Safety While Heli-Skiing: Our Primary Concern.
Fantastic Safety Record & Highly Experienced Guides
We hold your safety as our #1 priority. Our Head Guide has guided with us for over 2 decades and has created and fostered a culture of safety. No matter how sweet a run may look, if there’s any doubt in a guide’s mind about your safety, we will not ski that run (but we will find you another fun, secure option).
On the morning of your first day of heli-skiing we want to prepare you with some knowledge of what to expect while skiing in the Canadian back country. We do this by conducting 2 types of Safety Briefings: the Snow Safety Briefing and the Helicopter Safety Briefing. These briefings will prepare you for what to do in the extremely rare event of an avalanche as well as how to behave around the helicopter.
Our guides are experienced and certified professionals (Association of Canadian Mountain Guides, Canadian Ski Guide Association and International Federation of Mountain Guides Associations). They are all trained in snow safety, weather analysis, emergency medical techniques and mechanized ski guiding. You know you are in safe hands since all of our guides have, at the very least, 10+ years of experience out in the field – many teach snow safety courses when they aren’t guiding. Day by day they will find the best of what Mother Nature has to offer. To learn more about our amazing guiding team, checkout our Heli-Ski Guides page.
We use the ultimate heli-skiing machine, the A-Star B2. These are powerful, very comfortable helicopters and are ideal for mountain flying. Our helis are supplied by SilverKing Helicopters which has the experienced pilots and the extensive infrastructure to ensure the rigorous maintenance schedule and safety inspections required for helicopters.
The A-Stars have some serious advantages over larger helicopters like the Bell 212. They are much more agile and can land/take off in spots that bigger helis cannot. A nice bonus is that every guests has an excellent view out of the helicopter windows, unlike the bigger ships where you are in bench seats facing other guests.
All of our helicopters’ engineers and mountain-trained pilots have plenty of “high hour” experience. Guests are constantly amazed at the skill of our pilots. To learn more about them, visit our Staff Profiles page.
The pilots often get the accolades but it’s the engineers who keep the helis flying and are just as important! We have an ON-SITE engineer that lives at our lodge during the winter. The engineers have gone through stringent training and, like the pilots, have a huge amount of experience .
Snow and Avalanches
Our heli ski guides are constantly practicing snow and avalanche management as they analyze the changes in the conditions and make guiding decisions accordingly. Each morning and evening our guides meet to evaluate and discuss the weather, snow stability and terrain based on field observations and data supplied by remote weather stations and the Canadian Avalanche Association.
In order to help mitigate risk, Great Canadian Heli-Skiing supplies every guest, free of charge, with the PIEPES DSP SPORT avalanche beacon. Our guiding team has selected this beacon due to its ease-of-use and for its location accuracy. On the morning of your first day of heli-skiing, you will be given a thorough introduction on its use.
In addition to avalanche beacons, each group will carry a backpack that includes a shovel, VHF radio and a few spare pieces of equipment. Guests will take turns carrying this pack.
Airbag use has increased over the past few years, especially in Europe. It should be noted that European conditions vary greatly from those found in Canada and the results from using an airbag may differ due to our different snow conditions and treed terrain.
Our guiding team do not promote the use of airbags, however, if you wish to use one, you are more than welcome to.
For those people who would like to rent an airbag, we will have a limited quantity available at our lodge. The model is the Mammut Rocker, which is perfect for heli-skiing due to its sleek, low profile design. To secure a bag, you must book one in advance of your trip.
Continuous radio communication between the guides, the helicopter and our base is maintained. The guides carry extensive emergency gear in their packs and on the helicopter. It’s also comforting to know that due to our location, the Golden hospital is only a short helicopter flight away.