Ability Guide

What You Need To Know Before Heli Skiing For the First Time

You Can Do It!

Ski movies often portray heli skiing as people jumping out of helicopters in order to ski incredibly steep lines atop no-fall zones with cliffs and crevasses looming below. 

This set the wrong expectation about the ability level required to ski and snowboard in the backcountry and does not accurately represent a typical day of heli skiing. 

Here is what you need to know. Anyone who is physically fit, is comfortable moving around the helicopter, is comfortable skiing in powder, and is a strong intermediate can heli ski. Most importantly, you need to be able to exercise good judgment and have strong listening skills.

Here is how we define strong intermediate, advance, and experts skiers and snowboarders.

 

Ability Level Guide

Strong Intermediate

Skiers

You are confident on all green circle and blue square runs and occasionally venture onto some black diamond runs.

You use a parallel stance on both smooth blue runs and are testing your skills in powder, on varied terrain, and in variable snow conditions.

Snowboarders

You are confident on all green circle and blue square runs and occasionally venture onto some black diamond runs.

You are able to completely link turns, both toe and heel side, with minimal traverse, on all blue square and some black diamond runs. You are testing your skills in powder, on varied terrain, and in variable snow conditions.

Advanced

Skiers

You ski all green circle and blue square runs with ease and enjoy challenging yourself on black diamond runs.

You ski with controlled parallel turns, maintaining rhythm, speed, and control on most black diamond runs. You are comfortable in powder, on varied terrain, and in variable snow conditions.

Snowboarders

You ride all green circle and blue square runs with ease and enjoy challenging yourself on black diamond runs.

You are able to link turns, both toe and heel side, with rhythm and flow, on most black diamond runs. You are comfortable in powder, on varied terrain, and in variable snow conditions.

Expert

Skiers

You ski with confidence on all green circle, blue square, black diamond, and double black diamond runs. 

You ski with good technique using carved short radius turns. You are confident and seek out powder, varied terrain,  and variable snow conditions.

Snowboarders

You ride with confidence on all green circle, blue square, black diamond, and double black diamond runs. 

You can make turns of any kind, anywhere, anytime all over the mountain and in all snow conditions. You are confident and seek out powder, varied terrain,  and variable snow conditions.

Useful Tips

Our Sales & Reservations team do an amazing job matching skiers and snowboarders of relative ability levels in order to ensure the right pace for each group's ski program. That being said, there are some simple ways that you can make yourself feel even more comfortable.

  • Based on the above criteria, if you self-identify as a Strong Intermediate and are still nervous, reach out to the people you normally ski with and encourage them to join you so that you can make your own group of 4 (Tweedsmuir Park Lodge) or 6 (Eagle Lodge) in the helicopter
  • Consider booking a Single Group Private or Exclusive Lodge Buyout in order to gain access to your own private helicopter and guide team, which offers a more flexible ski program and more flexible start and stop times

Important: Do not overestimate your ability level. If you overestimate your ability level and it impacts the ski program for others, we may need to ask you to sit out a run or more to another group.

If you still have hesitations or questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. We love chatting about heli skiing. 

Inquire Now

Knowledge is pow(d)er.
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