So the fears had subsided (read Part 1 for how I left my Valium at home) and a thorough safety demonstration was followed by a delicious lunch. Then it was time to boot up and get ready for some afternoon heli skiing!
I was particularly lucky that our group was being lead by the infamous Roko Koell, one of CMH’s most experienced guides and creator of CMH’s Powder Introduction course. He might have had a name to rival Keyser Söze, but was incredibly patient, automatically putting us all at ease. We also had 20cm of fresh powder to enjoy – a welcome surprise!
What followed is a hazy memory of long powder runs and what felt like an IV drip of adrenalin. Starting off gently, they often take the Powder Introduction group down an alternative line in order to get your ski legs and build confidence. With guides at the front and back you also feel nicely cushioned from any dangers that may lurk around the corner. By day three however, the group had picked up their pace. With the snow dumping down we were taken into the trees for visibility reasons – one of the bonuses of having such varied terrain to choose from – where I channelled my inner James Bond and skied like never before! Large alpine runs merged into rollercoaster riverbeds, but not once did I feel unsafe or out of control…I was too busy having fun.
CMH heli skiing operate an amazing service considering you are over 4 hours from civilisation. You’re met with hearty soups and carb-infused lunches and an equally impressive spread when you’re back from your day of skiing, including one night of sushi and Thai noodles served on a snowboard. The CMH lodges also never consists of more than 44 skiers (3 groups of 11 and 1 group of 10 for the Powder Introduction course) meaning you meet guests from all over the world who share a passion for skiing.
On my return, the questions asked by my contemporaries mainly centred round the twin cornices of ability and safety. I always reply that I only ever doubted the former, and only for a Bugaboo minute. You have to trust the excellent safety record of CMH Heli Skiing and just enjoy what cannot fail to be an unforgettable experience.
Stick to your cars Jeremy, leave the skiing to those that can.