Safety while heli-skiing is our top priority.
Our Head Guide has worked with us for over 2 decades, and has fostered a unique culture of safety. No matter how sweet a run may look, if our guides have any doubts about safety we will not ski that run. (Don’t worry: There’s sure to be a fun, safe option nearby.) On the morning of your first day of heli-skiing we’ll equip you with knowledge of what to expect in the B.C. backcountry. We conduct 2 types of safety briefings: — One on snow safety, the other on helicopter safety. We are proud members of the Canada West Ski Areas Association (CWSAA) and HeliCat Canada, the industry’s regulatory body.
AStar Experience: We use the ultimate heli-skiing machine, the AStar B2. These powerful, comfortable helicopters are ideal for mountain flying. Our helis are supplied by SilverKing Helicopters, which has the extensive infrastructure needed to ensure rigorous maintenance and safety inspections. The AStars have some serious advantages over larger helicopters like the Bell 212: They are much more agile, and can take off and land on spots that bigger machines cannot. Unlike bigger rides, which seat passengers on benches facing each other guests, our AStars give aevery guest an excellent view out of the windows.
Pilots: All of our helicopter 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 pilots page.
Engineers: The pilots often get the accolades, but it’s the engineers who keep the helis flying. Unlike many operations, we have an ON-SITE engineer who lives at our lodge during the winter. The engineers have gone through stringent training and, like the pilots, have a huge amount of experience.
Our guides are experienced professionals certified by the 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 least, 10 years of experience in the field. In fact, many of them teach snow safety courses when they aren’t guiding. To learn more about our amazing guiding team, check out our Heli-Ski Guides page.
Snow and Avalanches: Our 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 they 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.
Safety Equipment: In order to help mitigate risk, Great Canadian Heli-Skiing supplies every guest with a Barry VOX avalanche beacon. Our guiding team selected this beacon because it is easy to use and accurate. On the morning of your first day of heli-skiing you will be shown how to use it. 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.
Airbags: Airbag use has increased over the past few years, especially in Europe. It should be noted that European snow conditions and terrain vary greatly from those in Canada, and the results of airbag use may differ. Our guiding team does not promote the use of airbags, but you are more than welcome to use one. We have a limited quantity of Mammut Rockers available for rent at our lodge. To secure a bag, you must book one in advance.
Emergencies: Continuous radio communication between our guides, our helicopters and our base is maintained, with the guides carrying extensive emergency gear in their packs and on the helicopter. The excellent Golden & District Hospital, meanwhile, is just a short helicopter flight away.