Everything You Need To Know Before Heli Skiing For The First Time
Heli-skiing is an adventurous activity and involves skiing or snowboarding in remote and unmarked wilderness areas accessed only by helicopter. The snow is often very deep and having experience in powder, although not essential, is a highly recommended prerequisite.
You need to be mentally and physically prepared for varying conditions and long days before entering the backcountry. You must have good judgment, strong listening skills, and be able to make smart decisions about when and where to ski based on the current conditions and the directions of your guide(s).
Snow conditions range from bottomless powder to crud, to crust and ice as we move between runs and ski zones. Ski terrain can vary from mellow to steep and from spectacular wide-open alpine to tight trees.
Skiers should be able to make strong and controlled parallel turns with confidence and, if the situation calls for it, you need to be able to side slip, step up and sideways, traverse, and make kick turns.
Snowboarders need to be able to maintain balanced pressure and must be able to link controlled turns from their heel edge to toe edge. It is important that snowboarders look ahead in order to manage their speed and position on the mountain in order to avoid potential terrain traps and flat spots.
In addition to the above, at Bella Coola Heli Sport we will provide you with:
- Experienced guides: Heli-skiing should always be done with a professional guide who has extensive experience in the area and can provide guidance on the safest routes and conditions. We have some of the best in the business.
- Knowledge of the terrain: Our guides will share their knowledge of the terrain you will be skiing in, including the location of potential hazards such as crevasses and cliffs. You must follow their directions at all times and ask questions if you are unsure.
- Avalanche and helicopter safety training: Before your board the plane to Bella Coola, we ask that you complete our online safety training course. Upon arrival in Bella Coola and before you set foot in the mountains, our guides will walk you through a helicopter orientation and an avalanche safety course, including training in avalanche awareness, rescue techniques, and risk assessment.
- Best-in-class equipment: Upon arrival at the lodge, our team will provide you with an avalanche airbag backpack equipped with a beacon, shovel, and probe as well as an avalanche transceiver, long-distance radio, and either skis and poles or a snowboard.
Here is how we define strong intermediate, advanced, and expert skiers and snowboarders: