heli skiing north america tips

Things to remember before trying heli-skiing in North America

So you have decided to go heli-skiing this time? There is nothing quite like getting airlifted to the world’s best chutes for an adrenaline-filled adventure in the glittering snow-covered peaks. A ski-resort definitely cannot match the extraordinary heli-skiing experience. Expect to have the time of your life and the good news is that it’s not only for pros. So if you are bored of your ski routine and looking for an adventure to satisfy your adrenaline urges, heli-skiing is the answer for you! Skiing is only half the fun.

Flying through the snow-covered mountains in a helicopter is one of the most exciting things anyone would do in life. There is a sense of excitement in the air from the moment you enter the helicopter flying across the snow-covered mountains and taking off to the skiing point. It is the ultimate challenge for the powder-hungry skier, the never-ending quest to carve your tracks in the pristine snow. Like all the luxuries of life, it does come at a price. So if you have saved enough money, get ready for the ski adventure of a lifetime.

Follow these tips to get the most out of your Heli-skiing adventure in North America.

Get to know your guide

Most heli-ski guides are the best in the industry but it does not mean that you should not double check their credentials. Make sure that they have certification from American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA) and Heli Ski US. Follow the instructions and trust your guide. No matter how many skiing videos you might have watched but you do not know more than your guide. Let you guide take the lead and show you the way. Don’t be shy about asking questions. If you see a great looking slope, ask your guide if it’s safe or not.

Get ready for the big event

Prepare yourself mentally and physically for the heli-skiing trip. The more fit you are the more you will enjoy the trip. Expect to cover 10 to 12,000 vertical feet in day and that too in just six runs. Join a skiing resort and follow a training plan to prepare for the heli-ski trip. Go on long runs without stopping and work on your stamina. Follow a diet chart and focus on energy dense food because you are going to be skiing harder under extreme climatic conditions.

Pick the right season

During winters, the days are shorter and the temperature is low, the two factors extremely important for great skiing. Alternatively, during spring, the days tend to be warmer and longer which may allow you to cover more runs. Ask your heli-ski operator when they get the best snow, the best weather for skiing and different ski packages they have. Then, choose the right heli-skiing trip according to your budget and the season you want to go.

Choose the right location

Do research about the different skiing locations and what you can expect from the varied terrain. Here are the top skiing spots in North America that you can consider for your next skiing trip.

1. Whistler, British Columbia

The prime terrain for skiing lies just beyond the whistler village. A heli-ski chopper takes you through the pristine coastal range to experience varying terrain, from picture-perfect tree-lined runs to wide-open glaciers. There is no need to panic if you are not a world-class skier, intermediate to expert skiers are allowed on the mountains. Guides scout for best ski locations for the day based on weather and snow conditions.  

2. Cordova, Alaska

It doesn’t get better than this. The Chugach Mountains have 1,500 square miles of mighty terrain that allows for some of the steepest runs in the world. Point North has a helipad at its lodge and is the only heli-skiing company that takes its skiers to the southeastern side of mountains. So you won’t be running into other skiers as you carve out the first tracks.

3. Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Catch the helicopter ride with High Mountain Heli-Skiing for an unmatched skiing experience in Jackson Hole. Cover more than 300,000 acres of skiable terrain at about 15,000 vertical feet in the Tetons and the surrounding mountains. Enjoy the sparsely populated slopes and hit as much extra runs as you want.

Travel light

Most tour operators provide skiing equipments, avalanche safety kits, lunch and snacks. So all you need to carry includes your warm clothes, boots and a camera. Also, helicopters have a weight limit and anything extra is likely to be left behind. Check with your operator to find out what is included in the package and what they expect you to pack for the ski trip.

Dress up in layers

Pack enough warm clothes for the trip and dress up in layers. You might have to sit for long hours in the drop-off point and it gets really cold. Also you might have to build a landing zone or you can work up a sweat navigating the powder. So make sure that you can add or shed layers accordingly.

Share the experience with a friend

It is probably going to be the best skiing trip of your life so share it with your friends. Save up together for the big adventure and makes the ride even better. Heli-skiing with a group of friends is a good idea. You can get great discounts or a special customized trip just for you and your friends!

Author’s bio: Manish is a travel enthusiast who believes that traveling is the best form of meditation in the world. Outside of travel, he heads the content and marketing at Untravel.com.