Whistler’s Version of the Ski Lift: Heli-Skiing Not for the Faint of Heart

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There’s fresh powder and then there’s idle powder that’s rarely seen or sought out by avid skiers, hobbyists needing the aid of helicopter to reach peaks and aspired heights.

Heli-skiing is not for the faint of heart or the beginner skier, but if a long trek down a radical slope sounds like your brand of fun, read on about doing it around the Whistler mountain resort.

How Good?

Heli-skiing is a pastime of avid, intermediate, and expert skiers – kids included. Hosts provide those interested with a survey that identifies skill level, experience, and reluctance.  Hosts do their best in pairing (usually up to five people) those with similar experience and skill levels.

There are differences in packages for expert skiers who are concerned about staying challenged.  The beginning and end of the season sometimes groups skiers of various abilities together.

How High?

The average run starts at about 2,000 feet.  But, some peaks are as low as 1,000 and as high as 5,000 feet.  45 minutes is the average time it takes to complete a run, but each is unique and skier ability plays a factor.

Don’t worry about a leap out of the helicopter adding a few feet.  The helicopter lands safely, letting participants out who then put on gear and get ready for a ride of a lifetime.

How Risky?

Professional services coordinate with ski patrol members to keep all skiers safe on the mountain.  Of course, the winter always presents a chance of avalanche, yet guides monitor slopes and conditions daily, advising heli-ski participants about dangers.

Snow conditions change each day, yet Whistler resides in an area receiving consistent snowfall that creates fresh powder conditions.  The runs take place in the Pacific Coast Mountain Range to the east, west, north, and south of the main resort and Whistler Blackcomb lodging. The area does host a number of trees, so riders need to navigate throughout uncharted powder.

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How Prepared?

The necessary attire is similar to gear worn on the Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains.  Breathable, water-resistant, and windproof material is a must along with goggles, gloves, and a warm hat.  Dress in layers but don’t overdress for the occasion.

If you’re unsure or unprepared, workers at the Whistler Heli-Skiing store can help you prepare for the high slopes and intense conditions.

How Many?

Good skiers complete eight to ten runs per day using a Bell 205 helicopter, and those using a Bell 407 can get in ten t0 twelve.  If you think you have what it takes to do more than 25 in one day (That’s the record.), let it be known when making your reservation.

Traditionally, February and March, when conditions most reliable, are the best times to go, yet workers report that conditions can be good as early as December and as late as April.

If you’re a skier or snowboarder, don’t miss the chance to take a helicopter ride to slopes offering fresh powder and previously unseen conditions.  Contact Whistler reps for more information about heli-skiing, an experience waiting for you.

Kevin Martel is a self-confessed ski fanatic. When he’s not swishing down the slopes, he’s writing about it to help others discover his passion. You can find his interesting posts mainly on vacation, travel and recreational blog sites.