We’re regularly asked by our prospective guests when the best time to heli ski is. It’s a very good question and we decided to help answer it in a series of two articles, offering our insight into when the best time is to heli ski, firstly in Canada and later, in Alaska.
As Mother Nature becomes even less predictable, often the most sensible thing to do when planning your heli ski holiday is to go for the dates that best suit you. However, there is normally a decision to be made and to help you on your way, here is our guide to help.
Canada boasts the longest heli skiing season of any heli ski destination with trips possible from the start of December to the end of April. Just ask anybody that lives there, the winters in Canada are long and hard! But when is the best time to heli ski? Really, working out the best time to heli ski depends on the type of skiing that you enjoy. We’ve therefore provided a quick synopsis of what to expect during the different times of year…
Early season (December/January): Heli skiing at the start of the season in Canada can produce some of the most sensational powder skiing on the planet as the snow storms tend to be big and the temperatures cold. Furthermore, with no layers to worry about, this is the time of year when you can luck-out and ski the ‘cold smoke’ bottomless powder. The down-side, days are shorter and sometimes the heli ski runs can be a bit shorter if the bottoms of the runs don’t have as much snow cover.
In terms of the skiing, you are more likely to be heli skiing in the trees at this time of year given the regularity of the storm cycles. That means that if you are looking for the ‘brochure shot’ of heli sking on a big, open Alpine slope then you may want to consider heli skiing later in the season. Talk to most heli skiing connoisseurs however, and the exhilarating tree skiing is their highlight!
Mid-season (February/ March): Traditionally this is ‘prime-time’ to heli ski in Canada as arguably you have the best of both worlds; consistently big snowfalls, relatively cold temperatures (good for keeping the powder dry and effortless to ski!), longer days and a deeper snow-pack. The flip-side? Well, there isn’t one really, except to say that it’s harder to book during this period because the demand is greatest and the prices are highest at this time of year.
On the skiing front, mid-season heli skiing tends to offer the best of both world’s; an ideal mix of high Alpine heli skiing when the conditions are good, along with some fantastic tree skiing in inclement weather.
End season (April): As the winter rolls-on the weather should get more settled with plenty of clear and long (lots of sunlight) days perfect for heli skiing. You’d be surprised as there is usually still plenty of new snow right up to the end of the season, but the warmer average temperatures may mean that you need to stay a little higher for the best conditions.
As for the skiing, end-season heli skiing is perfect for those looking to ski above the tree line is the wide, open slopes of powder that are begging to be skied! Towards the end of April you might be lucky enough to ski some corn snow (spring snow) on the south facing slopes, but you’ve always got the helicopter to whisk you up to the northerly slopes which should still have some lovely powder for you to ski. A more stable snowpack is usual for the end of the season, and if you are looking to ski the steeps then this is certainly the best time to go.
Canada Heli Ski Price Watch: our trips in Canada vary in price quite dramatically and you can pick-up a really good value trip if you are prepared to heli ski at the start or end of the season – in fact for heli ski trips during this time you can save yourself a whopping 40% compared to a peak season heli ski trip.
No matter what time of year you would like to heli ski, contact the off piste skiing and heli skiing experts at Pure Powder for any trips you may want to book!