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Heliskiing

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
abc wrote:
... Doing what right? Heli or resort?

I think you can work that out from the context if you think it through.
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philwig wrote:
abc wrote:
... Doing what right? Heli or resort?

I think you can work that out from the context if you think it through.

It's not what I think that matters. It's what YOU think and what you mean in your post.

If it's not clear to the reader, it's not the writer's fault... rolling eyes
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Many years ago i was persuaded to take out an endowment policy.After having watched helisking films (which were not as now everywhere) i said i would use the final payment to go heliskiing. As time passed and having had the good fortune to have some good powder days in the alps i began to think that i could use the money to buy an appartement in the alps and then it would be there forever and not just one amazing time! The policy matured and with the benefit of a strong pound and cheaper property prices i bought a small appartement which i have now had for 14 years .In this time i have spent over 70 weeks there in winter and had some amazing days not too mention the summer hols. I know it may not be helli skiing but some of those day are truely unforgetable. I think i have had great value but i still have a desire just to try helli to tick the box!
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@brock, I know what you mean.

I've done two lifts in Sweden but that was really just a taster.

That said I'm more than happy with my "lot" and I'm even leaving the French Alps for a couple of weeks in Japan, so watch the French Alps have their best ever season.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
BobinCH wrote:


PNH sounds perfect. When's the best time to go?


For Alaska it's March/April. PNH start their season around the last week of Feb. Powder isn't guaranteed, it could be spring snow on south faces / chalky north faces if it's not snowed for a while.

BTW one thing that tilted me towards PNH is the existence of a single-seat chairlift in Cordova which could provide skiing during bad weather days - however the two seasons I went there was no snow at all down to the altitude of the chairlift, which is not far above sea level, and I don't think the lift even ran all season. There's some other stuff to do though - hiking, ice climbing, shooting.
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AK is a long way to go for hiking, climbing, shooting...
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under a new name wrote:
AK is a long and expensive way to go for hiking, climbing, shooting...
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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!
@Mike Pow, that as well...

[Edit for clarity] I mean, don't get me wrong, if I could allocate the time or economics, I'd be there. Like a shot.


Last edited by After all it is free Go on u know u want to! on Wed 14-06-17 16:50; edited 1 time in total
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under a new name wrote:
AK is a long way to go for hiking, climbing, shooting...

And fishing... Toofy Grin
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In the words of Benjamin Franklin: "the only think guaranteed in life is death and taxes... "

but you've got to be in it to win it....
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@BobinCH, if you can, do.
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under a new name wrote:
... don't get me wrong, if I could allocate the time or economics, I'd be there. Like a shot.

I only rode with one person who went to AK and didn't go back - Don Wildman. He said said (of the early AK days) that it was more scary than being shot at, so he backed off to BC. This is why the OP should go there.

There are lots of reasons to stay home, but mostly they probably come down how much you want to do something. Every day I don't watch football because I really don't think a right lot of blokes in shorts kicking a ball around. I could argue that it's too expensive or rainy or whatever, but the fact is I just don't get it. You either get it or you don't.
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philwig wrote:
under a new name wrote:
... don't get me wrong, if I could allocate the time or economics, I'd be there. Like a shot.

I only rode with one person who went to AK and didn't go back - Don Wildman. He said said (of the early AK days) that it was more scary than being shot at, so he backed off to BC. This is why the OP should go there.

There are lots of reasons to stay home, but mostly they probably come down how much you want to do something. Every day I don't watch football because I really don't think a right lot of blokes in shorts kicking a ball around. I could argue that it's too expensive or rainy or whatever, but the fact is I just don't get it. You either get it or you don't.


I get it.

And the one time I had the finances to do it, I chose to use the funds which would have given me 1 experience - albeit the creme de la creme - to finance 6 European ski experiences.

6 days on snow versus 40 days on snow.

The choices we make Smile
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@philwig, Really, I get it. But it's also not just me and my own excuses. wink
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philwig wrote:

There are lots of reasons to stay home, but mostly they probably come down how much you want to do something.

Or that you want to do something else more !

mike pow wrote:



I get it.

And the one time I had the finances to do it, I chose to use the funds which would have given me 1 experience - albeit the creme de la creme - to finance 6 European ski experiences.

6 days on snow versus 40 days on snow.

The choices we make Smile

^^^ Very Happy
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 Poster: A snowHead
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Be warned heli-skiing is addictive!
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Be warned heli-skiing is addictive!
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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?
How about Alagna for a first timer?
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@iainm, I suspect the OP skis snow that is broadly the same as in Alagna week in week out. I would definitely punt my hypothetical heli budget on somewhere more likely to deliver me steep & deep in a given week.
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@Dave of the Marmottes, that's a very good point, I think I'd want a significant upgrade to the 4 Vallees if I was stumping up...
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The OP had made it clear it isn't so much about the heli, but more about the kind of terrain and snow which a heli will be the best way to deliver.
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iainm wrote:
How about Alagna for a first timer?

As they said, the OP want something more, and the given suggestions sound good to me.

If your question is more general, then ... it depends what you want.

Flying in a heli can be fun if you've not done it before, and that's the same anywhere. You're probably not going to get anywhere you couldn't otherwise access in Europe. The snow will be pretty similar to the stuff at the resort you're flying out of, and is unlikely to be consistent top to bottom. You'll probably not be particularly exercised if you're any good.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
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phpilwig - oh so misguided. Flying in a heli IS fun (not CAN be) and gives a thrill everytime, if its stop giving a thrill its time to stop heli skiing! Probably not going to get anywhere you couldnt access in Europe? Top of a glacier with around 7,000 feet of descent to ski on a glorious sunny day would be hard to find in Europe. Several of the Canadian heli lodges offer steep and deep camps and smaller groups for really expert skiiers, there is a choice for all but the first choice is whether to spend the money, once that decision is made the world is your lobster. Personally I now choose April skiing in CMH Bugaboos due to a range of issues not least of which is the relatively low cost of low season, the warmer weather, reducing energy due age and a health issue and the sheer joy of the scenery, the place, the staff, the guides and the whole experience. The skiing is mellow and wouldnt provide the thrills the original poster is seeking but there are other lodges and operators who can offer much more excitement than I now seek. Oh how lovely it would be to be 30 years younger but there was a priceless letter in the Guardian this week where someone said that what she would be looking for in a retirement home, when the time came, was a ski in ski out home!
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@FFIRMIN, you've misread/misunderstood @philwig. He's making the point that heliskiing IN EUROPE isn't the same as in Canada(/AK/etc), and that you get similar skiing/snow from the lifts in many European resorts as you do from the Euro heli operators.

If you didn't pick up on it from this and other threads, he's rather a fan of heliskiing (well, boarding) wink

Do many of the Canadian ops really regularly get you 2200 vertical metre descents from one drop? Plenty of places in Europe you can get 1500-2000m descents from the top of a glacier in the sun though, lots of them with lifts!
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wink What he said. Apologies for not being clearer.

The same point was unwittingly made by others earlier, regarding European heli.

--
No, they do not. It's a different concept.

There are big lines if you want to look for them, although you'll need good visibility and you're unlikely to find consistently good snow top to bottom.
You're more likely to be take to the steepest lines you & the conditions can handle with the best snow.
High pickups are used to help with this - you stop descending when the snow stops being great.
So not one run, or even 3 runs, more like 15.

Joke containing sarcasm: I ride top to bottom without stopping, so I guess I couldn't handle those long runs anyway wink
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@philwig, that's what I thought!
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Most of the heli drops in CH are easily accessible on skis and aren't interesting ski descents - Rosablanche, Pigne d'Arolla etc and I've skied them several times. I did Petit Combin by heli which is a pretty cool day and sees no touring traffic. Some friends had a great day in Italy, Monterosa a few years back and that's probably the best option in the Alps when conditions are good.

For me AK is less about the heli than the scale and type of terrain that you literally have to yourselves.

Just have to get over the 40 hour journey, $10k budget and risk of weather not playing ball...
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I'm curious, does a good heli trip "ruin" your appetite for "regular" skiing? At least for a while? Many talked about how spectacular their heli trips were. Did everything else feel "meh" after such a good heli trip?

I have the funds to do one or even more than one heli trips. But I haven't done any so far, because it would be at the expense of many more days of resort skiing. At the moment, I have more time than funds so I'm sticking to lots of days in resort. But the situation may change again (less free time, which often accompanied with more disposable income).

I'm certainly not seeking radical terrain. Just enjoyable skiing, which I found plenty of in lift-served resort so far.
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@abc, didn't ruin my appetite. Just made me want more quality heli more.

that said, it's the more radical terrain that makes it. If you don't want deeper/steeper (by deeper, knee deep is generally considered just about acceptable wink ) then no point.
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@under a new name, I certainly don't seek out steeper. As long as it's steep enough to overcome the resistance of the powder, that is.

As for deeper, I'm not sure. I've skied on knee/thigh deep a few times. I haven't found it to be particularly more or less enjoyable to anything deeper than boot top depth. In fact, I found it's not so much the depth, but the dryness of the snow that makes it most enjoyable for me. (though that may have to do with my having skied a lot of not-so-dry powder but only very rarely the super-dry "blower" powder, making me feeling the latter more special)

So I'll take your recommendation to stick with lots of days of skiing in resort to maximize my chance of hitting upon good snow days.
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abc wrote:
I'm curious, does a good heli trip "ruin" your appetite for "regular" skiing? At least for a while ...

I suppose everyone is different. In my case, it doesn't, but it does change your perspective.

I still visit resorts now and then, because I like the sensation of a hard-carved turn on my race board. It's essentially the same skill, but a very different feel and approach. Resorts tend to feel very crowded, with people absolutely everywhere. I don't any more bother working to find powder. I'll take it if it's there, but it's not the best stuff and there's no need to waste time chasing it. If I'm going to a resort I won't bother taking a dedicated powder board, as I can ride their stuff on a race board.
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abc wrote:
I'm curious, does a good heli trip "ruin" your appetite for "regular" skiing? At least for a while?


It did for me, the buzz of the day, the powder, made resort riding a little less exciting but searching for more pow in and around the resort made up for it. The biggest difference for me was when I first went to north America as opposed to Europe. Apart from convenience I'd never like to ride in Europe again.
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BobinCH wrote:
Anyone done a big heliski trip to Alaska or one of the more remote places e.g. Kamchatka?

A mate went to Alaska (Valdez?) a couple of years back, had great conditions and raved about it but it cost a fortune (over GBP10k) and seems predominantly setup for wealthy American business men which doesn't really appeal.

I guess I'd be looking for similarly impressive terrain but a less "packaged" experience.

Anyone done/researched this?


Considered North Cascades Heli in Washington State?

Heard and seen nothing but good.

https://heli-ski.com/

https://www.tetongravity.com/story/snowboard/Go-North-Cascade-Heli-6520226


http://youtube.com/v/EdsgfKGh_zE
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Remote but close to the UK is Greenland

Friends of mine went for a couple weeks this spring, said it was amazing. Looked pretty unreal. They ate cornflakes for breakfast, so if you're wanting a full english every morning you might want to pass
NehNeh

If you're looking at "cheap" and cheerful then consider doing heli drops with local guides in BC or Iceland. Heliskiing style first run then ski tour up high for the rest of the day.
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@Mike Pow,

Video looks a bit meadow hopping no?

I know it's just a promo video but compare to this one...


http://youtube.com/v/DmE8jVLFhOo
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Big difference between customer video and promo with a pro.

Both operations have the terrain, accessing it depends on ability and stability.
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I wonder just how many punter videos from AK look like that? I am sure some do...
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Sorry philwig, I did misunderstand but no harm done. Clarky999 yes you can get lots of I have found my run list from 2015 (cant immediately find this years), the conditions vary from day to day and this is late April (18 - 25) so skiing tends to involve relatively high pick ups as the snow gets slushy lower down, Saturday was afternoon skiing only so just three runs of 500, 560 and 560 metres. Sunday was a great day with a total of 8,890 metres including one run of 1100 metres, three over 900 metres plus 7 other runs varying between 400 and 900. Monday was not quite so good with only (yes only) 7870 metres in 10 runs. Tuesday saw 5220 metres, Wednesday was obviously a poor weather day when every one skiied one run, Thursday was 6490 metre day and Friday was 4,240 metres. Highest skiier total for this week was 112259 metres. I have another run list for a slightly earlier week (finishing on the 15th) in April 2011 where the highest skier total was 153288 metres. As I said, in April the runs tend to be shorter than earlier/mid season.

It is just such fun!
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BobinCH wrote:
Thanks all for the replies and ideas

I'm really looking for somewhere with the potential for sphincter-tingling terrain and willing to take the chance with weather.

It'd likely be a once in a lifetime trip and quality definitely more important than quantity.

Seems Alaska is the spot but group dynamics and weather are big risks


Have you considered a week in Japan - Hakuba area or SW Hokkaido - followed by a week in Kamchatka?

Guys I worked with in the Niseko Resort Area did this. They were skiing a couple of days a week, then ramped it up to a week in a row, then flew to Kamchatka.

Had their deep powder fix on Hokkaido and then heli & steep and long vert fix on Kamchatka.

Had a couple of days of corn on the volcanoes and the rest powder.

Two exciting destinations too, with plenty off snow to make it a trip of a lifetime.
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