POST

30October 2018

The Difference Between Single and Multi-Day Heli-Skiing

True story:

My dad was in his 60s when he first went to a massage therapist. An old injury was flaring up, and his doc pointed him straight to the RMT.

Because he wasn’t sure what this was all about, or how much was enough to spend, he booked 30 minutes to check it out.

He had high hopes for that 30 minutes.

I asked him about it on a phone call some time later, figuring I already knew what he’d say.

It was great!‘ he said. ‘I don’t know why I never tried massage therapy before.’ But he also said it was over in a flash, they weren’t really able to get much work done on what he went there to do.

It was more of an introduction. He was definitely going back.

Maybe where I’m going is obvious. If it’s subtle, let me get on with connecting the dots.

I’m aiming to convince you that heli-skiing has something in common with getting a massage.

A 30 minute massage is wonderful. It’s 30 minutes better than no massage. No question.

But, can it do the work a 90 minute massage can?

Nope.

When heli-skiers ask us how to

  • Find the rhythm physically,
  • Get the most out of their money, AND
  • Minimize their chances of being limited by weather,

We always give the same answer:

Go for more than one day.

Female heli-skier exits helicopter at drop-off point

Why multi-day? Here’s why:

You move well beyond introductions

Though first-time heli-skiers might spend a lot of time dreaming of the first drop or first flight, safety orientation comes first.

No matter where you go in the world, no matter how many times you’ve heli-skied, every operation will need you to sit their briefing – it’s our due diligence for safety, and it’s essential.

It has to be part of day one, but it’s not part of day two. Or three.

And your confidence and familiarity in the environment is just one part of it. Your guide also needs to build confidence in YOU.

The more vertical you rack up together, the more your guide can see they can trust you, and they’ll increasingly feel better about showing you more complicated terrain at a faster pace.

Heli-ski guide gives safety and transceiver orientation

Your body gets more time ‘In the Zone’

Even if you train for backcountry, unless you ski deep powder on the regular, your body will feel the transition.

The body adapts quickly, but only so quickly. More exposure means more adaptation.

It’s really common to see a big progression in people’s flow from the first to the their or fourth run. Maybe you’re shaking off nerves, or you’re warming up, getting the balance, starting to really feel it.

And if it takes you a couple runs to warm in, great. But, keep in mind that’s a couple runs from your day where you weren’t at 100%.

When you give yourself more than one day, the ‘post-warm-up’ vertical is the majority. You’ll become more efficient and get way more out of your energy and ability.

You also have a chance to really take in the environment, which some of struggle to do when we’re still relaxing into it.

Skier leaves trail of powder while making turns in BC backcountry

You’re more resilient in the face of bad weather

This one’s easy. Weather happens. It’s something we want, and need, after all, since it brings the pow.

Too much weather, though, on the only day set aside for heli-skiing, can be seriously unwelcome. It doesn’t have to cancel the day, but it can complicate it. It can limit options.

If you have more than one day to work with, you double or even triple your odds of still getting good weather, if you get unlucky with one. Simple math.

Multi-day heli-skiers can roll that vertical forward and enjoy the fruits of the storm.

Skier is almost invisible in deep powder snow in the trees

You get more vertical. You see more terrain.

Seeing the most terrain variety is easier with multiple days. You not only have more time to explore – terrain is decided by in-the-moment factors like weather. And like I mentioned above, more days gives you more chances at different weather.

Some days are tree-skiing days, and some days are meant for the alpine. If you want to try both, you might need more than one day.

All these factors, when put together, are more than the sum of their parts.

You’re building trust, you’re building flow, you’re building familiarity AND the space for the most opportunities.

Backseat view through the front of a helicopter flying in the winter mountains

It’s how we would do it

If you’ve been reading The Yodel for a bit, you’ll know that Jeff and I have signed up for some heli-skiing adventures in different parts of the world.

In Iceland, Switzerland, and Sweden, there was no doubt about the plan: we made sure we signed up for more than one day. We’ve had weather delays and weather days, but the multi-day factor did its job. We spread out the odds, we gave ourselves a chance to get familiar, to explore, and we scored.

And we definitely get it: it costs more.

But here’s the thing:

We want you to know that it’s not just MORE. It’s more than more. It’s about increasing value on every dollar spent.

If all this makes sense to you (like it does to heli-ski veterans), you might want to check out our multi-day programs like the 2 Day Immersion and 3 Day Ultimate.

It’ll be a transformative experience.

 

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