SASQUATCHES ARE FRIENDLY AND OTHER HELI-SKIING MYTHS
Heli skiers are hard-core, super fit, thrill seekers. Before their first trip they all had loads of powder and back country experience. And for initiation you have to jump out of a helicopter. Basically it’s really dangerous and grows hair on your chest. It’s a man’s sport?
Did we mention to beware of the Sasquatches?
Some of these storylines are as old as skinny long skis. So we’d like to set the record straight! (Sasquatches are really dangerous!)
- Heli-skiing is expensive; powder skiing at resorts is cheap.
We like to think of it this way: pursuing the most epic ski day of your life can cost a lot in time and money whether you choose heli-skiing or not. Think of how many ski vacations at a resort one might take hoping for powder snow, only to leave thinking maybe next year. Now compare that with heli-skiing – it’s like packing a lifetime of resort holiday’s powder into one holiday (you would have to have hit some epic resort powder days to get even close to the experience of heli-skiing). So is it expensive? Only you can decide what your time is worth and what price you would put on the adventure of a lifetime. One might even conclude that heli-skiing is cheap, based on powder/$+time quotient.
Our packages start at around $5000 and are ALL-INCLUSIVE meaning almost everything you need to have the perfect trip is included in the price, from heli-skiing days with unlimited vertical, gourmet meals, accommodations in our lodge, and use of powder specific equipment.
- It’s really dangerous.
There are a lot of unknowns in Canada’s wilderness and there are real dangers. That is why we are not sending you out alone. Every group has a guide, and in our case we have the smallest guest to guide ratio in the industry. They have been preparing for years for your visit, and in our Head Guide case, he’s been anticipating your arrival for 20+ years at Great Canadian Heli-Skiing. That commitment and respect for the mountains and Mother Nature has paid off in the past 25 years with a great safety record and great wilderness skiing.
- You have to jump out of a helicopter.
Sorry to the James Bond wannabes, but you don’t actually have to jump out of a helicopter. We land the helicopter and exit in a very civil way: on our feet. But if you prefer, don’t let us stop you from letting that myth stand and have your friends and colleagues be bewildered by your extreme alter ego.
- You have to be a skilled and experienced powder skier.
Does a sprinter get better at sprinting by running marathons? Does a dog trainer get better at training dogs by training cats? NO. So how does someone get better at powder skiing? By powder skiing! Although many of our guests are advanced skiers, a strong intermediate can have a great heli-skiing trip even without much powder experience. You will find that with the powder specific equipment that is provided, direction from a guide with millions of vertical powder underfoot, and fresh un-tracked snow to practice on, you can go from powder zero to heli-hero in one trip.
- You need to be trained on back country safety.
While it’s always nice when guests come armed with safety knowledge, it certainly isn’t a requirement. We go through the full safety procedure with every guest before hitting the mountain covering all aspects of safety from the helicopter to the runs.
- You need to be an athlete.
We have had Jeremy Jones, Seth Morrison, Eric Hjorleifson, Callum Petit, Candide Thovex and many more pro skier and snowboarders come to Great Canadian Heli-Skiing and film their parts to show what one can accomplish with natural talent and 180+ days a year on the snow. For the rest of us where our job is not skiing or snowboarding an active lifestyle is the basic required fitness. A gym routine with quad exercises will help. Regular skiing or riding is the best sport specific fitness. If you do decide to step it up and train for heli-skiing you might find yourself in the first group. Regardless of how much, or little, time you have to get ready, we are always ready to make it a great experience for you.
- It’s Heli-Man Skiing. Skiers and Men only.
A skier might argue, but heli-boarding is equally as awesome! We’ve hosted many snowboarders over the years and have a level 4 snowboard instructor examiner on our guiding team. Our owner was even competed for Canada sliding on a snowboard, so we’re definitely a snowboard friendly operation.
And while it’s true that not enough women heli-ski, it’s simply not true that they can’t. In fact, in our operation alone we have several women guides and sometimes a woman pilot, plus about 20% of our guests are women. One of our guests with the most skier days (100+) is a woman. The next generation is certainly not leaving the tracks for the boys, as daughters are demanding their share. So if you want to balance our board (ski) room, or simply experience the best snowboarding and skiing the world has to offer in winter holidays, book a heli-skiing (boarding) trip.
- You need to own special equipment.
At Great Canadian, we will supply you with powder skis/boards plus poles, a transceiver and rescue equipment. So the only gear you need to bring with you is your boots.
- All heli-skiing operations are the same.
At first glance it can be hard to tell, but there is a huge variance in heli-skiing based on the location and company that you choose. Every heli-ski operator offers a different experience based on the following factors:
- Group size: Smaller is better. In groups of less than 5 you can get the most out of your day by skiing with people of the same ability level, be more agile and have a more intimate experience.
- Runs per day: Day operators tend to offer a standard package of 3 runs, with a 5 run upgrade. Destination (or boutique) operators typically offer a guaranteed amount of vertical. At GCH we offer UNLIMITED VERTICAL.
- Length of stay: Many destination operators (especially fly in lodges) only offer 7 day packages. At Great Canadian we offer 2-7 day packages that start on any day of the week.
- Location: British Columbia is known for its epic powder, but other areas such as Alaska are better known for their death defying feats. If you’re interested to challenge your skills to perfect your powder turn, or get your thrill-on over some pillow drops or off some wind lips, we can deliver. But if you are searching for that make it or die moment, Alaska is calling.
- There are lots of down days in heli-skiing.
This truly is a myth when talking specifically about heli-skiing in the interior of British Columbia. Down days are mostly a result of poor visibility, but because BC has many runs with gladed trees (spaced), we have significantly less down days than other regions like Alaska, the Arctic and New Zealand. These areas have no trees and unless it’s sunny, your depth perception is the equivalent of skiing on the inside of a ping pong ball! Accordingly, you can expect an average of a down day a week outside of BC (or even more if you hit a storm cycle), where in the interior mountains of BC, boutique operators like Great Canadian Heli-Skiing are averaging only 2 full down days in the whole season. You have good odds that you are going to be heli-skiing not heli-waiting on your BC holiday.
If you’re interested in learning more about heli-skiing, contact us today.