Going where the helicopter cannot: Heli-Assisted Ski Touring
Of all the questions that heli-skiers are asked about the sport of heli-skiing, they are never more inquisitive than when we talk about Heli-Assisted Ski Touring.
At first, Heli-Assisted Ski Touring seems like a contradiction in terms, and my friends give me the most confused look when I mention the idea. But the expression on their faces is priceless as they begin to visualize the potential.
It goes something like this:
Start the day with a helicopter flight out of the warmth and friendly comfort of a CMH Lodge to a lofty summit above a glorious morning ski run:
Begin the day with a frolicsome ride:
At the bottom of the run, click into touring mode, put climbing skins on your skis for uphill traction, and let your skilled guide take you on the tour of a lifetime.
Snowboarders with spliboards do just as well (and smile just as much) as skiers with backcountry gear:
By not having to deal with approach bushwhacking, camping, or making it to the car at the end of the day, we are able to spend the entire day in the kind of terrain that dreams are made of:
Between the healthful uphill exercise and the epic downhill fun, the ski touring buzz is one part endorphins and one part meditation. The smiles tell the story best:
At the end of the day, the helicopter returns and like magic lands us back at the lodge for massages, spa therapy on the tired legs, and an evening of that one-of-a-kind CMH alpine hospitality:
The next day? Do it all over again.
One of the best parts of Heli-Assisted Ski Touring is that it is equally appropriate for experienced backcountry skiers as well as for newcomers to the backcountry scene. Groups often split into smaller groups (each group with its own guide) to seek out the right challenge and experience for the skiers and snowboarders.
With backcountry skiing being the fastest growing outdoor sport, Heli-Assisted Ski Touring is quickly gaining popularity. And for good reason: by using the helicopter and CMH know-how, we can ski and snowboard where backcountry touring groups never go; and by using ski touring gear we are able to go where Heli-Skiers cannot go.
This coming winter, CMH Heli-Assisted Ski Touring weeks are planned for the Admants, Cariboos and Bugaboos. In recent years, CMH has hosted Heli-Assisted Ski Touring groups in Galena, Revelstoke, Bobbie Burns, Bugaboos Adamants and the Monashees. While the scheduled weeks are great for individuals and small groups, CMH also hosts custom Heli-Assisted Ski Touring trips to any CMH area at any time provided that lodging space and guide availability can accommodate the trip.
Contact CMH Reservations at (800) 661-0252 to learn more about Heli-Assisted Ski Touring.
Photos courtesy CMH Ski Guides and archives.