I was your classic European skier; happy to ski along the likes of Les Trois Vallees ready for the next vin chaud. A lazy skier shall we say. Even though I could confidently ski the piste no problem, off piste skiing was out of the question, preferring to watch friends hike up and battle down (the pitfalls of European off piste skiing is that it’s notoriously tough on the legs and the ego). Sticking within my comfort zone sounded fine by me.
Even if my nerves were made of steel, my skiing skills were not up to throwing myself down steep moguls which is what I imagined off piste skiing to be. The off pisteurs were a new league of Red Bull drinking, adrenalin chasers. Weren’t they?
That I found myself stepping out a helicopter in British Columbia 5 years ago (part of my new job) for my first heli skiing trip, seemed a little crazy even for me. I had never even attempted off piste skiing, a distant memory now when I look back at my old ski life and not what we would advise for those completely new to powder! But it goes to show that you can go from intermediate skier to confidently skiing waist deep powder in a few days…
Here are some tips to show you’re ready to heli ski:
> You’re a strong, intermediate skier who is confident on piste skiing in most conditions. You’re pretty likely to have a good strong ski technique as battling down an icy slope at the end of an afternoon is hard work for most skiers. Heli skiing in Canada is ski heaven; think light, dry, fluffy powder to glide through avoiding the pitfalls of European queues and over-run pistes.
> You’ve already done off piste skiing in Europe. You’re good enough. Believe me. European off piste is tough work with questionable rewards finding heavy snow and tracked out, minimal powder. British Columbia is famed for its wide, open forests created for you to glide effortlessly through gladed runs in waist deep powder nirvana.
> You’re just a little nervous. Fear of this ‘extreme sport’ is a myth we are constantly trying to put to rest. CMH Heli Skiing run specialist Powder Introduction programmes designed to introduce novice off piste skiers to deep powder skiing. Skiing with like-minded skiers on skis the width of snowboards plus video tuition can do wonders for your skills but more importantly, confidence.
> If I can do it then anyone can. Of course we don’t send out beginner skiers. We know our market and we pride ourselves on talking to every guest before they book their trip ensuring they’re going to the right area on the right programme for them. So any fears you may have will be ironed out leaving you excited for your first foray into powder with the help of videos to show ability levels and our experience to know what is right for you.
Ready to go? Pure Powder run exclusive off piste skiing powder development trips to Europe if you’re wanting to test the water first. Otherwise 4 day Powder Introduction heli skiing trips in Canada start from £2,910pp in March 2014. Please contact the off piste skiing and heli skiing experts at Pure Powder online or on +44 (0)207 736 8191.