snowboards in this extreme sport. Any equipment used should be in excellent condition and high quality because any failure can strand the skier in difficult terrain. The proper clothing, helmet and goggles for high altitude and extreme cold are also an absolute necessity. The proper clothing not only improves the enjoyment of the adventure, but also can be vital to survival. An avalanche transceiver, a radio that broadcasts a distress signal helping searchers locate you if caught in an avalanche, may be required on some helicopter-ski adventures.
This guest post was provided on behalf of Last Frontier Heliskiing, offering heli skiing trip packages at some of the most exciting mountains in British Columbia, Canada. For more information visit, http://www.lastfrontierheli.com/