Let’s get into the ins and outs of trip preparation for your next heli ski adventure! At Pure Powder, we take care of all the logistical aspects of your skiing experience, but there are a few things you can do from your side to make sure that you kick off the excursion as prepared as possible.
In this brief guide, we will cover travel insurance, ski fitness, flights, skiing equipment, and a few tips and tricks to ensure that your heli ski adventure is as smooth as skiing fresh powder. We also have plenty of recommendations and connections with various companies that we will also touch on in this breakdown.
How To Make Sure That You Are Ski Fit
When it comes to off-piste or heli ski adventures, we recommend that you go into them with a good level of fitness. Of course, this does not mean you need to train like a professional athlete, but ensuring that you are fit enough for the slopes will add to your enjoyment significantly.
A crucial consideration regarding heli ski fitness is that it will dramatically reduce the chances of injuries while skiing. We say this because when you become tired or lethargic, you are far more likely to make mistakes and miscalculations. Being ski-fit also physically prepares your body for the challenges ahead – movements will feel natural and muscle memory kicks in.
The best way to boost your ski fitness is to head outside and go skiing. That’s why we frequently recommend that our customers plan for some warm-up resort skiing before taking on the backcountry. With that being said, there are other ways of preparing yourself without actually skiing – have a look at the “Ski Fitness” tab on our website to learn about our fitness training programmes. We have created these programmes with the help of knowledgeable professionals, and these strengthening and stretching exercises can be used to great effect.
Our off-piste excursions will also require a greater level of fitness, as there is more skiing involved in reaching some of the untouched destinations you will be heading to. Heli ski adventures, on the other hand, are less demanding because your group will have a helicopter to help you get to these remote locations. If you feel that you need a bit of extra inspiration, we post fitness challenges on our Facebook page every Friday!
Essential Heli Ski Equipment
High-quality ski equipment is an essential aspect of any successful heli ski adventure. Without gear you can trust and that you feel comfortable using, the whole experience can take a real knock in terms of enjoyment. Depending on the destination and the ski operator in question, you may be provided with certain pieces of heli ski equipment. However, it can’t hurt to be prepared with the knowledge before heading out onto the slopes. For all your ski clothing needs, our friends at Ellis Brigham stock some of the best gear around.
Perhaps the most pertinent advice we can provide you with is to make sure that you layer your clothing properly. The best approach is to wear more layers than you might feel is necessary, this way you can remove items of clothing as you go along. When backcountry skiing, temperature regulation is crucial – you don’t want to overheat, but the more pressing issue is becoming too cold.
Moisture-wicking clothing is a game-changer and oftentimes makes for the ideal base layer, then pick out a comfortable mid-layer and a top layer made from any kind of waterproof material. Find a pair of goggles with good visibility and choose some gloves that align with the Winter conditions of the ski location you’re in.
When it comes to purchasing the perfect backcountry skis for your heli ski adventure, you will want to make sure that the type of skis matches the terrain you are venturing into. Generally, we recommend that you opt for a pair of powder skis – these will provide you with ample stability and flotation as you glide across the deep powdered snow.
Consider the length of the skis you choose too – if they are too long for your height, they could be a challenge to control – too short, and they won’t offer enough stability on the slopes. Find a happy medium that best suits your proportions.
The ski boots you decide on are also integral to your performance and enjoyment in the backcountry. First and foremost, comfort is the number one priority. Your boots will need to fit you perfectly because you will be using them for multiple hours at a time, and it really takes away from the experience if your ski boots are constantly troubling you. You would be hard-pressed to find a better ski boot than those made by Surefoot; in our experience, the quality is unmatched.
Insurance For Your Heli Ski Adventure
As competent and effective as the ski operators we deal with are, accidents can happen – this comes with the territory as skiing does have its own set of dangers. It is for this reason that heli ski insurance is incredibly important. With our Pure Powder adventures, insurance is not included, but we strongly suggest that you purchase comprehensive cover for your excursion.
Regulations around heli skiing mean that we cannot directly recommend any specific policies or providers. With that being said, we have placed a few insurers on our website that you could consider looking into. Lastly, it’s vital to ensure that your cover extends over the full duration of your trip – meaning from the day you leave to the day you return home.
Flights And Accommodations
With Pure Powder, we facilitate as much of your heli ski adventure as possible! This includes booking all flights on your behalf, and because we are ATOL protected, the rates are typically cheaper than if you were to go through the airline yourself. We make it our mission to make the logistical aspects of your trip as stress-free as possible.
Accommodation is equally as simple for us to arrange – we have been in the industry for many years now, and over this time we have fostered great relationships with a number of operators and resorts. So, all you need to do in this regard is decide on the location you want to travel to, and we take care of the rest!
Making The Most Of Your Heli Skiing Adventure
Once all arrangements have been made and you’re on your way to whichever remote lodge you opted for, all that’s left is to make the most of the incredible experience ahead of you! Each and every one of our tailored excursions offers uniquely beautiful landscapes and, of course, some otherworldly skiing. Try to live exclusively in the moment and soak up everything the adventure has to offer.
We often recommend bringing a camera or GoPro along for the journey – this way you can record moments and show friends and family snippets of the experience. We are quite sure they would love to partake in some of the excitement that took place while you were away.
Even though it is extremely easy to get caught up in the excitement of deep powder skiing and exploring remote backcountry slopes, take a second to absorb the Winter landscapes around you. For most people, these vistas are not something that you come across every day. At Pure Powder, we all have a deep love for the backcountry environment, and we are sure that after your own heli ski adventure, you will share this passion.
If you have yet to experience the thrill of deep powder skiing, you are in for a wonderful surprise. We believe that every ski enthusiast should have the opportunity to glide through the untouched snow of the backcountry. The feeling is remarkably distinct from the skiing conditions you might encounter at most resorts. We encourage you to try new things and throw yourself into the enthralling adventure that is heli skiing!
A Few Fantastic Warm-Up Resorts
As we mentioned earlier on, the best way to fully prepare yourself for a heli skiing adventure is by heading out and practising. We’ll be focussing on a few warm-up resorts in Canada, as CMH Heli Skiing is the most prolific ski operator in the world, so it makes sense to delve into a few of these options.
One of the most appealing aspects of a warm-up visit to Fernie is that it features surprising amounts of light powdered snow for a resort. With 2,500 acres of incredible ski terrain, there is ample space to rediscover your skiing form and practice for the heli skiing ahead.
The small, lively town boasts 142 named runs, some excellent off-piste skiing routes, and some of the most incredible views of the Rocky Mountains that surround you. Fernie offers conditions that are suitable for skiers of all levels, but for those seeking a challenge, there are plenty of runs that can provide just that.
This warm-up skiing experience is catered more to expert-level skiers. Similar to Fernie, Kicking Horse has some fantastic backcountry skiing options, with champagne powder snow conditions. With 3,400 acres of impeccable ski terrain, this Winter haven should be just the thing to get your ski legs back under you.
We highly recommend the Vagabond Lodge for your stay in this part of the Canadian wilderness – it is only a short walk from the gondola and the outdoor hot tubs are the perfect thing after a day of challenging powder skiing. For skiers that are confident in their backcountry skiing ability, there are few locations that can match the epic slopes of Kicking Horse.
With an impressive annual snowfall of over 16 metres, this powder paradise is the perfect choice for warm-up skiing. Catered towards intermediate-level skiers, the impressive conditions in this location are the reason why they chose it to develop the largest vertical ski hill in North America.
With more than 100 ski runs on an impressive variety of terrain, there is certainly no shortage of options at Revelstoke. We recommend staying at the Sutton Place Hotel, with beautiful accommodations at the base of the mountain. You would be hard-pressed to find a more ideal location for backcountry skiing when it comes to resort destinations.