What is Small Group Heli-Skiing?

Heli-Skiing began in the 60’s with group formatting of 11 skiers to 1 guide. This is still the most common heli-ski format in the industry. In 1988, Great Canadian was born pioneering a new Small Group format, with smaller helicopters and a standard group size of just 4 skiers to 1 guide. This change revolutionized the heli-ski industry, and many experienced skiers and boarders who have switched to Small Groups never go back.

The Top 6 Benefits of Small Groups:

1. Enhanced Safety: With small group heli-skiing, there is only ever a maximum of 3 people between you and your guide. Our guides love our group sized because they are able to monitor their groups needs, and lead them through all kinds of terrain. A tighter group means better communication and a more personalized experience with your experienced guide.

2. Skier Skill Matching: You and 3 others. It is much easier to include people of similar skiing abilities and ambitions in a small group. This reduces wait times for aggressive skiers, and takes pressure off less-experienced skiers who may feel like they are holding up the group.

3. More Turns: Our vast tenure is home to a stunningly wide range of terrain — cool chutes, natural half pipes, beautifully spaced tree skiing — and much of it is easier to navigate with a small group. Plus, the last person to ski down still has fresh tracks!

4. Nimble Helicopter: Great Canadian operates using A-Star B2 Helicopters, which can safely access landing and take-off zones that larger helicopters can’t reach, such as small ridges or slopes where trees are tighter. Our guides love managing small groups because they are very mobile. Let’s say it’s snowing heavily in the morning and we are unable to fly. As soon as there’s a clear break and it’s safe to ski, a small group can get out there more quickly than a larger group.

5. Efficiency: With groups of 4 it is much easier for the program to run at an efficient pace. Think about the time it takes a large group to get in and out of a helicopter…and that helicopter probably services 3 or 4 groups (possibility up to 48 guests). Now think of our program where at the most, there’s just 3 groups of 4 (i.e. 12 people) getting in and out. This translates to less time messing around getting geared up and more time actually skiing! Compared to larger helicopters, which usually need to refuel 3 or more times a day, our AStars refuel only once — and that’s when you’re having lunch out in the field! If it’s late in the season and groups are skiing a lot, we may need to refuel again. The good news: We usually have 2 helicopters working in tandem, so you can keep skiing while one helicopter refuels.

6. Personalized Experience: With small groups we know your name and you can tell us your thoughts. With small groups it’s easier for your guide to get to know you and your desires. With small groups you only need 3 other friends or family members to form your own private group. With small groups there are only ever 3 people between you and your guide. With small groups we are able to ski at your group’s desired pace. With small groups you are going to have a lot more fun!

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