What is
Unlimited
Vertical?

All heli-skiing operations will guarantee a certain amount of vertical feet/metres. At Great Canadian, we offer a generous amount of vertical (e.g. 30,500m/100,000ft for a week long trip).

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Powder Snowboarding

Heli-boarding With Great Canadian Heli-Skiing

Great Canadian Heli-Skiing is snowboard-friendly! Our owner was once on the Canadian National Team and many of our lodge staff are riders.

Are you ready to immerse yourself in the ultimate heli-boarding experience by escaping the lift lines and shredding some POW? Your decision to come riding with us will be one of the best decisions you will ever make. Advanced riders will love our variety of terrain. Even with little powder experience, strong intermediates will find powder success in our “hero snow”. Plus, thanks to the smallest group size in the industry (just 4 people per group) you will get to spend quality time with your family, friends and your fellow powder-worshiping brethren!

You will be riding in the Mecca of heli-skiing: the Selkirk and Purcell mountains. This region, helicopter skiing’s birthplace, is known throughout the world for its quantity and quality of dry snow and amazing terrain. We have vast terrain in both the Selkirk and Purcell mountains which is for our exclusive use. This terrain is bigger than 14 Whistler-Backcombs, or on a European scale, bigger than both the Portes du Soleil and Trois Vallées ski domains!

How much can you expect to ride? The average group does 8-12 runs a day. An exceptional day with a strong group and complimentary weather can accumulate 16 runs or 33,000ft (10,000m) a day. We guarantee you a minimum amount of riding, however over 98% of the time our groups will ride in excess of this guarantee. At Great Canadian Heli-Skiing you will have Unlimited Vertical, which means even once you surpass your guarantee there are no additional charges. There are no expensive Extra Vertical bills at the end of your holiday; you just pay the one price for your package and all of your skiing from your first to last deep turn is included.

Dream less, live more, treat yourself to one of life’s most amazing experiences: heli-boarding with Great Canadian!

Ability

In order to fully enjoy your heli-boarding holiday you must be a strong intermediate snowboarder. This means you have ridden regularly over the last several years and are capable of controlling yourself on treed runs, traverse slopes and can maneuver over variable mountain conditions. For example, at your local ski resort, if you are able to descend a black diamond run and maintain control you will likely be prepared for our terrain. Any experience that you have had in riding powder would be an additional asset. We suggest regular riding and fitness conditioning before your heli-boarding vacation. You may even want to consider our Combo Packages (see resort/cat-skiing): these packages incorporate a few days of riding at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort where you can get your legs back. Through their “Big Mountain Center”, Kicking Horse offers an “Intro to Heli/Cat-Skiing” which can help get you prepared for your trip to us!

Grouping

We ride with four guests per group. Because of this awesome ratio, we try to accommodate our guests as much as possible, by allowing them to group themselves. During your vacation we encourage our guests to ride with others who have similar interests or abilities. As a result of using small groups, compatibility is most often attainable. For more details on the advantages of Small Group heli-skiing over large groups, see our Small Group Heli-skiing page. Note: For safety and efficiency, the Lead Guide will always choose the order in which each group departs. The Lead Group will work harder during the day by helping the Lead Guide with trail breaking and preparing landing/pick-up spots.

First Timers

Everybody was a 1st time heli-boarder at some stage! Experienced riders will love our terrain and snow and those new to heli-boarding need not be worried that it’s their first time. You can heli-board if the following describes you;

– Strong intermediate or better

– Able to ride all runs at a resort and are comfortable riding black runs

– Fit enough to board several days in a row

– Willing to ride all types of terrain/snow

If you are able to tick all of those boxes, we’d love to have you ride with us.

Stamina is often more important than deep powder experience and with our powder boards, learning to ride powder is much easier.

If you are a strong rider yet still a little bit timid, organise 3 friends/family to join you to make up your own private group of 4 and go at your own pace.

Here are some heli-skiing tips to make the most of your trip

  • Relax! On your first day you may feel overwhelmed, this is totally natural. Pace yourself, racking up vertical is not a competition.
  • Watch the guide. When your guide stops, scope out a spot close-by behind (i.e. uphill) him/her on a bit of a mound or downhill slope, so that when you get going, you will already have momentum.
  • Having trouble getting speed? Start off in someone else’s track and once you have enough speed, veer off!
  • Let a skier go first, you’ll still get fresh tracks. Watch him/her and your guide to see how the terrain changes and work out where you might need more speed.

Equipment

If you have your own snowboard and you have ridden it in powder with no problem, bring it with you! If you ride mostly groomed runs and the board doesn’t perform well in deep snow, you can use any of our powder-specific boards for free (but bring your own boots).

We carry the following:
Model Sizes Comments
Burton Fish
  • 151 (new)
  • 156
  • 160
  • 161 (new)
Powder specific board, with shorter tail and wider nose allowing the board to float. Very snappy in the trees. The Fish offerings are traditional camber (1-156 and 2-160 older models) and the newer rockered style
Burton Fishcuit
  • 148
Burton Sherlock
  • 154
  • 157
  • 160
  • 162
  • Rocker between the feet, camber under the feet, early rise nose and tail
  • Twin shape
  • Directional flex
  • Frostbite edges
  • Super Fly II Core with Dualzone EGD
  • Sintered base
  • The Channel binding mounting system
Burton Supermodel
  • 163
  • 168
More of an all-round board, but still performs well in deep powder.
Burton Malavita Bindings …”the Malavita balances full wrap response around your boots with a mid-range flex that’s 100% focused on freestyle.”
Burton P1 Bindings Great performance and comfort.