Helicopter skiing is a great way to take your ski experience to the next level. In this brief guide, we will explain the differences between our tailored heli skiing excursions and your typical ski getaway. Of course, this is not to say that a standard resort skiing trip cannot be a great experience, but a few key differences place our Pure Powder heli ski adventures a step above the rest.
Join us as we jump into the incredible experience that is helicopter skiing and dissect what makes these trips the ideal excursions for ski enthusiasts all over the world. Pure Powder is committed to providing our clients with impeccable customer service, continuous support, and unforgettable heli skiing adventures.
5 Factors That Make Our Helicopter Skiing Adventures Unforgettable
If you are yet to experience the majesty of soaring over beautiful alpine peaks and gliding across finely powdered snow – allow us to fill you in on some of the defining characteristics of heli skiing.
Access to Vast and Exclusive Terrain: Quite unlike a typical skiing trip where you would be confined to the boundaries of the ski resort, heli skiing grants you access to a new world of untouched, exclusive skiing terrain. Utilising a helicopter as your means of getting around, you are able to reach remote valleys and mountain peaks that would otherwise be inaccessible to regular ski groups.
Remarkable Powder Conditions: While normal resort skiing involves sharing the slopes with many other skiers, heli skiing drops you right into the pristine powdered snow fields, undisturbed by resort crowds. The absence of large numbers of skiers ensures that you can enjoy fresh, deep powder conditions, offering an exhilarating and unmatched skiing experience. One needs only to feel the difference once to be hooked on the unique sensation of deep-powder skiing.
Tailored Adventures: Our personalised heli skiing experiences allow you to customise your trip to align with your skill level and preferences. Right from the onset, members of our friendly team will ascertain what sort of trip is ideal for you and your party – meaning that you will not be sent to locations that are too challenging or too straightforward. There is always a happy medium, and our experienced team will assist you in finding it. Even while you are out on the slopes, you can work closely with experienced guides to choose the perfect lines, terrain features, and difficulty levels that match your skiing abilities and desired adrenaline rush.
An Emphasis on Safety: The heli skiing operators that we partner with heavily prioritise safety and ensure that all members of the skiing party are clued up on avalanche awareness and mitigation. Before each run at a new location, your guides will conduct thorough safety briefings and provide you with necessary specialised equipment, like shovels, avalanche beacons, and probes. Additionally, the presence of the helicopter enables quick evacuation when needed and access to professional medical assistance if an emergency arises. It is partially for these reasons that helicopter skiing is a lot safer than it is given credit for.
Exclusive and Intimate Experience: Helicopter skiing provides a feeling of exclusivity that is tough to match. Moreover, the breathtaking scenery and solitude of the backcountry add an extra touch of tranquillity to your skiing adventure. The skiing parties are small, meaning you are able to enjoy a more intimate experience with your fellow skiers and guides. These smaller groups also mean you can enjoy more focused attention and coaching from your experienced guides. This should accelerate your learning and ensure that when you head back home, you find that you are a significantly better skier than before!
The Real Difference Deep Powder Can Make
When it comes to the general skiing experience, the difference between carving down groomed slopes on old snow typical of ski resorts and plunging into deep powdered snow that helicopter skiing can facilitate is like night and day. Old snow conditions at resorts, while still enjoyable, lack the feeling of exhilaration and magic that deep powder provides.
Skiing on old snow will often mean that you need to navigate through groomed or packed slopes. These conditions do have a time and place and can certainly still be thrilling, but they tend to be much more predictable and offer less of a challenge. The snow may be compacted and slightly icy, requiring an adjusted technique and level of control. Skiers might find themselves focusing their attention on speed and carving turns precisely rather than throwing themselves into the freedom and playfulness that comes with deep powder skiing.
On the flip side, helicopter skiing opens the doors to an entirely different level of ski experience! As you fly above the majestic peaks and descend into untouched backcountry terrain, you enter a world of endless fluffy powder. The sensation of skiing through knee-deep or even waist-deep powdered snow is like floating on a cloud. The softness of the snow provides a unique cushioning effect, enabling you to make smoother turns and jumps while simultaneously minimising impact on the body.
Powdery snow also presents a distinct sense of adventure and challenge. Successfully navigating through untracked terrain will require careful balance, technique, and agility. Every turn becomes a dance with gravity, as you carve your path through the unspoiled snow. We can assure you, the sheer joy and sense of fulfilment you receive when finding the perfect line down a powder bowl or conquering a chute is indescribable.
On top of this, the visual spectacle as you make your own path down the mountain slopes, leaving behind freshly blazed tracks, is unparalleled. You acquire a real appreciation for the vistas around you and feel connected to the wilderness in a way that simply isn’t possible while skiing at a resort.
Helicopter Skiing: Impressive Spectacles
Since we are already on the topic of vistas, helicopter skiing provides a new level of awe-inspiring scenery too. While ski resorts boast their own unique charm and scenic beauty, the spectacle of helicopter skiing is on an entirely different level. To start with, the aerial views from the helicopter are truly unmatched. As you gain altitude and ascend to the mountaintops, you are presented with panoramic vistas of the alpine peaks, immense expanses of untouched wilderness, and sprawling winter landscapes that stretch out to the horizon.
Once you’ve been dropped off at the designated location, the spectacle only continues as you make your way down the immaculate backcountry slopes in the deep powdered snow. The sheer beauty of the snow-covered landscape, with its sparkling white expanses and the contrast against the rugged mountain backdrop, is a sight to behold.
In comparison, while many ski resorts have undeniably beautiful scenery, they tend to be much more developed and populated, with buildings, lifts, and other structures that take away from the natural beauty of the landscape. This man-made infrastructure can detract from the immersion and connectedness of being out in the wilderness. In all fairness, it is extremely hard to compete with the spectacle of helicopter skiing.
What Level Of Skiing Is Required For Helicopter Skiing?
A common misconception about heli skiing is that you need to be an expert-level skier to enjoy the sport. However, this is not the truth of it. It depends on where exactly you are wanting your adventure to take place – certain locations lend themselves more to experienced skiers and are more challenging, while others can easily facilitate intermediate-level skiers.
Our friendly team will help you decide on a location that best suits your skiing ability. The ‘Trip Finder’ tab on our website can also assist you in this endeavour. If we can offer a quick piece of advice, it is essential that you are realistic about the amount of skiing experience you have when planning a heli skiing trip. If you are not, it’s possible that you may end up feeling out of your depth with regard to the difficulty of the skiing terrain.
One aspect of helicopter skiing that is simpler than skiing at a resort is the lack of crowding on the slopes. It can be difficult to judge exactly where others are going on crowded resort slopes, and collisions are a regular occurrence. When heli skiing in the wilderness, this is not something you need to account for as it is just you, the skiing party, and your guides in the immediate vicinity.
We do recommend that you are a somewhat proficient skier, as this enables you to receive the full skiing experience and be able to truly appreciate the deep powder conditions. Ski resorts make for great practice and if you are a novice or first-time skier, they may lend themselves more to your current level. As thrilling as heli skiing is, safety is always the number one priority, and we want our customers to feel confident and comfortable on their excursions.
Helicopter Skiing: Some Tips And Tricks
It always helps to be prepared when trying new things, and heli skiing is no different. Below, we will cover a few simple pointers to ensure that your adventure goes off without a hitch!
Signals and Communication: Effective communication is hugely important when backcountry skiing – try to establish some clear signals to relay crucial information, like stopping, identifying hazards, or indicating safe zones. Of course, these will be explained in full by your party’s guides, but an awareness of the importance of this communication is still useful.
Refine Your Powder Skiing Techniques: Deep powder skiing requires specific techniques to maximise your enjoyment and performance. Try to practice keeping your weight centred, distributing it evenly on both skis. Utilise gentle, flowing movements when initiating turns, allowing the skis to glide over the top of the snow. Focus on keeping your upper body as relaxed as possible and allow your core and legs to do the brunt of the work.
Awareness and Group Dynamics: Try to remain aware of the group dynamics and ensure that you are aware of the skiers around you – even if there are only a few. Practice keeping a safe following distance from those around you to avoid collisions and ensure that everyone has an adequate amount of space to manoeuvre. Your guides will watch attentively to make sure that each group member is skiing safely and within their comfort zone.
Respect the Wilderness and Backcountry Ethics: Try to embrace an outlook of environmental stewardship and appreciation for the beauty around you. Respect the pristine natural surroundings and follow Leave No Trace principles. Avoid disturbing wildlife wherever possible, minimise your impact on the environment, and adhere to guidelines set by your heli skiing guides to preserve the wilderness for future adventurers.