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A Day in the Life of a Heli Skier: Part III – Steep & Deep in the Trees

Many thanks to Pure Powder & CMH guest Craig McCulloch for the following article on his CMH Heli Skiing trip in March 2013…

Skiing with Pure Powder’s Canadian operator CMH Heli Skiing offers two very distinctive types of heli skiing. Most of us love the enjoyment of blue bird skies, no wind and heavenly high alpine skiing, but they and CMH are in the business of snow and on any given week there can be lots of heavy snow. There is therefore a mixture of High Alpine and Steep and Deep tree skiing. Some have a love/hate relationship with one or the other, but I love both and thought it best to expound the virtues of both for the benefit of those who have yet to try it. Below you’ll find a bit about skiing steep and deep trees.

Heli Skiing Deep Powder in Steep Trees

It’s our second morning at the lodge; we’ve done our stretching and are sitting at breakfast watching the snow fall at an amazing rate.  We wait with baited breath for Dave Cochrane’s daily breakfast announcement, praying that it’s not so bad that we can’t fly. Ting, ting on his glass of juice… “As you can see it’s a perfect for skiing the tress. We’ll be limited in height but we’re going to have a lot of deep snow in the trees. See you at the heli pad.”

The heli lifts off and buzzes low over the tips of the trees, the pilot’s skills apparent for all to see. Only he seems to have any sight – I can’t see a bloody thing for my seat.  The thud from the rotors tells me we are touching down, the door opens and we jump out into waist deep (and then some) snow, struggling to get the 7 steps away the heli. OMG, I think to myself this is going to be a belter.

The effort required to get our heli skiing kit sorted in this bottomless snow is significant and I tell myself this is not a day to fall. It’s really knackering just getting your kit back on with nothing to support your every move.

We head off following our heli ski guide in close formation, so as not to get lost in the poor light. Goggles on, I see Jeff drop down effortlessly and disappear into deep, soft snow which billows well above his head. Malcolm, Enrique, Daniel, Marco, Barbara and Sergio follow while I take up the rear with the camera running. The trees are all full to breaking point with every branch covered in inches of snow and hanging off every needle.

I start to turn, bouncing up and down with the snow blasting past my head and I yell with delight at the effortless pleasure of the light, bottomless snow. I see nothing but gaps, branches whiz past dumping even more snow on my jacket, it’s so deep there’s not much of a requirement to carve; it’s just point and bounce.

We reach the bottom of the trees and it opens out into a frozen lake bed, we track to the landing zone flags, laughing out loud at each other for we are all covered head to toe in snow, but ready to do it all over again!!

Read Part I of Craig’s CMH Heli Skiing experience A Day in the Life of a Heli Skier: Part I – Heli Skiing Prep and Part II A Day in the Life of a Heli Skier: Part II – Heavenly High Alpine

If Craig’s experience calls your name as it once did his, call us on +44 (0) 207 736 8191 or email us for heli skiing advice and planning.

Photos courtesy of CMH Heli Ski Guide / Photographer Geoff MacPherson and Craig McCulloch

Posted by: Claire Matheson

Top Resorts for your Heli Ski Warm Up in Canada

The Telegraph listed their Top Ten Ski Resorts in Canada, among them was some of our favourites for pre-heli ski warm up.  They are great destinations to try out that famous Canadian powder before you embark on your heli skiing adventure with CMH.   Revelstoke Revelstoke is a small town but is the perfect place […]

Posted by: Georgie Knox

Heli Skiing for First Timers – What are my Options?

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Posted by: Charlie Brooksbank

Heli Skiing in Canada: 4 reasons why it’s special

If you’ve ever wondered why 95% of the world’s heli skiing operators are based in Canada check out our 4 reasons why heli skiing in Canada is a must for everyone’s bucket lists. ONE// TERRAIN They say size doesn’t matter, but in the case of heli skiing, Canada’s sheer scale makes it the perfect place […]

Posted by: Zillah Bell

Pure Powder’s Skiing Resort Guide: Silver Star

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Posted by: Zillah Bell

Pure Powder’s Skiing Resort Guide: Sun Peaks

Location:  Having added two new Alpine zones to their ski area in the 2014/2015 season, Sun Peaks has become the second biggest ski area in Canada, behind Whistler.  It is the perfect warm up destination for anyone who is heli skiing at CMH’s Cariboos Lodge. Getting there:  Easily accessible, Sun Peaks is about a 50-minute […]

Posted by: Zillah Bell

How is snow formed?

As skiers we are obsessed with those tiny little flakes falling from the sky – constantly on the lookout for the next powder dump and eagerly awaiting those cold mornings when you wake up to find a white blanket covering everything and the perfect powder skiing conditions! But a question we often ask ourselves is […]

Posted by: Zillah Bell

Do I have to break the bank to go heli skiing in Canada?

Floating through knee-deep powder with only your buddies to keep you company.  A helicopter waiting at the bottom of each run.  Being whisked up to the top of another glorious powder filled peak.  That’s what dreams are made of – but the key question is do you have to break the bank to make making […]

Posted by: Charlie Brooksbank

The Top 5 Heli Ski Lodges in the World

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Posted by: Zillah Bell

Pure Powder’s Skiing Resort Guide: Big White

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Posted by: Zillah Bell

The Ultimate Ski Bucket List – Telegraph October 2016

Canadian Mountain Holidays named one of The Telegraph’s Ultimate Ski Bucket List: ‘The tension of waiting for the weather to break, the expectation as the helicopter rotors begin to spin, the eagle’s eye view of pristine wilderness peaks as you’re flown 
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Posted by: Zillah Bell

Heli Skiing in Iceland – An Adventure of a Lifetime

The Telegraph have named heli skiing in Iceland one of their 50 adventures of a lifetime. ‘Ski from the mountain peaks down to the sea or fly-fish for salmon in glacial rivers accessed only by helicopters. You’ll be staying at Deplar Farm, the ultimate wilderness retreat located in a remote valley in north-west Iceland, surrounded […]

Posted by: Zillah Bell

Pure Powder Sponsoring London Screening of ‘Ruin and Rose’

Come and join us on Friday 11th November at The Ham Yard Hotel, Central London for an exclusive viewing of MSP Films newest movie “Ruin and Rose”. We are absolutely delighted to be sponsoring “Ruin and Rose” alongside Surefoot London for the second year in a row.  This new 4K HD definition film features jaw-dropping action […]

Posted by: Zillah Bell

Pure Powder’s Top 10 Ski Blogs

Back in November 2010 we blogged about the ‘best ski blogs in the business’ and now, after some extensive research and deliberation we bring you our newest, hottest top 10 list… These blogs are set to bring you the latest news, fashionable destinations and first-rate tips and advice.  They are 100% guaranteed to whet your […]

Posted by: Zillah Bell

Pure Powder’s CMH Heli Skiing UK Tour – October 2016

CMH Heli Skiing Presentations:  For over 35 years,  Pure Powder have been the exclusive UK representatives of CMH Heli Skiing in Canada – the largest heli ski operator in the world.   Each year Pure Powder team up with one of the CMH heli ski mountain guides and set about spreading the love for powder skiing on a […]

Posted by: Zillah Bell

Summer Adventures in Western Canada

When you think of Western Canada you think of winter.  You think of the cold and the rain and the snow.  What you may not realise is that a summer in the mountains of British Columbia and Alberta is like no other, there are so many activities to choose from, and it is breathtakingly beautiful! […]

Posted by: Zillah Bell

Heli Skiing in Chile – 5 Things You Shouldn’t Miss

If you’re missing the snow this summer, fear not – there is plenty of the deep powder skiing to be had in the Southern Hemisphere.  And arguably the best place to ski in summer is the central Chilean Andes; famed for it’s consistent (and big) storms and endless terrain this is explorative heli skiing at […]

Posted by: Zillah Bell

Pure Powder feature in ‘In the Snow’

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Posted by: Charlie Brooksbank

Pure Powder and CMH feature in Fall Line Magazine

Pure Powder and CMH feature twice in April 2015 ski magazine Fall Line.  “Heli-skiing: the ultimate trip of a lifetime.  Fresh lines all day, zero uphill effort, floating through bottomless pow, blah blah blah: sound alright.  Which is why my ski-mad husband and I used the excuse of ‘winter honeymoon’ to book this extravagant and […]

Posted by: Charlie Brooksbank

CMH feature in Fall Line Magazine: A Day in the Life of Doug Dykeman

‘Nobody knows the vast, shreddable terrain of Canadian Mountain Holidays (CMH) – which marks 50 years in heli-skiing last winter – better than Alpine’s chief pilot, whose precision landings have delivered trillions of vertical feet of thigh-deep fun’ To get your hands on the gripping article which takes you into ‘a day in the life of… […]

Posted by: Charlie Brooksbank

Pure Powder and CMH Heli Skiing in the FT Weekend Magazine

Pure Powder and CMH Heli Skiing were featured in the 16-page ski special ‘Pink Snow’ article which celebrates the fiftieth anniversary of heli skiing.  We took Tom Robbins with us to Canada in order to uncover what all the hype about skiing with a helicopter is. “It is dark when we turn alongside the Columbia […]

Posted by: Charlie Brooksbank