Helicopter Skiing and Boarding
Heli-skiing and boarding involves untracked deep powder, usually with a guide. Skiers from intermediate through expert ability can heli-ski and board. A single descent usually lasts 30-45 minutes. The cost ranges from a few hundred dollars to around one thousand dollars for a single day, depending on location and number of runs. Below are some of our favorite companies for this extreme and exciting sport.
Telluride Helitrax is Colorado’s most experienced helicopter ski company, in continuous operation since 1982. Telluride Helitrax is located in Telluride, Colorado, and operates at the highest elevations in North America. Telluride Helitrax is a family owned guide service, committed to small groups and a tailored guest experience. Telluride Helitrax can tailor a backcountry ski experience to match any expectations, skills, and abilities.
Alaska Powder Descents is based in Juneau, Alaska nestled between snow-covered peaks along saltwater shores. Tours include world-class terrain in the Coast and Chilkat Mountains. Alaska Powder Descents uses A-Star helicopters. These helicopters are manufactured by American Eurocopter and are designed to comfortably transport up to six passengers, plus the pilot.
Great Canadian Heli-Skiing the most accessible heli-skiing operation from an international airport, is located between Golden and Revelstoke BC in the heart of the world’s heli-skiing powder belt. Since its inception in 1988, Great Canadian Heli-Skiing has been the leader in “boutique heliskiing” by being the very first heli-skiing company to exclusively use small groups of four people. Great Canadian was the first to incorporate “unlimited vertical” at no extra charge into every program. With the greatest flexibility in the heli-ski industry, guests can choose many trip lengths, from a single day to many, and start on any day of the week. Great Canadian Heli-Skiing is a member in good standing of Heli-Cat Canada, the industry regulatory body that sets standards for heli-ski guiding and operations for heli-skiing in Canada and a licensed heli-skiing operator with the Province of British Columbia.
Wasatch Powderbird Guides was born in 1973 when a few ski professionals began taking adventurous travelers on heli-ski trips to the backcountry of Utah’s majestic mountains. Focusing on fun, adventure and skill-instruction, our excursions soon gained renown among powderhounds hungry for the addictive thrill of skiing unblemished expanses of “the greatest snow on Earth.” Today, the company is headquartered in a state-of-the-art heliport at Snowbird Ski and Mountain Resort in Little Cottonwood Canyon just 29 miles from Salt Lake City International Airport. Wasatch Powderbird uses the French-made Astar AS350 B3 Eurocopter, which holds the world record for high-altitude landing and was the first and only helicopter to land on a 29,035-foot peak. The Astar has six forward-facing seats (pilot and guide seats up front, a four-person bench in back), a configuration that provides guests with spectacular panoramas through the windscreen. The company occasionally uses the Astar AS350 B2 model and the Bell 407.
Since 1974, High Mountain Heli-Skiing has been offering its guests the ultimate deep powder helicopter skiing experience in Jackson Hole. The company uses a new Bell 407 helicopter to access terrain. 305,000 acres of terrain consists of ranges south of the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, including all of the Snake River and Palisades Mountain Ranges, and portions of the Hoback, Teton and the Gros Ventre Mountain Ranges. Vast open bowls, steep chutes, enchanted forests and glades are available to explore. A day of heli-skiing consists of six runs, approximately 12,000-15,000 vertical feet, transportation to the heli-pad, and lunch at the Heli-Deli. Extra runs are available at an additional cost when time and conditions will allow. Rental powder skis (the new Rossignol S7 Freeride) are recommended and available in our shop. Guests fly in groups of six (one guide and five guests).
Himalayan Heli Adventures has base facilities located approximately 500 km north of New Delhi, near Manali, in Himachal Pradesh. The powder skiing at Manali is exceptional. The location is approximately 34° N latitude, roughly equivalent to Los Angeles, which provides long days and a variety of exposures allows skiing both with or against the sun. The altitude allows much greater “back radiation” than other areas, which creates excellent re-crystallised powder. Manali is known for having one of the deepest snowpacks in the entire Himalaya, and due to the continental climate, snowfalls tend to be of low moisture content. Vast terrain is well suited to strong intermediate and expert skiers. Manali sits by the Beas River at an altitude of roughly 2000 m, surrounded by beautiful deodar cedar forests and huge peaks soaring to more than 6000 m. Under certain conditions guests can ski to the valley floor through massive cedar forests, but most skiing takes place on long rolling ridge lines; through glades of birch and oak trees; down steep cirque bowls or on huge undulating glaciers. Both during and after storms the skiing in the trees is excellent.