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24October 2017

Take the Quiz: Are you heli-ski ready?

Have you dreamed of going heli-skiing a hundred (or a thousand) times, but aren’t sure if it’s right for you?

You’re not alone – until you get out there, it can be hard to know what to expect.

The impression ski movies can create is that heli-skiing is nothing but super steep lines in risky, you-fall-you-die environments.

While that’s really fun to watch, it’s not representative of commercial heli-ski trips by and large. There’s plenty to be enjoyed by the expert and strong intermediate alike – pristine powder, vast, empty terrain, long runs of high alpine and deep trees.

 

Answering these questions honestly will help you make sure you’re ready to have the best day on snow ever.

And by ‘honestly’ we mean try not to overestimate where you’re at: the truth comes out on the mountain either way.

This guideline is set to help you have THE MOST FUN, not to exclude. If it’s all a struggle, you won’t enjoy yourself, and it’s definitely no fun having to sit out.

 

Take the Quiz:

How I feel about blue (intermediate) runs:
  • That’s my zone! Greens and blues all the way. I like my slopes mellow and groomed. No need to go fast. (Keep training, but not yet heli-ski level)
  • I enjoy the blue runs consistently and make parallel turns as I stay in control down the fall line. I spend most my time on the blues. (Not quite there.)
  • I get a lot of days in per season, and the blue runs are easy. Old news. No problema. (Yes. Minimum requirement.)

Snowboarder throwing a wave of pow

How I feel about black (advanced) runs:
  • I attempt black runs only when they’re groomed and in the best possible conditions. Even then, my style suffers. (Keep training, but not yet heli-ski level)
  • I enjoy the challenge of black runs in good conditions, but it’s occasional terrain for me, not consistent. (Yes. Minimum requirement.)
  • I enjoy black runs consistently and without hesitation unless the conditions are truly heinous – as in, nothing but icy bumps. (Yes. Do not pass go. Go directly to the chopper.) 

Looking down a slope through a pair of powder skis

How I feel about double black (expert) runs:
  • Never been there. No thanks. (Keep training, but not yet heli-ski level)
  • Tried it. It wasn’t pretty. Got some work to do to manage that level. (Minimum requirement, as long as blacks can be done with success.)
  • I can get down double black runs in control when the conditions are right, but without a lot of style. (Yes. Get on board with ya!)
  • Game on! I often hit the double blacks and love every steep minute of it. (Yes. Directly to chopper.)

Heli-ski guide charges toward camera on powder slope

The following describes my off-piste powder experience:
  • I have zero experience with snow that’s deep enough to hide my skis or board. (You will be challenged, but it’ll be great as long as you’re solid on your blacks.)
  • I have had some experience with different snow conditions and deeper soft snow, and it went reasonably well. (Yes. Let’s get you in nothing but pow!)
  • I am a certifiable powder lover! I seek it out whenever possible and lay down turns without hesitation. (Yes. Do not pass go. Directly to chopper.)

Snowboarder takes a wide turn toward snowy glades

The following describes my tree skiing or riding experience:
  • I have never ventured into the trees and have no intention of doing so! I only like open slopes. (Pause. Heli-skiing usually involves trees. Gotta be willing.)
  • I haven’t tried tree skiing before, but I’m up for the challenge! (Yes. Get your tree buddy and go!)
  • I have some or a lot of experience with tree skiing, and know how good the conditions can be in the glades. Can’t wait. (Yes. Directly to chopper.)

Skier turns through a blur of powder snow

The following describes my skiing/riding fitness:
  • My fitness is not where I’d like it to be, and I’m pretty tired after a full day of skiing or riding. Falling in the powder would definitely make me sweat. (Compensate with either expert skill foundation or some training to up your level.)
  • I’m no marathoner, but I’m fit enough on my gear to ski/ride multiple days without breaking down. (Yes. Let’s go.)
  • I’m in fine skiing shape, but I have an old injury to watch out for that can shut me down if aggravated the wrong way. (Make sure you’re on the upper ability end so you’re not overly challenged by the conditions and likely to re-injure yourself.)

Skier turns solo down an immense backcountry alpine slope

The following describes the time spent on my gear each winter:
  • I only get time for a handful of days each winter, and won’t have many days prior to my heli-ski trip. (Okay if you’re an expert; otherwise, pause and plan some training days.)
  • I get many days in each season, and will have had plenty of warm-up days before going heli-skiing. (Perfect-o. Load up!)

You may also answer YES to the following:

I am okay with:

  • ZERO lift lines
  • Untracked champagne powder
  • Flying around in a private helicopter like a badass
  • Sharing 2,000 square kilometres with only a handful of other skiers and riders
  • Having a one-of-a-kind backcountry adventure in a stoked-on-life atmosphere

So, are you ready?

That’s step one.

Next comes the where, the when, the how.

If you want to set yourself up for the best possible experience, check out our FREE guide: The 5 Most Important Things to Consider BEFORE Booking Your Heli-Ski Trip. Click on the image below to get it: