heli-skiing canada, vail colorado helicopter skiing

Heliskiing vs. Resort Skiing, We Do the Math to Maximize Powder Value

Heliskiing vs Resort Skiing – We do the Math to Maximize Powder Value

EASY MATH: CANADIAN HELISKIING FOR MAXIMUM POWDER VALUE

Written by Tom Jackson

This time of year skiers and riders start to make plans for their winter trips.  Most assume that a resort trip is less expensive.   That may be true (although by a surprisingly small margin when you compare, so keep reading.)  But heliskiing is more cost effective.

It is not obvious, so we did some analysis. We compared a week of heliskiing Canada to a week at Vail, Colorado. And we love Vail.  I spent two seasons and many, many weekends there!  This analysis is getting long in the tooth.  Time to revisit it.

heli-skiing canada, vail colorado helicopter skiing
Full Disclosure: as the leading heliskiing Canada broker/agent, HELISKI.com, I will admit we are biased. HELISKI.com and HeliskiingReview.com represent over 90% of all Canadian heliskiing, so we know the best options.

The lodging we chose for the Resort comparison was Vail’s Tivoli Hotel – a nice 4 Star within easy walking distance of the lifts (although significantly farther than the chopper is from the lodge…..)   It is also not the kind of remote lodge/setting you can get when helisking.

We skied every day, hired an instructor to skip lift lines, ate at moderately priced (for Vail) restaurants and rented nice equipment.  February is the month we chose. We assumed the same airfare for both (even though some heliski operators actually pick up the last leg of the trip.)  Now that the Denver airport (DOA) is in Kansas, we assume the travel hassles to be comparable. In either case, guests can drive, ride a couple of hours in a shuttle or take a puddle jumper.

The cost of the Resort Trip:

February week-long trip to Vail, 1 Person

heliskiing canada costs, helicopter skiing canada vs resort skiing
We also looked at 5 of our favorite Canada heliskiing operators.  For one week, we got an average cost of $8700 Can., $8,430 US

Preliminary Results

Vail Resort:  $8,055
Heliskiing Canada:  $8,430

Amazing, eh?  Admittedly, we conveniently omitted extra vertical charges – some Canadian heli-skiing operators include unlimited vertical, some charge over 100,000 vertical.  Extra vertical is optional, that’s my story and I’m sticking with it.  In any case, the Resort is still cheaper, even if only barely.

 

The rest of the Story:

Any comparison must include qualitative information, too. It is hard to compare a week in a remote heliskiing lodge and the convenience, decadence and comfort it offers.  The reader will have to weigh the difference.

Heli-skiing canada lodge, canadian helicopter skiing lodge

Skeena Canadian Heli-Skiing Lodge

How much more exciting and enjoyable is heliskiing?  Untracked on every run, all week, without hurrying?!?  It’s subjective, but for me a powder run is probably ten times better than a non-powder run.  Maybe it’s five, maybe it’s 20.  Let’s use Powder Value (PV) to compare. Each vertical foot of powder will be one PV. One vertical foot non-powder is therefore is 1/10 PV or 0.1 PV.

heliskiing british columbia powder, backcountry heliskiing bc

Is a powder run 10 X better?

A powder run which you do not have to hustle and compete for is certainly more enjoyable.  We could say there is nothing like it on earth, but that’s Vail’s slogan.  So, we give a heliski powder run 25% more powder value (PV).  I know the locals ski until it’s tracked (11-12:00 and that is getting earlier every year…)

The average Vail resort skier/rider accumulates about 12,000 vertical feet/day, totaling 72,000 for the week.  Anyone interested in heliskiing is probably doing more, so we bumped it by about half, calling it 100,000 vertical feet for the week.

On average, one storm will hit in our week. In Vail, that’s a foot of ‘new’, if you’re lucky.  Untracked powder runs will dry up by 11:00 or 12:00, unless you know the mountain and hug the trees.  A side note: this is getting worse every year with faster chairs and fat skis proliferating, but I digress.  We give the benefit of the doubt, and assume ½ of one day, so 9,000 feet of powder skiing (PV) with some effort.  The rest of the week amounts to 9,100 PV (91,000 feet * 0.1).

The Resort total is 18,100 PV.

Canadian Heliskiing operators include 100,000 vertical feet (or more), with 25% higher PV than the resort.

The heli-skiing Canada total is 125,000 PV

 

Final Results

Vail Resort 18,100 Powder Value  for $8,055
Heliskiing Canada 125,000 Powder Value for $8,430

Fun Ratio: 125/18.1 = Almost 7 times more fun to heliski Canada than a week at a resort!

The price is roughly comparable.  And you can certainly do a resort week for less.  You can also pay more for heliskiing, but the PV will also increase.

But the kicker is that, for about the same price, Heliskiing Canada trip is 7 times more fun!
Best,

tj

Tom Jackson
CPO (Chief Powder Officer)
HELISKI.com
HEIBOARD.com
866-HELISKI 
(866-435-4754)

Altitude is Everything – HELISKI.com Interviews RK Heliski

 

RK Heliski Interview with Panorama Heli Skiing Operator

 

RK Heliski is one of the pioneers of heliskiing, including an affiliation with Hans Gmoser and CMH / Canadian Mountain Holidays.  For 46 years RK Heliski has offered heliskiing in the Purcells from the Panorama Resort.

This past season was challenging.   But working with RK, we were able to rescue some clients by sending them to RK, where the conditions were excellent.   One client wrote, “You are a genius!!!  Thank you so much it was perfect!!!!!!”   So, thanks to RK Heliski for making us look good!

We had a chance to talk with Graham Holt, GM of RK Heliski.   I hope you enjoy it.

rk heliski chopper pic

Should your slogan be “Altitude is Everything”?  (It is now, after I suggested it!)


Love that, TJ!

Heliskiing the Purcells for 46 years?!  You came right on the heels of CMH. How did you pick your terrain/tenure?

The initial operation was owned and operated as CMH Radium which ran for a year in the front ranges of the Purcells. During the same time Roger Madson (RK) was pioneering fixed wing skiing via a Platus Porter aircraft on the NorthStar and Catamount Glaciers. After a few challenging landings, and requiring a rescue for a maintenance issue of the plane in the backcountry, RK had heard of Hans Gmoser utilizing a helicopter further up valley and enlisted his services. From that day forward Roger Madson entered into an arrangement with Hans and moved operations adjacent to the Panorama Ski Area where the real snowbelt could be accessed. Over the years, the further West in our tenure you go the deeper the snowpack. Overtime the tenure has grown to 1500 sq/km. Altitude is everything, and 45 yrs later we have pioneered our entire ski/snowboard tenure and know it intimitley.

Describe the RK Heliski terrain in the Purcell Mountains, please.


Alpine glaciated terrain 3400m-2600m, Treeline terrain 2600m-2200m, below tree line terrain 2500m-1500m. Average length of run approx. 800m. Good stability and clear skies we can access runs that average 1000m with the longest runs being 1500m. Treeline terrain is a mixture of wide open bowls with very sparse trees at lower elevations, adventure terrain, with a mixture of boulders, morainal features. Below tree line skiing is open maintained runs. Steeper tree skiing can be 45 degrees. During poor weather or stability we have numerous safe runs to handle all levels of experience.

RK heliski high alpine

RK Heliski offers a wide variety of packages.   Please give our readers a summary.


RK offers daily packages starting at a 3 run or a 5 run package for those looking for a single powder adventure. Guests also have the option to ski extra runs and can be decided on the day they are skiing. We gear our 3 run packages to first time/intermediate heli skiers and our 5 runs toward more advance to expert skiers.

We also provide a number of private packages ranging from a Powder Private which includes 5 runs. This package allows you up to 7 skiers and the exclusivity of your own group. Whether your group prefers to ski at a mellow place or ski at a fast and aggressive pace this option is for you. Our Elite and Platinum packages are based on 1.5 hrs. of flying time so for those that really love to ski and want to experience the Purcell Mountains on their own terms this is for them. These packages include a private breakfast in the morning as well as have exclusive use of the Bell 204 helicopter. Our Platinum package includes an extra ACMG ski guide.

All our packages include breakfast in the morning, lunch out in the field, ski’s/poles and/or snowboard, guest pack containing shovel, probe and radio as well as your transceiver and holster. We provide full training on the use of this equipment. All our packages can be transformed to multi-days as well.

I think HELISKI.com clients appreciate the Private Platinum package.


rk heliski tele pow shot

How much vertical can they expect with 1.5 hours of flight time?

9000-10000m

What is the mix of day heliskiers and multi-day/private?


50% day skiers and 30% multi-day, 20% exclusive privates

 

rk heliski trees

RK Heliski, like most resort-based operators, does not have a lodge.  How do multi-day clients find lodging?


RK Heliski can provide a wide range accommodation found on our website that meets the needs of all ranges of budgets. Being based at Panorama Mountain Resort we have a variety of accommodation to suit every guests needs and budget from hotel rooms, condo units, townhomes and private chalets.

Why do you recommend the Cranbrook airport.


1hr 45min drive by vehicle to arrive at our base operations the Heli Plex.  Calgary is 3.5hrs away.  After a long flight this proximity is what we recommend.  For those clients that want to heliski and explore other ski destinations a stop over from Calgary in Banff is also a must do.

rk heliski to airport map

Why do RK Heliski Private packages use a Bell 204 Plus?


The 204 plus is a Bell 204 with a 205 engine, lot’s of power and fuel efficiency at altitude. A lot of space to stretch out between runs, easier access entering and exiting the aircraft when compared to light machines.

Tell us about the Banff and Lake Louise options.


World class accommodation at the Fairmont hotels in Banff and Lake Louise. These two gems are the basis behind Banff National Park being established when considering Western Canadian being accessible from the building of the historic Canadian Pacific Railway in 1888. A wide range of chalets, private homes, quaint mountain accommodation.

Thanks, Graham!

Best BC Heliskiing Series: Best Short BC Heliski Trips

Best BC Heliskiing Series: Best Short Heliski BC Trips

The Best Short Southeast BC Heliski Options

This is the third in our series on the best heliski BC trips.  Heliski.com clients often ask us to put together the best short BC heliski trips.  This usually includes 3 or 4 days of BC heliskiing with minimal travel time and minimal risk.  For some, it is more about getting the best deal.   Others want to combine heli-skiing BC and resort skiing.

Also check out our previous articles on Revelstoke’s Best Short Heli Ski BC Trips and Best Short Heliskiing BC Trips – Coast Range   

Here we discuss the best short BC heliski trips in the mecca of BC heliskiing- Southeast British Columbia.
In future posts, we will offer advice for the best heliskiing in the US and the best BC heliskiing combined with resort skiing and riding.

SE BC Heliskiing Travel Time / Convenience

Southeast British Columbia is where the majority of BC heli-skiing is found.  It is remote.   But paraphrasing Hans Gmoser, Founder of CMH Heliskiing, ‘Beautiful places are not always easy to reach, but it is worth the effort.’  Most heliskiers fly into Calgary, then drive or take a bus or shuttle to the lodge or to the helipad.   Flying into Kelowna is also becoming more popular, with direct flights from these airports:

Edmonton, Victoria, Kamloops, Prince George, Red Deer, Abbotsford, Cranbrook and Whitehorse, LA, Phoenix, Seattle, Las Vegas, Cancun, Los Cabos and Puerto Vallarta.A couple of lodges, including one mentioned below, are accessed through Spokane, Washington in the US.

SE Heliski BC Cost

SE BC heliskiing operators offer the best deals in the early and late season.   Unlimited vertical packages may be worth it, especially in the Spring when days are longer.  More traditional pricing, including a specified number of vertical feet, allow guests to decide when to pay to continue skiing.

BC Heliskiing Down Day Risk

Down day risk lessens as one moves North in SE British Columbia.   The North is typically colder, and the snow can be drier and lighter.  And surprisingly, the South can be influenced by Coastal weather patterns.   That means tons of snow, but can ground the chopper.   This is one of the  reasons why we like Snowwater Heliskiing’s catskiing backup.

The Best Short Heliski BC Trips – Southeast BC Heliskiing

And the winners for Best Short SE BC Heliski trips are:  Great Canadian Heli-Skiing, CMH Kootenay and Snowwater Heliskiing

Great Canadian Heliski BC

Great Canadian Heli-Skiing BC runs a great operation in Golden, BC.It is only 4 hours from Calgary.  Great Canadian Heli Skiing offers a shuttle, but only on Saturdays.  And it is on the East side of Rogers Pass – the most frequently closed highway in Canada.  So a rental car in a good option.  One of the best features for short trips BC Heliski trips is that Great Canadian Heli-Skiing allows guests to begin and end visits on any day, which is unique, and very cool.

All trips at Great Canadian Heli-Skiing BC are small group and unlimited vertical.   It is not the least expensive option, but guests can rack up the vertical.  Some of their best terrain is very close to the lodge.  So guests heliski / heliboard early and often.   Great Canadian Heli-Skiing BC is also on the leeward side of the Pass, so they enjoy lighter drier snow and fewer down days. Great Canadian Heli-Skiing BC boasts just two down days per season!

The Great Canadian Heli-Skiing lodge accommodates 24 guests.  Heli-Skiing is in six groups of four.  So if you do not bring your own group, Great Canadian Heliskiing can always match you with other like-minded heliskiers with compatible abilities.

Check out our Interview with one of the BC Heliski winners, Great Canadian Heli Skiing

bc heliskiing, heliski bc

Great Canadian Heli-Skiing’s famous Burnt Forest offer high-speed tree skiing.

CMH/Kootenay BC Heliskiing

Canadian Mountain Holidays has 12 BC heli-skiing lodges. The best kept secret may be CMH Kootenay, formerly known as K2.  It was a join venture between the two companies, with obvious symmetry, but now it’s just CMH.  The trips are usually pretty good deals.  Kootenay BC heliskiing is famous for tree skiing.

Lodging is a hotel.   The best feature is the outdoor hot springs.  So if you are looking for a deal, consider Kootenay BC Heliski as an option.  CMH runs both small and large group trips at Kootenay BC Heli-Skiing.   Special weeks include Steep Shots and Pillow Drops.3, 4 and 5 day trips offer great flexibility. Guests need to find their own way to the lodge in Katsup.  This usually means flying to Kelowna, BC or Spokane, WA and renting a car. The drive is 4 and 5 hours, respectively.

Check out our Interview with CMH Kootenay 

bc heliskiing cmh, heliski bc, CMH kootenays

Snowwater Heliski BC

Another gem of SE BC heliskiing is Snowwater Heli-Skiing BC.  It is an intimate setting, hosted by the owners, husband and wife Patric and Maria.

Snowwater Heli-Skiing BC is also exclusive, catering to 12 guests at any one time.  The food and wine are excellent.

Snowwater Heli-Skiing BC offers 3, 4, 5  and 7-day trips with Unlimited Vertical.   Three groups of four heliski BC groups share an A-Star.  And if the weather does not cooperate, catskiing backup is on the ready.  I have had the good fortune (I think) of experiencing this first-hand.   Our group switched back and forth seamlessly a few times during one day.  In my experience, Snowwater does it better than any operators.

Snowwater also offers a combination Resort, Cat, Heliski BC Trip called the Kootenay Sampler.   Although it is not a short trip, it is a very cool week of powder skiing at a very attractive price.

Guests usually fly to Spokane, WA, rent a car and drive 4 hours North.   It is possible to fly to Castlegar, BC and take a cab to Nelson.

Also check out our Interview with Snowwater Heli-Skiing BC

heliski BC, snowwater bc heliskiing, Image: Bryan Ralph

Cheers from Maria and Patric, Married Owners & Guides – Snowwater Heliskiing BC.

Let us know if we can assist with recommendations for the best BC heliskiing trip
tj

Best Heli-Skiing: Best Short Heliskiing Trips Coast Range

Best Heli-Skiing Series:

The Best Short Heli-Skiing Trips – Coast Range

clients often ask us to put together the best short heli-skiing trips.  This usually includes 3 or 4 days of heli-skiing with minimal travel time and minimal risk.  For some, it is more about getting the best deal.   Others want to combine heli-skiing and resort skiing.

Here we discuss the best short heli-skiing trips to destination lodges.  Here we discuss the best short heli-skiing trips to destination lodges in the Coast Range.  In future posts, we will offer advice for the best heli-skiing in and around Revelstoke, Southeastern BC, and the best heli-skiing combined with resort skiing and boarding.

Travel Time

Travel time is often paramount.   Many clients need to minimize their time away from the office and the family.  So our list includes options with the most convenient travel, as well as the most reliable.  Not all airports are created equally when it comes to flight cancellations.

Convenience

If convenience is very important, we recommend operators that pick up clients at the airport.    Renting a car and driving on unfamiliar roads introduces hassle and risk that some clients would rather avoid.  And some clients hate buses.

Heli Skiing Cost

Cost is also a factor for some.   Unfortunately, the price-quantity curve dictates that the best deals are for the longer trips.  But we have some alternatives for clients looking to stretch their dollars.  There are also trade-offs between unlimited vertical options and fixed-price plus extra vertical.

Down Day Risk

A down day on a 7-day trip is not the end of the world.   Re-group, rest, recuperate and enjoy some other activity.  But a down day on a 3 day trip is a disaster.   So our recommendations include operators with very few down days, as well as those with catskiing and resort backup.

 

The Best Short Heli-Skiing Trips – Coast Range

northern escape heli-skiing lodge and helicopter

Northern Escape Heli-Skiing – One of the Best for Easy Access

Northern Escape Heli-Skiing is an excellent choice for short trips.  NEH is located just 20 minutes from the Terrace BC airport.   Guests can leave San Francisco at noon and easily make dinner at the lodge!   Another great feature at NEH is cat backup.    NEH guests ski even when the chopper cannot fly.

Northern Escape also offers a unique Vertical Option.  For a few hundred dollars per day, committed in advance, clients can add unlimited vertical to any package.  One catch – guests must decide in advance to add the unlimited vertical option.

bella coola best heli-skiing logistics Bella Coola Heli-Skiing Guests Make Turns on Arrival and Departure Days

 

 

Bella Coola Heli-Skiing has a unique travel set-up that works great for short heliski trips. Guests can heli-ski on BOTH Arrival and Departure Days!  This is how it works: after staying the night in Vancouver, guests take a 70 minute, mid-morning flight to Bella Coola. On arrival, lodge staff provide a picnic lunch, followed by a safety briefing from the guiding team. Once this is completed, guests heliski their way from the airport to the lodge.  Departure Day is just as cool.  Guests heliski their way to the airport, arriving about lunch time. Since the flight arrives back in Vancouver around 2pm, guests are able to fly home that evening!

And airfare is included in their prices.  On a 3-night trip, guests ski two full days and two half days.  4-night trips include three full days and two half days of heli-skiing.  Cool, eh?

Bella Coola Heli-Skiing also has two packages for short trips.  Tweedsmuir Lodge is their classic remote lodge experience.  Big Mountain is hotel lodging, no frills and attractive pricing.  By the way, BCHS uses the same approach on their longer heli-skiing trips, too.

Let me know and I will put together the best options for your short (or long) heliskiing trip.

Best,

tj

heli-skiing revelstoke, revelstoke helicopter skiing

Interview with Revelstoke Heli-Ski Operator Selkirk-Tangiers Heli-Skiing

 

heli-skiing revelstoke, revelstoke helicopter skiing
The rare Flying Hottie, spotted in the backcountry near Revelstoke, BC Canada

20111031_heliski_revelstoke

Interview by Tom Jackson, HELISKI.com

1. How long has Selkirk Tangiers Heli Skiing been flying out of Revelstoke, BC, and how many skiers and riders have had their best day ever with STHS?

This is our 35th year of operation!

Thousands? Hundreds of thousands? We’ve got a huge client base from all over the world.

 

heliski revelstoke canada, heli-skiing revelstoke

 

Looks good to me…

2. A few years ago you joined forces with Revelstoke Mountain Resort. How have things changed?

It has created lots of opportunities for us to create new packages and offerings for our guests (heliski out of Nelsen Lodge, Lift & Heli Combo incl. 3 days of heliskiing and 2 days at RMR…). We still offer our guests the same amazing heliskiing products we always have but with a lot more options.

heliskiing revelstoke bc, helicopter skiing revelstoke canada

3. Your 500,000-acre tenure includes the Monashees and the Selkirk Mountains. Compare and contrast the two, please.

A lot of the same goods! Both ranges run North-South through and around Revelstoke, BC. The Selkirk mountain range lies to the East of Revelstoke and the Monashee mountain range lies to the West of town. The bulk of our tenure is located in the Selkirk mountains so we tend to spend a lot of the time there, but we do like to check out the Monashee side of STHS as often as possible as well! They both include plenty of treeskiing, alpine bowls and glaciers for our guests to enjoy.

 

4. I get ‘Selkirk’ (the mountain range), but what the heck is Tangiers in Selkirk Tangiers Heli Skiing Revelstoke?

It’s Tangiers is the name of a zone river in our northern Selkirk terrain, named after the Tangiers river. It is where the company’s original founder and owner, Peter Schlunegger, took his first heliski guests to heliskiing with STHS 35 years ago!

 

 

5. What percentage of your clients do a single day?

40-60%. Since we are ‘turning over’ guests daily rather than weekly, this allows us to accommodate many more people each week in our Day Heli programs than our multiday programs. However, we find that many single day clients end up adding at least a 2nd day to their experience and a lot will come back the following year for multiday packages!

heliskiing adamants and selkirks, revelstoke heli-skiing canada

6. Can you please summarize the three single day packages?

Day Heli Experience – a great introduction to heliskiing including 3 runs Day Heli Advanced – for skiers/boarders with previous heliski and/or extensive backcountry experience. Includes 3,000 vertical meters rather than the 3 runs incl. in the Experience package.Private DayStar – our premiere day heliskiing experience. You and up to 3 friends in your own helicopter with your own guide experiencing all our terrain has to offer! Includes 5,000 vertical meters of skiing. [DayStar in an A-Star, clever]

ALL these packages also include breakfast, lunch, and après-ski snack, ski/board rentals, ACMG certified ski guide, safety equipment and training. Extra runs/meters available for a fixed rate (based on weather, time and group consensus).

 

heli ski revelstoke bc, revelstoke heli-skiing canada

 

Small choppers are also an option from Selkirk Tangiers Heli Skiing

7. What is the most popular multi-day package?

We see lots of guests booking our 3 Day Classic packages because it is a great fit for busy schedules. The 6 and 7 day Classic packages still tend to be very popular however, lots of people are still looking for that traditional week-long heliski experience!

 

8. Tell us about lodging for multi-day guests?

We are based out of the Coast Hillcrest Hotel, located 5-min from downtown Revelstoke. A beautiful rustic log themed hotel, there are plenty of amenities (spa, hot tubs, fantastic dining room, lounge, work out facility, STHS retail shop etc.) for our guests to enjoy.

 

heli-skiing, heli ski canada revelstoke

 

Best Day Ever Groundhog Day

9. What other multi-day packages are available?

We have Private AStar packages for groups of 4 or 8, flying from the Hillcrest Hotel, Nelsen Lodge or Bighorn Lodge (at the base of RMR).

New this season we have a special 3 day Women’s Retreat (Jan.7-10 and Mar.10-13) just for the ladies, a 3 day AStar Steep Camp (Mar.3-6 and Mar.17-20) for clients looking to explore some of our more aggressive terrain and get more vertical, and our new Lift and Heliski combo incl. transfers from Kelowna airport, 6 nights accommodation, 2 ski days at Revelstoke Mountain Resort, plus 3 heliski days with STHS.

 

10. What is the average vertical for a day at Selkirk-Tangiers Heliskiing Canada?

Depends on a number of factors – what the weather is doing, time of year, what package the guests are booked for. Typically we will see a range of 1,500-3,000 vertical meters per day for our day packages and 3,000-5,000 for our mult-iday packages. However, if we have plenty of light, great weather and keen skiers/boarders, we can see groups skiing up to 8,000+vertical meters some days!!

 

heliski revelstoke bc, revelstoke heli-skiing

 

Tree Skiing from Revelstoke

11. Tell us about your Heli Ski Only packages.

These packages offer a little more flexibility for our guests. They can still ski with STHS but are free to arrange accommodations for elsewhere in Revelstoke. Available for certain 1, 2 and 3 day packages.

 

12. What are the options for Privates?

Our private packages can be 1-7 days in length, with our 3,,4,5 and 7 day AStar packages including lodging at the Hillcrest hotel. Shorter private AStar packages can be arranged without accommodation for clients who already have somewhere to stay in Revelstoke.

Revelstoke Heli-Skiing, heliski revelstoke bc canada

 

Revelstoke Heli-Skiing

 

13. If the weather grounds the chopper, can guests go catski or make it to the Revelstoke Mountain Resort in time to get a full day?

Multi-day packages: if there is a down day during your multi-day package, guests have the option to go to the ski resort. The group’s guide will drive the group there/back and ski with them; lunch and lift ticket will be provided. If at the end of the package, guests haven’t reached their guaranteed heliski vertical for weather reasons, we will refund at a set rate for the unskied meters.Day Heli packages: Guests will get a full refund plus have the opportunity to get a ride to the ski resort if their heli day is cancelled first thing in the morning. If they do go out and at the end of the package guests haven’t reached their guaranteed heliski vertical, we will refund at a set rate for the unskied meters/runs.

 

heliskiing revelstoke, helicopter skiing revelstoke bc canada

 

2 Edges or 4…

14. What percentage of your guests are heliboarding?

Hard to say, but it seems to be around 30-40%. It’s definitely not just for skiers, we’re happy taking skiers and boarders out and have a great fleet of rental powder skis & boards to choose from.

heliboarding revelstoke, heli-boardging revelstoke bc canada

15. Is there anything else you would like to tell us about Selkirk Tangiers Heli Skiing?

There’s a reason we’re still offering up heliskiing and boarding for our guests after being around for 35 years – we know what we’re doing and our guests love it, coming back winter after winter! Revelstoke is a world-renowned destination for heliskiing for good reason and we’ve done our best to provide just that for thousands of our guests from all over the world.

 

Thanks. I hope to get back up there to Revelstoke to make some turns with you soon!

Best,

tj

Tom Jackson
CPO (Chief Powder Officer)
HELISKI.com
HeliskiingReview.com
WhistlerHeliski.com
HEIBOARD.com
866-HELISKI
(866-435-4754)

 

Interview with Coast Range Heliskiing, Whistler Blackcomb Heli-Skiing BC Canada

 

Check out the latest in our series of Heliskiing Operator Interviews.

Also check out the New Blog Look – Comments Appreciated

Let us know if you want advice on the best trip for your group, too.
tj
Whistler’s Coast Range Heliskiing Interview – HELISKI.com and HeliskiingReview.com 15 Questions with Coast Range Heliskiing  originally posted Nov 16, 2011 09:45 am | Tom Jackson

For starters, my partner Mike and I want to thank you for your generosity. When Mike’s grandson was in a bad accident, you offered a heliski trip to the charity auction on his behalf. Thanks again, Tyler!

 

1. When does the season open for Coast Range Heliskiing from Whistler?

We are set to fly our first tour December 10th, 2011.

heli skiing canada, whistler helicopter skiing

Escape Whistler-Blackcomb

 

 

2. What do clients need to do to get your 10% advanced booking discount?

To take advantage of our early booking offer guests must make their 2011-2012 heliski booking before November 31st.

 

3. What if they have to change dates or cancel?

We have a 24 hr cancellation policy so guests always have the chance to re-schedule should something unexpected pop up.

 

4. Where is your terrain, in relation to Whistler-Blackcomb Resort?

Coast Range Heliskiing operates in several areas North-East of the Whistler-Blackcomb Resort. Guests are picked up in Whistler village and taken on a quick 20 min chauffeured ride out to our home base in the quaint town of Pemberton where they will board the helicopter to ski/board in our Mount Currie zone.

heli ski canada, canadian heli-skiing

Coast Range Heliskiing Terrain Map

 

5. What made you decide to pioneer small group heliskiing in Whistler?

Some heli-ski companies ski in large groups of 10 or more. We like to offer a more personalized service where you get to know your guide, so we limit the group size to just four or five guests. Skiing in small groups makes it easier to match ability levels, reducing wait times and maximizing vertical so you’ll do more skiing/riding and ultimately end in a better experience.

 

6. What helicopters do you use, and how many groups per ship?

We fly in the A-star and Bell 407 helicopters. Both are fast dynamic machines that are quiet and nimble in the mountains providing a luxury experience for the smaller groups of 4-5 guests, maximum of 3 groups, that we specialize in.


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7. Describe a typical day of heli-skiing with Coast Range Heliskiing.

Guests are picked up at one of our 3 Whistler locations at 7:45am. They are then driven 20 minutes north in our comfortable vans to our base in nearby Pemberton. Upon arrival at our base facility they will be welcomed by our friendly staff with hot coffee and a light continental breakfast while completing some formalities including our comprehensive release of liability.

Guests then receive a safety briefing from both the pilot and guide. The group is then divided into groups of 4 or 5 based on skill level or specific request. As safety is our main concern guests will go over a complete safety briefing with their guide which includes a personal transceiver orientation. After mastering the use of the personal transceiver guests will be introduced to the pilot who will take them through the helicopter safety orientation.

Lift off is approximately 10.00am. Typically we complete 2 or 3 runs prior to lunch which is served in the alpine amidst snow capped mountains and beautiful frozen lakes. Guests will take in the crisp fresh mountain air and soak up the view. After lunch guests are refueled and ready for more glorious powder runs in the pristine alpine. Once guests have completed all the runs in their package they do have the option of purchasing additional runs at $95pp until the days end between 3-4pm when they return to the base for après-ski and a photo slideshow of the day. Then it’s finally time to prepare for the quick trip back to Whistler.

 

8. If the weather looks sketchy to fly, do you tell your guests to stay in town and ski Whistler-Blackcomb?

If it looks as though we won’t be able to fly we do try and let our guests know in advance so they can make alternate arrangements to switch their heliski trip to a different day and enjoy one of Whistler’s many other attractions, which could include skiing on the mountain.

 

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Deep, eh?

9. Do you usually have space on short notice, or should guests make a reservation before they get to Whistler?

We always recommend guests book in advance to secure their spots and also to get the best deal. We have a 24hr cancellation policy so if guests arrive in Whistler and decide that they would like to change their dates we are happy to accommodate them. Our booking office is centrally located in Whistler village across from the Whistler Gondola and we are happy to help out our guests.

 

10. Other than a Private, you offer 4-run and 6-run packages.

($960 for 4 runs; $1150 for 6 runs).

How much vertical does each usually get?

Our 4 run packages typically enjoys between 6,000-12,000 vertical feet of skiing, while our 6 run guests typically ski 9,000-18,000 vertical feet. It’s not unusual to get 4,000 vertical feet per run with a strong group on days when the conditions are in our favour. [Sweeeeeet!]

 

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Ooooooooh Yeeaaaaaaahh

11. How much are extra runs?

Extra runs are $95 per person.

 

12. What percentage of your guests buy extra runs, and how many?

75-80%, 1-2 extra runs.

 

13. What percentage of your guests are heli-boarders?

About 35% are heli-boarders; a number that has increased over the past 10 years.

 

14. Do you provide powder boards for guests?

We are happy to arrange for rentals of new powder snowboards through our rental partner in Whistler.

 

15. Anything else you want to add about Coast Range Heliskiing Whistler?

Coast Range Heliskiing is the boutique heliskiing operator in Whistler. We work hard to offer an unforgettable service to our guests, one that they will remember for their entire lifetime!

 

tj

Tom Jackson
CPO (Chief Powder Officer)
HELISKI.com
HeliskiingReview.com
WhistlerHeliski.com
HEIBOARD.com
866-HELISKI
(866-435-4754)

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Knowledge is Powder!

Interview with Purcell Heli Skiing Golden

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Purcell Heli Skiing (Now CMH Heli Skiing):  50,000 Heli Skiers Can’t Be Wrong!

Check Our Purcell Heli-Skiing Canada Location

Purcell Heli Skiing Golden interview by Tom Jackson, HELISKI.com

1.  Purcell Heli Skiing Golden has been around for 40 years! 50,000 people have heliskied with you – that’s amazing! What has changed since you started?

In fact, 2023 will be our 49th year in operation, all under the same ownership and leadership. We’ve certainly seen a lot of smiling faces over the years. The technology has changed the most. From the beacons, the skis and the helicopter itself, the tools we use to do the job have evolved substantially, and I’m sure will continue to evolve.

Consumer choice, too, has expanded. There are so many different ways to enjoy heli-skiing now, with different group sizes, customized programs, in-lodge week-long trips or daily tours. Guests want to learn more about being in the mountains, be more involved. Education and insider information really adds to the experience – it’s a great change to see.

2.  Is it true that British Columbia heli skiing started in the Purcell Mountains?

Yes – the birthplace of heli-skiing was only 50 km south of our operation, in the Bugaboo range of the Purcells. Golden and the surrounding area boasts an impressive legacy in mountain guiding and heli-skiing. This year we’re celebrating 100 years of adventure tourism in Golden. Heli-skiing has been part of that since the 60′s.

3. What has remained the same at Purcell Heli Skiing Golden?

That’s easy – our outlook. From day one, it’s been about the guest experience. That has meant starting small, staying small, and devoting ourselves to quality customer service, even as standards and expectations have fallen elsewhere. It’s not just chasing vertical records here; we want to give our guests an adventure they’ll remember forever. We pay attention to people, and it’s a satisfying job to help people’s dreams come true!

Golden opportunity to go heliskiing in Golden, BC Canada

Purcell-Heli-skiing-Canada-lz

4. You are the closest heliski operator to Banff, and right next to Kicking Horse (the Jackson Hole of Canada, eh?). Are most of your clients adding heliskiing to a resort ski vacation?

Yes, and it’s really a perfect combination. Kicking Horse attracts all kinds of skiers and riders, but it’s definitely known as a mountain with lots of advanced terrain to offer. The big vertical and powder stashes in the chutes are a great warm-up for heli-skiing. A day in the heli is the icing on the cake, and a must-do for many international travelers ticking off the Canada bucket list.

5. What one-day packages do you offer at Purcell Helicopter Skiing Golden?

As part of the Classic program, guests can choose between a 3 or 5-run package. We ski as a group of 10 with 2 guides in a 205 helicopter. The Classic combines unforgettable adventure and superior value, making it a great choice all around.

The Semi-Private is another single-day program, where a group of 5 or more friends share the cost of all 10 seats in the 205 helicopter. It’s a chance to hand-pick your fellow heli-skiers and riders to match everyone to the same pace and ability.

Finally, the Private Program can be done for a single day and provides the ultimate small-group experience. With room for up to 4 guests, everyone rides in a private A-Star helicopter with their private guide. [Schwing! and Cha Ching!]

No matter what program you choose, we create a welcoming environment for you to feel comfortable and enjoy everything that heli-skiing has to offer – untouched terrain, incredible snow, and breathtaking views. All programs include a full safety briefing, safety equipment, packed lunch, après-ski platter and souvenir pins and stickers.

6. What does it cost to buy extra runs at Purcell Heli Skiing?

Extra runs are sold at $85 per person per run. If guests choose to upgrade straight from 3 to 5 runs, we simply charge the difference in the package rates.

Thank you Sir, May I Have Another?!

heliskiing purcell mountains solo Purcell Heli Skiing Canada Interview: 15 Questions with HELISKI.com and HeliskiingReview.com

7. How about multi-day packages at Purcell Helicopter Skiing Golden?

Flexibility is the name of the game here. Guests may select our Classic, Semi-Private or Private program, or any mix of the three, and book any number of days, consecutive or with breaks in between. Then you just multiply the daily rate by the number of days you’d like to heli-ski.

8. HELISKI.com has sent many satisfied clients to Purcell Helicopter Skiing. Thank you! What percentage of your guests are repeat offenders?

It seems like more every year. We often warn first-time guests that heli-skiing is a very addictive sport! Although we see plenty of new faces each year, a good third of our business comes from repeats. Our guests really like the convenience of access Purcell provides, plus the personal touch that makes a small, family-owned business hard to beat.

9. I spent a week in Golden one night. What do your clients do on ‘down days’?

The beauty of our setup is down days don’t keep guests trapped in a remote lodge, with only board games, napping or beer to fill the day (not to knock beer, of course). Because our operation is right in Golden, guests can have access to Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, which is typically in great shape if the weather is too heavy for flying. You never have to worry you’ll miss a day of skiing.

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10. Purcell Heli Skiing’s former owner, Rudi Gertsch, was an early advocate for heliski safety. Didn’t he help found what is now HeliCat Canada?

He did, yes. Rudi was part of the earliest seasons at CMH Bugaboos, when heli-skiing was brand new. When he was ready to start an operation of his own, he and other early operators saw the potential for promotion through cooperation. In 1978, the British Columbia Helicopter and Snowcat Skiing Operators Association (later renamed HeliCat Canada)[wonder why BCHASSOA never caught on….small wonder] was formed to define safety standards and operational guidelines. British Columbia has since become a leading destination of heli-skiing, recognized worldwide.

11. The Purcells are famous for light, dry snow. Can you compare and contrast with some of the other famous mountain ranges like Selkirks, Monashees, Cariboo and Coast?

Within the Interior ranges, you generally see a deeper snowpack as you trend from East to West, from the Rockies to the Monashees. With increased precip. comes more moisture and more overcast days, too. The Purcells fall right in the middle, or even East of middle. Our snowpack isn’t often as deep as what the Monashees may have, but our geography brings us drier conditions and more sunny days. That keeps our snow light and fast – that notorious Champagne Powder.

The Coast ranges are a different beast altogether, and have incredible skiing too. What you don’t see as often on the Coast is the nice dry, fluffy conditions we get here. The snow quality in the Interior is hard to beat, and explains the high density of heli-ski, cat-ski, and other backcountry operators.

12. How many of your guests are heli-boarding?

Probably about 25% are riders, but they’re 100% welcome.

100% Welcome

boarder n chopper 1024x768 Purcell Heli Skiing Canada Interview: 15 Questions with HELISKI.com and HeliskiingReview.com

13. When does the Purcell Helicopter Skiing season open and close?

The actual open and close dates change each year, as we get underway and shut down according to client interest. Anywhere from December 1 to May 1 is good to go. People are often surprised that we still heli-ski into April, but some of the best days we can remember have happened in the spring. We still have killer snow to enjoy, so don’t take out your golf clubs/bike/kayak too early!

14. Do you offer deals to groups at Purcell Heli Skiing Golden?

If you’re a group of 6 to 10 people, we offer a percent discount based on the number of participants. So a group of 6 gets 6% off, a group of 7 gets 7% off, and so on. With a group of 10, you can choose between 10% off for everyone, or a free seat for the group leader. For some larger groups, one person does all the organization, so there’s an option for that person to get a free trip.

15. Anything else you would like to add about Purcell Heli Skiing Golden?

It’s a simple formula that has persisted all these years: love what you do, do it well, share it with others. Experience is what matters – ours and yours. Let it snow!

Purcell Hei Boarding Golden BC

Setting Sun, back to Calgary……

Call if you want to learn more or book your trip!

866-HELISKI

tj

Tom Jackson

CPO (Chief Powder Officer)

HELISKI.com

866-HELISKI – (866-435-4754)

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12 Minutes to First Tracks Heliskiing – from Downtown Vancouver!

Powder Mountain Heli-skiing and Heli-boarding is one of the three operators heliskiing Whistler-Blackcomb.

Powder Mountain just announced that you can Heli Ski from down town Vancouver B.C.! They did their first recon trip last week, and the first run is 12 minutes from the harbour heli port.

If you live in Vancouver and want to go HeliSkiing but don’t want to fight the traffic to Whistler, there is now an option.

Or, you can heliski your way to Whistler. Your bags will go by ground and meet you at your hotel!

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Call if you want to learn more or book your trip! 866-HELISKI
tj
Tom Jackson
CPO (Chief Powder Officer)
HELISKI.com
HELIBOARD.com
866-HELISKI
(866-435-4754)

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Expert Advice – Knowledge is Powder

Heliskiing British Columbia Canada in March

Knowledge Is Powder ™ – March Heliskiing – We still have great options!

A group of 4 wanted 4 days in March. I was worried that many of our favorite operators were booked.
But we came up with six great possibilities!  Two with catskiing backup.

But, first, a cool picture:

Heliskiing British Columbia Canada in March
Still Good Trips Available for March
  • OPTIONS
  • One for $4995
  • Another one for $3820
  • One 5 day / 6 night trip for $6700.
  • One four day, plus two half-days, for a total of 5 days.  Fly up from Vancouver in the AM, ski that PM, ski 3 full days, ski AM, fly back PM.  Pretty cool.
  • One with unlimited vertical for $7555
  • Another with unlimited vertical for only $5400

Lots of great options. Of course the all vary on other criteria, like travel, location, size and number of groups, etc., etc. That’s where we come in. Given what is important to you, we can find the ultimate trip, because……..

Knowledge Is Powder!

Call or email if you want our free advice.  866-HELISKI

Happy Holidays,
tj

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Whistler Heli Skiing Operator Interview. 15 Questions with Heli Skiing Whistler Blackcomb – HELISKI.com

Whistler Heli Skiing Interview with HELISKI.com

Whistler Heli Skiing is one of two operators offering Whistler Blackcomb heli skiing.  We recently visited with Whistler Heli Skiing, the original Whistler helicopter skiing operator. Enjoy!

1. Whistler Heli Skiing has been completing bucket lists since 1983. You must lead the world in bucket list fulfillment. How often does a guest say “Best Day Ever?”

Every time we go Heliskiing Whistler guests are ecstatic and pumped from the day they had. Whether it be their first time or their 20th time we have the terrain and the snow to keep guests having “the best day ever!”

 

2. Whistler Heli Skiing offers 3, 4 and 5 run packages. What do most clients choose?

We actually offer 3, 4 and 6 run packages. We recommend picking a package that suits your ability, pace of skiing and or your goals for the day. Most first timers start with a 3 or 4 run package depending on their ski experience especially in powder.

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3. Can guests buy extra runs? How much?

Yes we typically offer extra runs depending on the day (conditions, weather, timing).  $120-140 Can.

4. What is your average vertical per run?

  • 4 runs (approx. 6,000 – 10,000 vertical feet, or 1,800 – 3,500 vertical meters of skiing)
  • 6 runs (approx. 9,000 – 15,000 vertical feet. or 2,700 – 4,600 vertical meters of skiing).

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5. Does Whistler Heli Skiing recommend lodging for your guests?

Most guests are in the resort of Whistler for a couple of days skiing on Whistler Blackcomb or doing other activities as well as heli-skiing. That’s one of the best things about Heli Skiing Whistler is that there numerous options for places to stay in Whistler based on your budget, or other requirements. We typically recommend staying in Whistler the night before to check in and get ready for your Heli-day. We always make the final call on whether we can go Heli-skiing or have to cancel due to weather the morning of.

6. How many guests are in each lift?

It depends on the package you purchase. The 3 and 4 run packages are in the Bell 205 Helicopter which typically holds between 7-10 guests. The 6 run package is in the Bell 407 which holds up to a maximum of 5 guests.

7. How many lifts per helicopter?

Depending on the time of year and volume of guests we have up to 3 groups per helicopter.

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8. What happens if the weather does not cooperate?

If Whistler Heli Skiing has to cancel due to poor weather we offer guests a FULL Refund and or the ability to move to the next available day or try to get them out on the next they want to go.

9. So you have a photographer / videographer?

Yes it is included in the 3 and 4 run packages. A photographer will work with each group to take some photos and a video of one run of each group.

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10. How many of your guests are heli-boarding?

I’d think 30-40% of our guests are heli-boarders.

11. Do you have powder snowboards for your guests?

Yes Whistler Heli Skiing (WHS) has many great powder boards to rent. We highly recommend boarders use them as it makes the day so much easier and fun to really float on the fresh snow.

12. When does the Whistler Heli Skiing season open?

Season dates for 2011-12 are Dec 3rd 2011- April 22nd 2011

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13. Can guests get a deal if they book more multiple days?

Yes we offer $100 off and free rentals for subsequent days within the season.

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14. Do you offer deals to groups?

Depending on the time of year and availability WHS does offer some incentive for groups of 10 or more people to pre-book Heli-skiing.

15. Anything else you would like to add about Whistler Heli Skiing?

Just beyond the ski lifts of Whistler and Blackcomb, minutes from North America’s #1-ranked Ski Resort, awaits the ultimate high-alpine experience. Imagine carving through untracked powder, endless terrain and breath-taking scenery. With hundreds of ski runs, there is a tremendous variety of slopes to accommodate all levels of skiers and boarders from intermediate to expert. The skiing varies from wide-open glaciers to beautiful gladed tree runs. The heli-ski area is made up of several zones and is approximately 50 miles north/south by 30 miles east/west (80km by 50km). Your guide will select terrain within a zone according to snowfall, the weather, and your group’s ability.

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Thanks. See you in Whistler!

Best,

tj

Tom Jackson
CPO (Chief Powder Officer)
HELISKI.com
866-HELISKI
(866-435-4754)

Expert Advice – Knowledge is Powder

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Escape from the Lift Lines!