First Timers Welcome!
Am I good enough?
If you are confident on blue and some black runs, are in good physical shape but do not have powder experience...the answer definitely is yes! With the advancement of customized powder skis and snowboards, heli-skiing/boarding is something for you. View our Ability Guide
All our mountain guides are experienced in finding fresh track terrain to match your ability level. Weather and snow condition dependant, you could find yourself on an open glacier run or in the glades. At your own pace you enjoy your adventure in a group of similar abilities.
All guests are asked to complete the necessary paperwork, release of liability, rental forms and are weighed-in. After you have enjoyed a complimentary breakfast, one of the guides will discuss what to expect for weather, suggest layering and demonstrate several safety equipment functions located in the Guest Pack. You may be asked to take a turn wearing the pack on one of the runs.
Now that the paperwork is completed, your stomach is full and you are still nervous, the guides ask you to join them outside for a brief lesson on bundling skis and poles.
Whether you are flying in the Bell 212 or Bell 204 helicopter, safety regulations require all guests are briefed on the safety features of each machine.
As you hear your name called, follow your guide for the day to a designated area for the Companion Rescue Training. Each guest is instructed on how and when to use the Pulse Barryvox transceiver. Each mountain Ski Guide is trained in avalanche safety and has a wealth of information they love to share with everyone venturing into the backcountry. Questions are welcomed and encouraged!
As you board the helicopter, ask yourself the following things: do I have skis/board, gloves, toques, goggles, helmet, camera, sunscreen, lip protection and most of all... sense of adventure! The first group of the day departs by helicopter and others are shuttled by van to the nearby staging area where the helicopter will be waiting after dropping the first group on one of many mountain tops.
The flight is as exciting as skiing/boarding the powder. Some of the tallest mountains in British Columbia are located in the heart of the Purcell Mountain Range. You could be fortunate to have a blue sky day and see forever or fortunate enough to have it snowing. Either way, when the helicopter strategically lands between the flagged stakes, you can be certain that your heart will be beating with excitement.
The helicopter does not shut down, so it is extremely important to wait for the signal from your guide to disembark carefully.Remain in the heli huddle until the guide unloads skis/boards and packs and the helicopter takes off. With the protection of your goggles, open your eyes and look around through the rotor snow storm.
Now there is only silence at the top of a mountain where the only way home is down. More snow than you have ever seen and YIKES!! Can I do this? Your guide calls your name, hands over your equipment and you click or buckle in. He/she asks for a volunteer to carry the Guest Pack and also gives instructions on following behind and close to the left or right of his tracks. The guide is experienced in providing a safe and enjoyable day for everyone in the group. Ski/board in control, take your time and buddy-up in the glades. And the most important thing..when the guide stops, you stop above never below!
The first run of the day can be the most challenging if at all; adjusting to the environment, powder skis/board and POWDER! Remember take your time, stay in control and if you are having difficulty ask the guide for a few pointers. You will most likely find yourself out of breath due to the altitude and exertion. Take a break, stop and catch your breath. Don’t worry about the others, they are catching their breath too or taking a few photos or enjoying the views.
The guide will stop at intervals as the group descends. The average time per run varies from 40 – 60 minutes. There may be instructions regarding to the route or to regroup before heading off down the next pitch. As you reach the bottom of the run, the helicopter may be waiting for you or may fly in as you are bundling up your gear. Always use extreme caution when approaching the helicopter and keep your distance from any moving blades. Hand your skis/board to the guide and buckle in for the next lift.
Typically, the group will ski/board 2 to 3 runs and then have a break for a picnic lunch at one of the pickup areas or in one of the Emergency Shelters, depending on the weather and proximity to the shelter. Take a rest and refuel on hearty sandwiches, juice, water, hot tea, snacks and treats. Lunch break is a chance to use nature’s restroom.
After lunch, the heli adventure continues. The guide and pilot determine if you move to another run or zone or continue to ski in the same area. There are many factors to be considered, with safety being the priority. Once you have completed your purchased package, your guide will ask the group if anyone would like to ski extra runs. Weather, snow conditions, remaining day light hours and minimum requirement will determine how many extra runs you can look forward to. You may decide you will call it a day while some of the group choose to keep going. There is a chance, depending on several factors, that those who choose to sit out the next run remain at the pickup area while the helicopter takes off. Or you may be regrouped with others and shuttled to the staging area where a guide will drive you back to the Heliplex in the van.
So you did it!! But the adventure does not stop here. Once you are back at the Heliplex look for your certificate of accomplishment, purchase a heli souvenir in the Alpine Boutique, relax by the crackling fire and exchange photos and emails with your new heli-ski/board friends. Rehydrate and most of all...start planning your return trip!
Yes, we forgot to tell you, heli skiing & boarding is addicting!!