Heli skiing, or helicopter skiing is hugely popular in the Rocky Mountain region of Canada, you will find most heli skiing done in either British Columbia or Alberta. What is it that makes heli skiing so popular? While it is downhill skiing you are not in the controlled environment of the regular ski chalets. Heli Skiing happens in in remote locations where there is no grooming of the trails and it is normally inaccessible to the average person. To get there you are taken in a helicopter to a remote location, along the way be sure to take advantage of the breathtaking views you can see from the helicopter. However heli skiing is a lot more dangerous than going to a groomed trail with trained staff on hand.
Heli Skiing in Canada
Canada, especially in the Rocky Mountains has very long winters and you can usually ski from November until April most years. These long winters are ideal for ski enthusiasts and because of Canada’s vast mountain range and uninhabited areas it is also ideal for heli skiing. It won’t take you long to find a great spot and there are plenty of them.
Preparing for the Trip
When you want to go heli skiing, preparation is everything. Remember when you are out here there are no staff to call on and you’re not going to get anything resembling cell phone service so you need to be ready for anything. There is some special gear and equipment that you are going to have to bring with you to help in case anything happens. One of the most important things you need to take with you is an Avalanche transceiver, or what heli skiers refer to as the buddy system. The Avalanche transceiver will open communications if there is an avalanche. The snow up here is thick and avalanches are more common than you think. Son of the former Prime Minister, Pierre Trudeau died in an avalanche. The transceiver will send out a signal indicating your location should you be caught in an avalanche. Here is an overview of how they work.
Always be Cautious
Heli skiing is a ton of fun and it is a great way to get away from the daily grind of life. There is a rush in pitting yourself against Mother Nature. But as fun as it is, it is also dangerous. This is not for the novice skier, only incredibly experienced skiers should even consider heli skiing. You need to be experienced in navigating rugged terrains with deep snow. One of the other difference between this and regular skiing is the amount of time that you will be going downhill. There are no breaks and no lift chairs ready to take you back to the top of the mountain.
This is the ultimate in backcountry skiing and there are no safety nets, no back up and it is just you against the mountain. You should at least travel with a group or a partner just in case something happens or just to have friends along for the ride.