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How Hard is Heli Skiing?

Heli skier jumping high near helicopter.

Skiing is an amazing sport and something I enjoy immensely. However, if you want to take your skiing to the next level, you should consider trying heli-skiing. Heli-skiing is a type of skiing that is done using a helicopter to transport skiers to remote locations.

It is considered to be one of the most extreme forms of skiing, and it is definitely not for everyone.

So, how hard is heli skiing? The short answer is, it is hard. Read further to find out more about how much exertion this type of skiing requires.

What is Heli-Skiing?

This type of activity involves off-trail skiing downhill or snowboarding. It become popular in 1965 thanks to Hans Gmoser, who is often referred to as the “father of heli-skiing.”

Under his guidance, skiers in Canada were transported by helicopter to a remote location in the Selkirk Mountains. He provided lodging and guidance and made the activity, once used for rescuing, commercial.

Since then, it has become increasingly popular, but it is still considered to be a niche activity.

Most people who go heli-skiing are experienced skiers or snowboarders who are looking for a new challenge.

The Difficulties of Heli-Skiing

Heli skiing is much more difficult than regular skiing. The terrain is usually more challenging, and the conditions are often less than ideal. Heli-skiing requires a high level of fitness and endurance. If you become comfortable doing it, you will be in for a thrill of a lifetime.

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The Cost of Heli-Skiing

Heli skiers going inside the helicopter.

One of the main reasons that heli-skiing is so difficult is because it is so expensive. The cost of the helicopter ride alone is enough to discourage most people from even considering it.

In addition to the helicopter ride, you also have to pay for the guide, the lodging, and the equipment.

When you add it all up, it is not surprising that heli-skiing is considered to be a luxury activity.

Remote Locations

One of the most difficult things about heli-skiing is the fact that you are often skiing in remote locations. This means that if something goes wrong, it can be very difficult to get help.

There are often no cell phone reception and no easy way to get back to the base camp. This can be very challenging, especially for beginners.

If you get into trouble, you can find yourself in a very dangerous situation very quickly. So make sure you follow some safety rules below.

How To Call For Help In a Remote Location?

Heli skiing helicopter and a rescuer.

If you are in a remote location and you need to call for help, there are a few things that you can do.

First, keep a walkie-talkie with you at all times. This will allow you to communicate with the base camp if you lose cell phone reception.

Another option is to use a locator beacon. This is a device that sends out a signal that can be picked up by rescue crews.

However, the best thing to do is to try to avoid getting into trouble in the first place by being prepared and knowing your limits.

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Bad Weather Conditions

Another difficulty of heli-skiing is that you often have to ski in bad weather conditions. The weather can change very quickly in the mountains, and it is not always possible to avoid bad weather.

This can be very challenging, and it can even be dangerous. You need to be very careful in these conditions and make sure that you are prepared for anything.

One of the worse things you may get stuck in is an avalanche. If you find yourself in an avalanche, try to stay calm and use your avalanche transceiver to signal for help.

High Level of Fitness Required

Heli skier jumping high at slope.

As I mentioned before, heli-skiing requires a high level of fitness.

You need to be able to ski for long periods and have the endurance to keep going. This can be very difficult, especially if you are not used to skiing in these conditions.

On average, once you land, you will be skiing for at least 3-4 hours. And, you will be skiing at a high intensity. This is not an activity for someone who is out of shape.

Before attempting to test your limits on these remote slopes, try getting in better shape by spending time at your local ski resort. Running and swimming are also great exercises to help improve your endurance.

How To Prepare For Heli Skiing?

If you are thinking about trying heli-skiing, there are a few things that you can do to prepare.

First of all, make sure you have at least an intermediate level of skiiing. This is not an activity for beginners.

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You should also try to find some information about the area that you will be skiing in. This way, you will know what to expect and you can be prepared for the conditions. Try to find alternative routes in case you get lost.

Proper equipment is a must. This includes things like a GPS device, a walkie-talkie, and an avalanche transceiver.

It is also a good idea to take a first-aid course and learn how to deal with different injuries.

Finally, it is always a good idea to have a backup plan. This means having a way to get back to the base camp if something goes wrong.

Safety Tips For Heli-Skiing

There are a few safety tips that you should keep in mind if you are thinking about heli-skiing.

Get The Right Gear

Heli skier wearing proper gear.

Make sure that you are prepared for the conditions. This means having the right gear and knowing how to use it.

Your standard gear should include items such as:

  • a helmet
  • goggles
  • warm clothing
  • a transceiver
  • shovel
  • probe

These items can be very useful if you find yourself in a difficult situation. When it comes to clothing, make sure you dress in layers. This way, you can remove or add clothing as the conditions change.

Take A Safety Course

Before you go heli-skiing, it is a good idea to take a safety course. These courses will teach you how to stay safe in the mountains and what to do if something goes wrong.

There are a variety of different courses available, so make sure that you find one that is right for you.

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Know Your Limits

Woman heli-skier on slope area.

One of the most important safety tips is to know your limits. This means being honest with yourself about your skiing ability.

Do not push yourself to ski slopes that are beyond your level. It is better to ski an easier slope and have fun than it is to ski a difficult slope and put yourself in danger.

Follow The Rules

When you are heli-skiing, it is important to follow the rules. This means staying within the boundaries and skiing only in areas that are designated for heli-skiing.

If you are unsure about the rules, make sure to ask your guide or the people at the base camp. You must consider the safety of other people in addition to your own.

Don’t Go Alone

A group of heli-skiers preparing for skiing.

You should also try to ski with a partner. This way, you will have someone to help you if something goes wrong.

If you must go alone, make sure to let someone know where you are going and when you plan on being back.

Is Heli Skiing Too Difficult For You?

In conclusion, Heli-skiing is a great way to challenge yourself and take your skiing to the next level. However, it is important to be prepared for the challenges that you will face.

If you are in good shape and you know what to expect, then you will be able to enjoy this amazing experience.