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Heliskiing First Timers

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@mountainaddict, off the top of my head (I still do some freelance stuff for them but not full time anymore):

http://www.luex.com/snow-valley-heliski-russia.html?tab=rates#rates
http://www.luex.com/heliski-and-freeride-kyrgyzstan.html?tab=rates#specials

(Ignore the pp/night red button price as it doesn't really work properly for heli stuff)

OK cheap is relative, but IIRC Snow Valley is about half the price of this time last year (when paying in EUR at least).
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
I've done two heli ski trips in BC, and two in Alaska. I'm not sure if it's representative, but I felt like the BC trips concentrated more on the luxury of the lodge, fine dining, the whole wilderness experience of which skiing was a part. The Alaska operator had the focus far more on the skiing - the lodge, food etc was basic in comparison. Alaska was also a fair bit cheaper.

The cost has increased significantly since the crash in the value of the GBP.

I hope to go back to Alaska one day, but i'm content at the moment touring and skiing good quality snow in less known resorts (and on last minute trips) as per @Mike Pow's earlier post!
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Thanks again to all the contributions. And special thanks to Under a New Name, for coming up with pure powder, who we've now booked with. Very helpful agent and no pressure sales at all.
After a lot of consideration of a mass of options we eventually plumped for 3 days at Revelstoke to warm up, then 5 days heliskiing at the K2 Rotor lodge. On our budget we had to choose between going in peak season (February) but in a larger group. Or going late season in a small group. We opted for February in a larger group, pretty much on a coin toss I think!
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 You need to Login to know who's really who.
You need to Login to know who's really who.
Likely a good choice - CMH know their stuff. Drier snow in February too, unless you particularly like spring snow. A larger group is probably better too: there's tons of space, and it's safer in my view to ride in a bigger group unless you know where the pickups are etc. Interesting they do short trips there, presumably because of the location (more flexible).

Someone may have already said it, but with CMH you get beginners who'll do the "just one more run" thing early in the week because they don't realize that a late afternoon bush-wack to the valley bottom through tracked out crud will cost peak rates on the extra vertical meter later.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Quote:

After a lot of consideration of a mass of options we eventually plumped for 3 days at Revelstoke to warm up, then 5 days heliskiing at the K2 Rotor lodge.


sounds fantastic. not jealous at all. trip report and pics are your dues Very Happy
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 You'll need to Register first of course.
You'll need to Register first of course.
mountainaddict wrote:
Just Googled 'Kyrgyzstan Heli Ski' and came up with a couple of very interesting looking operations:

- Looks incredible.
- Prices amazing - from about $400 a day on a five day trip.

BUT:
- Seemingly bank transfer only - no credit cards.
- Says subject to filling the helicopter with 13 guests. It's a bit unclear whether all (or just some) trips will take smaller groups or whether you have to book a full group of 13...
- Not clear where you have to get to to start the trips.

And some pretty up front advice about what's not included - must admit I haven't seen this in the Crystal or Inghams small print....
Quote:
Personal Expenses:Personal expenses could include charges for extra vertical, ski shop, alcohol, saunas and massages, telephone/internet and gratuitie, blackjack and hookers.


Sounds promising snowHead
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@jedster, Seems fair!

The powder dreams started last night!
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Thanks for the links clarky999.
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 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
jedster wrote:
Quote:

After a lot of consideration of a mass of options we eventually plumped for 3 days at Revelstoke to warm up, then 5 days heliskiing at the K2 Rotor lodge.


sounds fantastic. not jealous at all. trip report and pics are your dues Very Happy



http://youtube.com/v/7r05mmTNPdg

So what a trip that was!

As an introduction to heliskiing, that couldn't really have gone a lot better.

We started off with 3 days warm in Revelstoke. Interesting place, the terrain is fantastic, and in good conditions would be nearly enough to get me back across the Atlantic on its own, but the infrastructure just hasn't developed at the same pace as the demand I think. When we were there there had been a thaw to about half elevation, and then the freezing level had dropped down to a few hundred metres above the resort. So you had soft snow conditions at the top, spring snow at the bottom, but some almost unskiable refrozen rubbish in between. This effectively meant that the bottom 2/3 of the resort was out, as whilst there was reasonable skiing about half way down, there were no lifts to take you back up once you passed the bottom of the stoke chair unless you skied right down. So we had lift queues of 20 min as everyone lapped the 2 chairs. And only 1 place to eat, which as we were there at a weekend was rammed. Also worth mentioning that I have never ever been anywhere with such a high average level. Seemingly everyone there just rips. And they're all off piste skiers, I think I saw one pair of piste skis in 3 days. The average width of ski was well over 100mm.

So on to K2 based in Naksup. Quirky little place and the lodge is basically a motel in town. Rooms are "premier inn" but the food was really good and the atmosphere very friendly. The morning starts with a 20 min van ride up to the heli staging area (unless you're in group 1, when it's a 5 min ride to the heliport) and then you're off skiing. It's truly amazing how quickly you become blase about being picked up in a helicopter!
The conditions were pretty good, with plenty of fresh snow, although not the overhead blower pow that they were putting photos of on social media earlier in the season. Luck of the draw that one I guess, but we never had to ski on tracks there is an insane amount of terrain there. The only slight downside to conditions we had is that same thaw and freeze that had hit Revelstoke had also hit this area, but as it had snowed since all that it meant here was the last 200m of vert in some of the longer runs went from bottomless to being about 20-30cm on a hard base. If you skied that in Europe you'd call it a great day!
Terrain was mostly trees, and pretty bloody steep in places. We did get a break in the weather which allowed us to get up to the high alpine, but to be honest, as cool as skiing those vast powder fields was, after a couple of runs I was ready to go back to the trees and something a bit steeper. I got chatting to one guest who'd done a load of trips and he was lamenting the small amount of alpine stuff. He told me of one lodge where there is a 2000m vert run of just one pitch open pow field. Not for me...

We absolutely smashed through the allocated vert, running out with almost 2 full days left, so had a bill at the end. However it wasn't as much as I feared. As a comparison my total bill for the Revelstoke part of the trip (accommodation, food, liftpass) was more than my extra vert bill. As one of the group said, you just have to think of the extra vert as a bonus trip, and it works out as the cheapest heliskiing you ever do. Still not 100% convinced on that one, but comparing the prices I think we still didn't pay as much as the cheapest trip I saw giving unlimited vert. And it would be very hard to imagine doing more, we skied all day for 5 days with no down time at all in a pretty quick group.

The other thing I was worried about was the pressure to stack vertical, which just didn't materialise. All the skiers there were pretty chilled guys, and there was never any stress over waiting for people. That said I was glad to be one of the faster (though not technically the best by a long shot) skiers, as even though I'd deliberately done quite a lot of fitness stuff ahead of the trip, 5 days of heli is a LOT more tiring than 5 days of resort skiing. Doing that whilst also always being the last to the meet up and never getting a breather would have broken me.
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
@flaming, lightweight.

Additional vert is the cheapest heliskiing you can buy. Our last trip we ran out by lunchtime on day 3 of 7.

We were a carefully selected group must be said Happy

Sounds like you had fun, well done!
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
@flaming, nice report, cheers, are you able to share rough costings at all inc flights, accom, transport etc??
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
@kitenski, to be honest I haven't actually dared add it all up...!

A quick check tells me that excluding the Revvy part but with Car hire to get there and the flights and the extra vert it came in under £6k. Not as expensive as I had feared, but not exactly an every season trip either!
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
@flaming, looks fantastic.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@flaming, Interesting comment about the Alpine and Tree skiing, I'm happy when heliskiing with either, but it really depends on the quality of the Alpine and Tree skiing.

With regards to other skiers, I've never suffered really bad skiers (as in traverse, fall over, repeat in powder), and only once a skier who didn't seem to comprehend taking turns or overtaking the skier in front when instructed to wait 10 turns.

@under a new name, I agree on the extra vert. I once did 14 runs on a 6 run day package Toofy Grin
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@flaming, front side Revelstoke always seems to have heavy, thigh-breaking snow, but fortunately now where else around. You did well to avoid Selkirk - great guides but 10 to a heli means you'll always get someone that can't ski powder and the day becomes all about them. The cat operation there is top notch and the touring at the pass is amazing. Dining in town is good enough for a week's stay.
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