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5 Things to Keep in Mind on a Women's Heli-Ski Trip

  
  
  

by Becca Blay

What is more intimidating than getting on a chairlift with a group of male skiers?
Women's Heli-Ski Trips at CMH
How about getting in a helicopter with a group of male skiers?  When I arrived at Valemount Lodge, I had no idea what to expect.  From first time heli-skier and a woman’s perspective, here are five helpful tips that I would like to share with you to prepare you for your trip.  

I learned very quickly, that there is a huge difference between skiing in a resort on groomers and entering into the backcountry in deep powder, surrounded by pure, untamed wilderness via a helicopter.  On top of being out of my comfort zone, I was with a group of 6 male “million footers,” which in Heli-skiing world, means you’re a veteran.  Myself, and three of my girlfriends were entering uncharted territory, and an adventure that I will never forget.

How quickly you forget about the small stuff after the first run.  The little things that seemed to cause me so much anxiety were gone.  The experience was nothing like I had expected.  Heli-skiing is so much bigger than anything that I had ever imagined.  That said, it is not an environment that breeds competition, so it didn’t matter what gender I was.  In fact, the bond that it creates is one that will last a life-time between you and those that share the experience with you.  

So, from my perspective, being a woman heli-skier was nothing but positive and amazing.  I will, however, share some helpful secrets that I learned along the way:

  • Safety first.  Ask as many questions as you need to and always designate a partner to ski with.  Stay with your partner.
  • Peeing in the woods.  The best way to “use the ladies room” while heli-skiing is to keep your skis on, and sit back using the support of the back of your boots to keep you up.  This might be hard on your knees, if so, wrap your arms around your knees for support.  
  • Layer.  It’s simple, on the top, sports bra, thin Icebreaker base layer, lightweight Arc'teryx fleece, Arcteryx shell.  Bottoms, knee high socks, Icebreaker long underwear and Arc'teryx shell pants.
  • Make sure to tie your hair back so that it is out of the way.  Braids and ponytails are great.  Trust me; nobody cares about how you look out there.
  • Make sure that you have a hood on your jacket.  The snow that blows around you as the helicopter lifts offs and touches down can be a bit blustery and you want to be able to stay warm in the heli-huddle.

What about you? Do you have a few tips to share?

Comments

Great tips!
Posted @ Friday, March 05, 2010 2:08 PM by TRacy
From the male perspective, I agree with all you say. Once on the hill, we are all equals; there to have a great time, skiing the finest snow on Earth and making friends that last a lifetime. 
 
 
 
What you left out, well, maybe you did hint at it, is that female CMH skiers still tend to be rare. As such, post skiing, how blessed they are to be the center of attention. a female heliskier is welcome at any lodge!
Posted @ Wednesday, March 10, 2010 5:03 PM by Hank Brandtjen
I needed this info one week earlier than posted! Especially the peeing part. I'm a slightly prissier female so I kept a few kleenexes tucked in an outside pocket in a zip top bag (to bring back). As one of two women (the other far more accomplished) skiing the previous week in Revelstoke, I completely agree that gender was not a consideration while heli-skiing. Guides and group members treated me as a equally competent member and we all quickly developed a sense of responsibility not only for each other's safety but also to reflect each others exhilaration.
Posted @ Wednesday, March 10, 2010 8:24 PM by Erica McDonnell
Remember.... NEVER use any part of the helicopter to rid your boot of snow.
Posted @ Tuesday, August 31, 2010 9:22 AM by Judy Wade-Bell
Comments have been closed for this article.