The Heli-Ski Blog

CMH in Denver and Joel Gratz on Boulder precipitation trends

Posted by Topher Donahue on Sep 27, 2013 2:14:00 PM

Colorado is ready to ski!

Last night, CMH rocked Denver, Colorado. (Or maybe it was the other way around.) In either case, I headed to CMH Heli-Skiing’s Take Flight show in Denver last night hardly thinking about skiing, and today that’s all I can think about.

joel gratzMaybe it was Open Snow meteorologist Joel Gratz’s presentation on long range snowfall predictions (which he prefaced by saying that long range snowfall predictions are terrible). But he dug into old records and found that after Boulder’s five wettest Septembers, the winter that followed was above average or significantly above average for Colorado Snowfall!  Even Joel was shocked at the correlation, and with Boulder just finishing its wettest September on record, Colorado skiers might want to get some fatter skis!

Perhaps my skiphoria this morning is because of Chris Davenport’s inspiring presentation showing him going deep at CMH Valemount last winter and raving about just how darn much fun it is to ski – any kind of skiing.

Both Chris and Joel are hosting trips to CMH this winter – although after last night I don’t know if there are any spaces left. Give CMH reservations a call ASAP at 1 (800) 661-0252 to snag the last spaces with these two powder legends in Canada for a Heli-Ski trip.

It could have been being surrounded by 300 of Colorado’s most inspired skiers and snowboarders, from muscular 20 year olds with their baseball caps on sideways, to fit 60 year olds in leather.

Then there was the full length Take Flight movie, which is riveting. The sequences of powder skiing and snowboarding are good enough that you can almost feel the snow crystals bouncing off your goggles; some of the best snow texture and snow experience footage I’ve ever seen. I think the faces on the crowd in this photo pretty much agree:

denver ski crowd

icelanticOr it was the irrepressible stoke of the guy who won a pair of powder skis from Icelantic in the free gear drawing.

Then there’s the cold temperatures and fresh snow falling on the peaks this morning.

Whatever the reason, I can’t stop thinking about skiing today, and my suspicions are that it’s a combination of all of the above.

Thanks CMH, Joel and Chris for the incredible show in Denver last night. Thanks to the crowd for the psyche and the generous donations to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center.



Only Sasquatch seemed grumpy, but maybe that's because he didn't win the skis.

Sasquatch girls

Two wrap it up, we threw down on the rooftop of Battery 621 under the cooling Colorado skies that prefaced today's early winter storm.

red bull DJ

Wanna get stoked and Take Flight with CMH Heli-Skiing? This is just the beginning…

Join us in Washington DC at the US Navy Memorial on October 9 (RSVP here), Seattle, WA on November 5, or New York, NY on November 21.

Photos by Topher Donahue and Mike Arzt.

Topics: Ski Heroes, CMH Heli-Skiing, CMH Valemount, Skis, CMH Experts, Announcements, Snowboarding

K2 Demo Days at CMH- The Evolution of Skiing

Posted by John Entwistle on Apr 1, 2013 10:09:00 AM

CMH K2 has played host to some of the most progressive heli-ski trips in the world this year. Among the most progressive has to be the K2 Demo Days. Why, you ask? That would be because these are trips that actually progress the sport of skiing. With a team of engineers from K2 Skis, armed with a fleet of prototype skis, and a large crew of guests and staff to test them to the max, it is guaranteed to produce something special.

This year, the first K2 demo trip had beyond epic conditions. With a huge amount of snow, skiers were finding it hard to carry enough speed down the runs to make it to the pickups. It was truly one of those legendary B.C. interior snow storms.

DSC 4244 resized 600 -The deepest of deep- CMH K2

Because of the over-the-head deep conditions, one of the most popular skis at the demo days was the brand new K2 Mon2oon. A ski derived from the extremely popular Pon2oon, but with a little more floatation. This ski incorporates some of the very latest in ski technology – powder specific tip, medial body fusion, progressive sidecut, SBS (Side-by-Side) binding mounts, and tip and tail holes for climbing skins (yeah right… Which way to the heli?). The powder specific tip cut seamlessly through even the deepest of snow. The deepest of snow required the widest of platforms for the skier to push off of. The 264mm waist provides that platform that deep snow skiers are looking for. “The use of medial body fusion allows us to create a ski that is wider than anything previously seen in the ski industry", said Andy Hytjian, K2 Ski Engineer. The SBS binding mounts allow the skier to attach both bindings to the same platform, allowing for optimal floatation. 

Mon2oon scenic resized 600

If you think this sounds like CMH and K2 have developed a monoski, you are 100% correct. Bringing back a failed experiment from the 80’s the new Mon2oon will be phased in over five years as the official new ski of CMH Heli-Skiing, replacing the entire fleet. The first prototypes will be put in to use today, April 1, 2013. And yes, hope you had a laugh, it is April 1st! 

CMH K2 Demo Days
-Mon2oons sure would have come in handy here!

Topics: CMH K2, Skis, For Fun, K2 Skis

The Best Skis For The Best Skiing- 2011/2012

Posted by John Entwistle on Nov 9, 2011 3:10:00 PM

There is a saying in the ski world: "A skier without skis, is simply walking". Alright... I just made that up, but seriously! The most important piece of equipment for all skiers has to be the one thing that makes the sport what it is: skis. Here at CMH, we like to make sure that you have the best possible equipment for the job while navigating your first gladed run, getting your first face shot, hitting your first million foot milestone, or shralping the gnar with Dave Gauley out at the steep camps in the Cariboos.

Ski technology is coming pretty close to providing us with the perfect ski; the one that can do it all. But in reality, at CMH we don't care about ice, hard pack, or how perfect the ridges are in the corduroy (what happens between you and your après attire is none of our business!)... We only care about what will ultimately keep you somewhat afloat in the great sea of white. We are currently working with some engineers and ski designers from Atomic to create what is going to be deemed as "the ultimate heli-ski". Though details are limited as of right now, word from our  laboratory in a top secret location (The Monashees, 142Km North of Revelstoke in B.C., Canada) is that we can expect something by next year! For this year, we have a ROCKIN' lineup from K2 skis that gets us more excited than we've ever been before!

So you are excited about heli-skiing, you've booked your trip (or you better get on it!), and the snow is starting to fly. Here are some of the options you have to look forward to this winter:


K2 Coomback resized 600K2 COOMBAck  All-Terrain Rocker          135/102/121  Radius: 22m @ 174

Heli’s, cats, skinning or lifts, the Coomback  is equally versatile, balancing the lightweight attributes of a Back model with the confidence and performance characterized by many side models. This is the ski you’ll see a myriad of bindings on: alpine, tele, super light touring and more descent focused touring.

Performance: 50% Powder / 50% Variable                             

Sizes: 167, 174, 181cm                                   

Construction: Triaxial Braided, Cap, Fir/Aspen


SideStashK2 SideStash  All-Terrain Rocker           139/108/127  Radius: 25m @ 181

Whether tracking out your secret stash in bounds or heading out the backcountry gate to harvest week-old pow, the SideStash is the perfect ski. With a longer rise for 2011/12, the All-Terrain shovel rocker provides even more floatation and predictability to flash wide-open slopes and the nimbleness required to charge tight chutes. When the snow is all tracked out, the powerful metal-laminate construction delivers a smooth, damp, and stable ride as you confidently blast through leftover crud.

Performance: 70% Powder / 30% Variable                           

Sizes: 167, 174, 181, 188                                  

Construction: Metal TNC, Hybritech Sidewall, Aspen/Paulownia


pon2oonK2 Pon2oon  Powder Rocker                   157/132/122 @ 179cm   Radius: 30m @ 179

Designed with the same philosophy of slaying powder easier, faster and with less effort, the all-new 2011 / 2012 Pon2oon is rockered in the tip and tail and features a redesigned Powder tip and a non twin tip Progressive Powder tail. While the ski has similar pivot performance to it’s predecessor, it now comes with more predictable turn initiation and added breaking power in the tail. The dimensions on the Pon2oon increase as the ski gets longer in length, maxing out at a whopping 134mm underfoot in the 189cm size. Get out your snorkel!

Performance: 90% Powder / 10% Variable                           

Sizes: 159, 169, 179, 189                                        

Construction: Triaxial Braided, Cap, Fir/Aspen


Women’s specific skis:

k2 gotbackK2 GotBack  All-Terrain Rocker             135/102/121   Radius: 20m @ 167

If you thought big waists weren’t sexy, think again. The GotBack packs 102 mm under her belt and is proud of every millimeter. Though no longer the biggest gal in the neighborhood, the GotBack is clearly the most versatile. Lighter and more playful, she’s just as happy going for long walks in the backcountry as she is painting smooth arcs in an open bowl or dancing through tight trees . She says it’s due to her All-Terrain shovel rocker and Bioflex wood core, but I think she’s just being modest.

Performance: 50% Powder / 50% Variable                           

Sizes:  153, 160, 167                                                      

Construction: Triaxial Braided, Cap, Aspen/Paulownia/Bamboo - Bioflex 2

atomic centuryATOMIC  Century:  Powder Rocker          128.5/100/120.5 Radius: 18m @ 166cm

The Century is ATOMIC's premium powder ski for women and its extra Power Rocker 10 delivers an especially uplifting experience in powder snow. Its 100 mm waist width and Powder Rocker ensure optimum lift, while the Step Down 2L sidewall construction and tip-to-tail wood core cushion shocks and hard landings. But freeskiers can enjoy much more than just effortless powder forays: thanks to a pronounced camber in the binding area, the Century also delivers optimum edge grip and precision control on hard snow. The Century is ideal for female skiers looking for a ski which is both effortless and easy to manoeuver in powder snow.        

Sizes: 156, 166             






What's All This Rocker Talk About?

 All-Terrain Rocker : All-Terrain Rocker features an elevated tip for variable and soft snow performance, as well as camber underfoot for power, energy, and edge-hold in firmer conditions.
Simply put, All-Terrain Rocker offers versatility and ease in all snow conditions.

 Powder Rocker:  This tip has the most elevation and longest measurement of Rocker and offers skiers a “surfy” feel with enhanced soft-snow performance. The camber region still exists to ensure edge-hold on firmer conditions.                                                                                                                                  Simply put, Powder Rocker provides unmatched flotation in deep snow.



Topics: Skiing, Skis, Gear, Announcements

Rocker Ski Technology: Changing the Heli-Ski Experience

Posted by Mark Piquette on Sep 22, 2010 1:08:00 PM

Rocker Technology changing heli-skiing

Aaron Ambuske, VP Global Product Development for K2 Skis, gave CMH the skinny on how adding rocker to skis has pushed skiing forward.

Rocker technology has changed the skiing experience in powder forever. 
The concept of rocker on skis was first explained to me by Shane McConkey.  In his typical passionate tone, he explained that skiing powder is more similar to traveling through fluid.  Surfboards have had rocker for years, since they are designed for water.  He continued to explain how traditional camber skis do the opposite of what a powder skier wants.  Camber pushes the tips into the snow and forces a skier to sit back to get the tips to rise out of the snow.  This all made sense to me during that first fateful conversation with Shane, and it became more apparent as we began testing prototypes with rocker over five years ago.

Through our testing and development of hundreds of skis with rocker, the benefits of rocker have become very clear to all of us at K2.  Rocker lifts the tips out of the snow, so a skier does not need to lean back to feel balanced on skis in powder.  Since the tips have a natural curvature up, the fluid snow (powder) contacts the base of the skis and forces the tips upward.  The skis want to rise out of the snow.  With the tips out of the snow and the skier in a balanced position, it is so much easier to turn the skis back and forth to reduce your speed or change directions.  Skiers make turns more by pivoting than driving the tips into the turn.  This gives a powder skier much more confidence and security on a powder slope. 

During our week of testing at CMH Monashees last year, we introduced many skiers to the benefits of rocker.  We had 35 pairs of prototype skis, and they all had rocker.  Most of our skis were wider than the traditional powder skis in the CMH fleet.  The wider widths and rocker scared away many of the traditional skiers during the first day of testing, but it was amazing to see the light bulbs go on as people witnessed the testers skiing with more ease and control in the soft and variable conditions.  By the second and third days, we were having a hard time getting everyone on the widest skis with the most rocker, since they were in such high demand.  Guides were constantly commenting that the prototypes were allowing the groups to stay out longer.  In the evening, we’d sit with the testers and debrief their skis from the day and recommend skis to test for the next day.  It was very rewarding as a ski designer to hear the positive feedback about the prototypes.  It was unanimous that the skis with rocker were easier to ski and people were gaining more confidence every day.  The guides’ feedback was also rewarding.  As everyone knows, they are amazing skiers and were elevating their skiing and speeds to higher levels with the rockered skis.


Aaron Ambuske, VP Global Product Development, started as a Ski Design Engineer at K2 Skis 12 years ago.  Before K2, he developed products for Life Link Int’l.  Aaron feels fortunate to be in a position where he can combine his passion for skiing with his technical background to bring innovative products to market.

Topics: Skis, Gear, K2 Demo Weeks