Heli-skiing is among the list of extreme sports where skiers are ferried by helicopter to mountain peaks. It is a recent variation of skiing that had recently caught on. Hans Gmoser pioneered this type of sport in the Canadian glaciers in 1955.
His idea was to use airplanes to ferry skiers to hard-to-reach areas in the Canadian glacier and ski down from there. However, it was during the 1970s that he shifted to helicopters, and the term heli-skiing was born. Through heli ski, people can enjoy a good skiing experience even during summer.
How much is a Heli-Skiing package?
A typical heli-skiing weekend can easily cost from $5,000 to $10,000. It’s not a casual sports escapade as many cannot afford the steep price. However, due to the unique and exhilarating experience, avid ski fans regularly plan heli ski weekends with a group of friends.
What do you expect when heli-skiing?
Most heli-skiing escapades involve a trip to Alaska. The unique mountainous glaciers in Alaska make heli-skiing a sport only for the experienced. A typical trip consists of lodging accommodation, complete with meals followed by a safety briefing with ski gear familiarization, then the actual tour to various glaciers.
A usual heli-skiing trip will have 6-10 ski drops in multiple locations.
Misconceptions of heli-skiing
A common misconception of heli-skiing is that skiers are dropped from a helicopter while in flight. That is not true. Typically, a group of skiers is ferried by a helicopter to a mountain peak. The aircraft will then land, allowing the skiers to get off where they will be skiing down.
Another misconception is that skiers will ski down gorges and cliffs. In reality, after you dropped off, a guide will assist a group of skiers down a relatively safe trail. Most drop-off points are already scouted beforehand and assessed for safety issues and risks.
Can anyone experience heli-skiing?
Heli-skiing is an extreme sport, and only those who have intermediate skiing skills are encouraged. Skiing down a mountainside is not for the amateur, and skiers are advised to train more before attempting heli-skiing. However, it does not mean that amateur skiers cannot experience this fantastic sport.
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Things to keep in mind when skiing
Here are a few tips to consider when planning a heli-skiing vacation.
- Always travel light. You do not need to pack a lot of stuff.
- Try your best to be physically and mentally fit before skiing.
- Wear a few layers of clothing both for protection against the cold and from possible bumps from crashing.
- Once on-site, get to know your guide.
- It is also best to travel along with friends. A shared experience of something as exciting as heli-skiing is priceless.
When is the best time to go heli-skiing?
Although you can enjoy heli-skiing practically throughout the year, it is still best to plan your trip either early April or late January. At this time, the temperature is relatively stable, and there are fewer storms and sudden changes in weather. Also, most heli-skiing resorts have a group of trained guides/scouts ready to ensure the safety and welfare of visitors.