by Jorg Wilz, CMH Heli-Skiing Guide
1) Am I booking a Heli-Assisted Ski Touring trip for the right reason?
Heli-Assisted ski touring is a great way to sample lots of incredible terrain in little time and gives you two to three times more downhill skiing than a conventional ski touring trip. BUT: If you don’t like walking uphill on skis and skins with the associated physical exercise and fatigue and if you don’t feel the magic of the winter mountain landscape and the cold wind in your face you might want to think twice. Even more so, if you choose heli-ski touring largely because it’s cheaper than heli-skiing, odds are, you’re better off booking a regular heli-skiing trip and spending the extra money.
2) I like hiking. Will I like heli-ski touring?
For ski touring beginners, if you like challenging hikes in the mountains and climbing peaks AND you love skiing, heli-assisted ski touring will be for you! It’s similar to hiking, only that the downhill part is a lot more fun and the mountains tend to be even more serene, quiet and overwhelmingly impressive than during the summer.
3) Am I fit enough?
Commonly, 6 hours of your average 8 hour day outside will be spend walking uphill on your skis and skins. It compares to hiking in the mountains, only that the incline is more regular than most hiking trails and it’s easier to dial into an economic walking rhythm. But in order to have fun, good cardio fitness is imperative. Train by doing runs that are at least 1 hour long, extended stair master sessions and long hikes with lots of uphill on the weekends. Or better: Go ski touring, if you live in the mountains.
4) Do I have enough stamina:
With the ski touring group, we commonly try to stay as far away from the heli-skiing program as possible in order to enjoy the quiet and ski a particular area just by ourselves. Many days, the “early return to the lodge” option that we commonly offer in heli-ski weeks does not exist and we’re out for the full day….regardless the weather.
5) Who else could I bring?
Ski touring with a group of friends is even more fun! The camaraderie being out there all day with just your own group and facing the challenges of a ski touring day together is hard to beat…….bring your friends!
Photo: Skinning Up Amid the Spires by Jorg Wilz