The Adventure

5 Questions Heli-Hikers Ask About Heli-Skiing

Posted by Jane Carswell on Wed, Sep 14, 2011

Through July, August and early September our team of professional mountain guides explore the Bobbie Burns and Bugaboo ranges with a variety of hikers, walkers, trekkers and observers from around the world.  As our guests absorb the majesty of the area and the remoteness of the experience, the questions start to flow.

How does Heli-Skiing work?Invariably, someone in the group asks the guide "What do you do in the winter?" and the response is "I'm a heli-ski guide right here in the Bugaboos." "Heli-Skiing?" they ask...and then the conversation continues like this:

How does heli-skiing work?

Well, we follow more or less the same principles as Heli-Hiking.  We divide guests up based on ski ability and set them up with one our guides.  Each morning, after a hearty breakfast, we fly out from the lodge to the mountains and enjoy anywhere between 8-13 "helicopter flight up/ ski down" rotations. At the end of the day, guests return to the lodge for massage, cocktails and dinner before a fantastic sleep.

Do you have to be an expert skier?

Guests are surprised when the answer to this question is "No." Roko Koell, CMH's "Dean of Deep Powder" and the mastermind behind our Powder University, answers this question perfectly in his post "Are you a good enough skier to enjoy Heli-Skiing?".  In summary, if you are a confident skier at any ski resort and can venture into some black diamond terrain and you ski between 7-20 days a season, you're likely ready for our Intro to Powder Program.

How much snow do you get?

Snow depth at CMH Heli-SkiingMany guests are surprised when we answer this question because when you are hiking in the mountains of British Columbia, it's hard to fathom that in 6 months there will be 2.5-3.5 metres (8 -11 feet) of snow and another 15-20 centimetres falling every day.  Revelstoke is not known as the Epicentre of Deep Powder Skiing for nothing!

Do you have avalanches while Heli-Skiing?

Yes, we do. There is an element of risk that comes with heli-skiing.  At CMH we put guest (and staff) safety at the top of our list of priorities.  All of our heli-skiers are trained in the use of an avalanche tranciever and carry a radio to communicate with other skiers in the group as well as the guide.  Each lodge has on staff a Snow Safety Guide who evaluates the snowpack, asseses avalanche hazards and collects weather and snow information to be shared with all CMH Heli-Skiing areas and the Canadian Avalanche Association. This information is used each day to determine where the groups will heli-ski.

How much does Heli-Skiing cost?

At CMH Heli-Skiing, our specialty is multi-day heli-ski trips.  We do not offer day-skiing.  Our heli-skiing trips start at $3,450 per person and go up to almost $200,000 (for a group of 1-10).  But like any other bucket-list experience you need to consider what you get for $3,450 so we urge you to review this list of 15 Things to Consider Before Booking a Heli-Ski Trip.

And sometimes, we have a guest ask us "Is it worth it?"  Ask anyone who's done it and the answer is a resounding "Hell Yeah!"

Do you have other questions about Heli-Skiing?  Feel free to ask us here and our Heli-Ski Experts will be happy to answer your questions.

Tags: CMH Guides, CMH Heli-Skiing