The Heli-Ski Blog

4 Helicopter Skiing Misperceptions

Posted by Jane Carswell on Jan 8, 2010 3:59:00 PM

In the world of Helicopter Skiing there are some pretty common misperceptions:

1)    Guests jump out of a hovering helicopter with their skis on and race off down near-vertical ski runs as fast as lightning.
2)    Heli-Skiing is ‘Extreme Skiing” where everyone is jumping off cliffs and racing through trees.
3)    Heli-Skiers are typically uber-fit male millionaires.
4)    Heli-Skiing is for experts only
RE Big Apple, Topher Donahue

Like I said…Misperceptions.

In the world of heli-skiing, guests do not jump out of helicopters.   Our pilots find wide ridges where there is enough space to comfortably land and unload the helicopter and no one gets out until the guide's two feet are on the ground. There’s no need to rush when the pilot drops the group off and you have the chance to enjoy the view before clicking into your bindings and heading off.

Helicopter Skiing is not extreme skiing and safety is the #1 priority at CMH. The Columbia mountains, where we ski, are vast and varied.  There is an excellent selection of steep tree runs, wide open glacier skiing and everything in between.  We have enough terrain to ensure that each group of skiers is skiing the kind of terrain they are comfortable in. If you want to jump off cliffs – Go For It!  

Well it is true that you need to have a certain level of fitness, uber-fitness is not required.  If you ski frequently you will be OK, but if you are looking for some extra pointers on how to get tuned up to get the most from your heliski vacation, visit this blog often.  We’ve teamed up with Exercise Physiologist Delia Roberts to bring you some ‘Fit Tips’ to keep you skiing happily for the duration of your trip.

And no, not all heli-skers are Male. Last year at CMH over 20% of our guest were female. Over the last 45 years we have hosted hundreds of female heli-skiers so we’ve come up with a list of Q&A for Women Heli-Skiers to help you overcome any hesitation.  

Millionaires? Great if you are, but you don’t have to be to ski with CMH. We offer Heli-Skiing from $1175/day and while that seems to be more than a day at Vail we suggest you read this article from G.D. Maxwell (see pages 2 & 3) that initially ran in in January of 2005.

Experts only? I asked Marty von Neudegg, who has worked here at CMH for more than 20 years, about this one and here’s what he had to say:

“If you are a strong intermediate skier you are good enough to come Heli-Skiing.  By “strong intermediate” we mean that you must be good enough to handle the terrain at your home area in control in various snow conditions.  You do not need to have had any powder skiing experience at all.  Skiing in powder is the easy part and you do not need to worry about that!  If you are reasonably fit, have a good understanding of how your skis and body work together, know how it feels to ski on various pitches and you are comfortable committing to the fall line of a ski run, ski 15-20 days a year or more, then you are most likely ready to come heli-skiing.”

Still unsure.  I have two more resources for you.  The First Timers section on our website will answer a few more questions for you.  But if you are serious, and curious, then I suggest you call and talk to one of our Heli-Ski Experts.  Our Reservations team will give you the best advice for you to make an informed decision.  My guess?  In the end, you’ll come heli-skiing.  Because you can.

Topics: CMH, heli-skiing