9November 2018

Is Small-Group Heli-Skiing Worth It?

They believed I would come back for him. That’s why it worked.

I drove away from the gas station into the Mexican heat, with a full tank but not having paid. In my rearview mirror, I see Jeff standing surrounded by a small group of attendants, arms crossed, no smiling.

It’ll be RIGHT back, I assured him, and I assured them, in broken Spanish.

It was only the fault of a broken ATM and not enough pesos on hand, but it felt like a moment of clarity: this holiday is not going well.

The trip to fill the rental car was supposed to be one simple task so we could be rid of it, since it had left us stranded in the desert for four hours the day previous (lots of time for moments of clarity).

And the only reason we rented the car was to escape the all-inclusive resort from hell, that we had somehow, inexplicably, given our money.

We couldn’t really afford a holiday at the time, but it was a dreary late October and the internet kept tantalizing us with deals to places with sun, palm trees, and nearby surf breaks.

The all-inclusive resort didn’t really seem like our thing. There were warning signs.

But it was so cheap! How far from what we were craving could it really be?

We were weak.

So life was going to teach us something.

It was like when you book a holiday based on a picture like this:

And sure, you KNOW it’s not going to be just the two of you. You’re an adult that can recognize that it’s marketing, designed to inspire – to get you dreaming of the peace, the relaxation, the pause from daily life.

All things you’re going to reap for this low low price!


It still works on you a bit. You assume there will be moments like the photo, if not whole days. One way or the other, you will be able to find that feeling.

Then, you get there and realize you’re not the only ones that were after that feeling, and that low price.

And it looks more like this:

The techno music got turned on at eight each morning. Not just background-level techno (if that’s a thing) – this was an all-encompassing audio experience.

I don’t think I saw a single glass that wasn’t plastic. The record was set at seeing two different people vomit in one day.

And hey, if that’s your jam, no judgment!

It’s just SO far from our jam, it could only be hilarious. There was less laughing during Jeff’s stomach bug episode from day three, but eventually more laughing.

WHAT we were doing here?

So we got out of there. Via unreliable rental car. The rest is where we started.

Powder skis on snow

I shared recently that we’ve been reflecting on the stories that shape who we are and what we believe.

You look back, connect the dots, and you see the past in everything your’e doing now. Or not doing.

Every story we tell has a point, not just because it makes for a tidy wrap-up, but because the experience taught us something – something we’ve cared about ever since.

As customers and operators, these stories change how we shop and what we want to sell.

We came home from Mexico, and the truths sunk in and stayed:

  • If you’re gonna do something, do it right.
  • The cheapest is cheap for a reason. Don’t forget it.
  • It hurts more to waste a smaller amount of money than to get good value for more money.
  • Know the dream you’re chasing. Pursue it, and only it.

Oh, and also:

  • Jeff is uncomfortable with being human collateral
By closing the door, you create the room.

By closing the door on more capacity, we create the room for more skiing, more exploration, and a more exceptional, memorable experience.

That might mean we disappoint some people this season – the ones who didn’t book in time. But everyone can’t be there if it’s gonna be the dream. Winter will come again, and demand will be high.

Six guests. Two guides. One helicopter.

No crowds by the pool.

For real.

Skiers take turns down a massive alpine slope beneath a peak

Want in?

If you’re considering a trip, and trying to decide between one day or more, check out The Difference Between Single-Day and Multi-Day Heli-Skiing.






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