Helicopter Skiing

Commonly-Asked Questions About Helicopter Skiing

Our Pure Powder team is frequently approached with a few different questions concerning helicopter skiing. We understand that without any previous knowledge of helicopter skiing and what it entails, it can seem daunting and possibly even dangerous.

However, this is not the reality of the situation, and we would like to provide some answers to our most frequently asked questions about helicopter skiing!

Join us as we demystify the sport and cover some of the incredible skiing adventures that await you when you book your heli ski trip through Pure Powder.

Small group heli skiing

What Is Helicopter Skiing?

Helicopter skiing is simply known as ‘heli skiing’ to those that are familiar with it, and it refers to off-piste, downhill skiing that takes place in remote parts of the wilderness. The defining characteristic of this sport is that these remote locations are accessed using a helicopter – hence the term ‘heli skiing’.

The purpose of this is to access slopes that would otherwise be unreachable or extremely tough to get to. It also eliminates the tediousness of busy resorts and long queues when skiing, as you end up exactly where you need to be to set off on run after run of untouched, powder snow.

Why Is Helicopter Skiing Banned?

The answer to this will depend on where you are in the world – this type of skiing is banned in a few places, including France, Norway, and Japan, primarily due to environmental reasons. The overall emissions of the helicopter skiing industry are relatively small in comparison to other major sources of greenhouse gases. However, when compared to other mountain sports, the emissions are higher, and it is for this reason that certain countries have decided to ban the sport. Other reasons include noise complaints and safety concerns depending on the location.

Is Helicopter Skiing An Extreme Sport?

This might just be the question we are most frequently asked, and the short answer is no. The longer answer is that some individuals would consider it an extreme sport, but this ultimately depends on the terrain and the kind of skiing experience that has been tailored for you. This type of skiing does however come with its own set of dangers, and one needs to take precautions to ensure the safety of those partaking in the adventure.

However, the idea of skiers jumping directly out of a helicopter and landing on uncomfortably steep slopes is thankfully not true! The helicopter allows our customers to access parts of the wilderness that would have been unreachable otherwise. Beyond this, heli skiing is not all that different from typical backcountry skiing and one does not need to be an expert-level skier to enjoy the sport.


What Sort Of Helicopter Skiing Equipment Is Necessary?

The equipment you will use on any given heli skiing adventure will depend on a few different factors. The location, conditions, and snow type are all important considerations. We have an Equipment section on our website where we provide some recommendations with a few trusted brands. With that being said, here are a few skiing equipment essentials:

High-Quality Powder Skis – A pair of skis that you can trust, designed specifically for backcountry use will be critical for successfully traversing varied snow conditions and difficult terrain. These skis are wider than traditional downhill skis and provide extra floatation and stability in deep snow.

Boots – Regular downhill ski boots work perfectly for heli skiing, although some of our guests do prefer to ski in their ski touring boots, which also works. The most important thing to bear in mind is that we can’t provide ski boots so you must bring your own.

Avalanche Safety Equipment – This can include a collapsible probe, an avalanche transceiver, and a shovel. These tools are extremely important for locating and rescuing an individual that may have been trapped in the snow. On the vast majority of our trips you will be provided with these as standard, at no extra cost.

Helmet – You could say that the helmet is the most crucial piece of equipment you will carry with you on any skiing adventure. It will protect you against head injuries in the case of a fall or accident. You may also find it is required to validate your travel insurance – we recommend checking!

Sunglasses and Skiing Goggles – Proper eye protection is critical when shielding against glare, snow, wind, and UV rays. Goggles and sunglasses with appropriate lenses for various light conditions are recommended – Goggles tend to work best for powder skiing. We recommend investing in a decent pair of goggles to ensure that you avoid lens fogging which can really ruin your ski day.

Layered Ski Clothing – Ensuring that you dress with ample layers allows for much easier temperature regulation throughout the day. We recommend a moisture-wicking base layer, mid-layers with adequate insulation, and a breathable, waterproof outer shell for the best experience.

Gloves – Insulated and waterproof gloves or mittens are essential to protect your hands from cold temperatures and provide enough grip on the equipment. Gloves with long sleeves work best as they ensure snow doesn’t get into your jacket.

Communication Device – Making sure to carry a fully-charged cell phone or two-way radio is very important when heli skiing. You will want to remain in contact with the guides and other members of the group.

When you book your trip through Pure Powder, you can be sure that we will pair you up with heli skiing experts who will be able to provide all the equipment you need to succeed on the slopes.


Is Helicopter Skiing Dangerous?

Heli skiing can be viewed as a dangerous sport due to the inherent risks associated with skiing in challenging, remote backcountry terrain. Variable snow conditions, avalanches, steep slopes, and changing weather conditions can add to this risk. However, the risks are no different than what you can expect from a regular off-piste skiing excursion, and in many ways are less, as you will be guided by a very experienced team with decades of experience behind them

The level of danger is minimised where possible by adhering to proper safety measures, heeding the advice of your experienced guides, and sticking to backcountry skiing protocols. You can rest assured that when you book a trip with Pure Powder you are receiving the best of the best with regards to safety. Ultimately, heli skiing can be a thrilling and extremely rewarding experience, but it does require caution, preparedness, and a respect for the unpredictable nature of the mountain environment.

Helicopter Skiing In Canada

Pure Powder has a close and longstanding partnership with CMH, who are widely considered to be the best ski operators in the world! There are a multitude of incredible lodges to choose from scattered across the expanse of the interior British Columbian mountain ranges. With an impressive collection of exclusive terrain at your disposal, there truly is something for everyone when you decide on Canada for your next heli skiing adventure.

The vast nature of this terrain allows skiers of different skill levels to enjoy the slopes without worry. CMH was the first to properly explore these expanses and so they have been able to handpick ideal locations for deep powder skiing. All in all, it is an unforgettable experience that will stick with you for a long time to come. Have a look at our website where we cover some of the remote lodges in British Columbia and perhaps you will discover the perfect location for your purposes.

Helicopter Skiing In Europe

Indulge yourself in fully customised off-piste skiing experiences within many of the world-renowned Alpine destinations. At Pure Powder, we aim to utilise the expertise of exceptional local guides and discover some of the hidden pockets of deep powder – these locations often make for some unprecedented skiing conditions. Europe boasts an impressive variety of skiing terrain, ranging from expansive meadows in Klosters to steep and narrow couloirs in Chamonix.

Perhaps you are interested in checking out what the slopes are like in Sweden? Or maybe the allure of the steep Icelandic couloirs is more appealing to you? We pride ourselves on offering a range of experiences and, regardless of what it is you are seeking, we can assist you in making your dream a reality.

Whether you are new to off-piste skiing and looking to experience the excitement of untouched powder slopes, or you are a veteran seeking thrilling new challenges – our excellent selection of off-piste excursions in Europe has something for everyone. These meticulously-crafted adventures have been tailored to cater to your specific powder skiing preferences, offering ample flexibility. If you have not yet experienced the wonders of backcountry skiing in Europe, we highly recommend that you give it a go.


What Is The Heli Skiing Death Rate?

When talking about the death rate of heli skiing, it is crucial to recognise the inherent risks that come with regular skiing. With that being said, accurate statistics and information on heli skiing fatalities or accidents are challenging to acquire. This is because they are not consistently compiled or available across distinct jurisdictions and operators. Additionally, the number of people participating in heli skiing will vary each year, making it tough to calculate exact rates.

While it is true that fatal accidents can occur when skiing, it is also important to note that precautions and safety measures have taken a massive step forward in recent years. The reputable and reliable helicopter ski operators that we choose to partner with heavily prioritise safety and conduct thorough risk assessments before excursions. Essentially, all the necessary steps are taken to minimise any risk that is involved.

Our latest research indicates that the risk of heli skiing in Canada is approximately equal to driving a car for a year in North America.

All in all, while this kind of skiing does come with risk, responsible and clued-up operators like those we deal with, along with well-informed participants can substantially mitigate these dangers.

Best Heli Skiing In The World

If you ask different people what the best skiing experience in the world is, you will more than likely receive several different answers. As we mentioned earlier, CMH has been voted the best helicopter ski operator on the planet – so if you would like to base it on that then you certainly would not be wrong. However, it entirely depends on exactly what it is that you are looking for.

Perhaps you are looking for miles and miles of untouched skiing terrain with steep slopes and immaculate vistas. Or an impressively luxurious lodge with conveniently short travel times from the UK? If this applies to you, then you might find that our Iceland helicopter skiing adventure is the best in the world according to your tastes. With the Deplar farm as your home base and an amazing variety of activities to engage in, you could easily make the claim that it is.


Or maybe you are wanting an adventure in the Southern Hemisphere? With over 1 million acres of exclusive terrain at your disposal and some excellent powdery snow, our friends in Chile bring a lot to the table. The Andean peaks make for an unforgettable skiing experience and it is hard to argue with the great food, delicious wine, and accommodating Chilean culture that is part and parcel with this adventure.

We could go on and on about the variety of experiences you have at your fingertips when you choose to partner up with Pure Powder. Our many years in the industry have allowed us to develop some of the most incredible ski excursions and we are proud to offer these adventures to our customers. Have a look at the Trip Finder tab on our website to help you pick out the perfect heli ski experience for you.

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