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