Heli-Boarding vs. Heli-Skiing

helisnowboarding, heliboarding trackheliskiing track, heliskier

Heliboarding vs. Heliskiing

The great debate:  heli skiing or helisnowboarding.   I do both, so I think I can be unbiased comparing and contrasting heliboarding and heliskiing.  So here are my advantages and disadvantages, helicopter skiing or helicopter snowboarding?  In order to help settle the debate (or perhaps ignite the fire, I’ll let you be the judge), here is a list of advantages and disadvantages to both heli-boarding and heli-skiing.

heliboarding air, helisnowboarding Bearpaw Heli Skiing air, helisnowboaringheli boarding big air, helisnowboarding jump

Advantages to Heli-Skiing over Heli-boarding

In a word: powder. Yes, it is the same for heliboarding and heliskiing, but it is the reason both are awesome.
Feel the rush of falling into deep powder, as you cut new tracks across the mountain. Skiers tend to sink, offering a unique experience that most helisnowboarders do not achieve.  Heliskiing deep powder can me losing your vision on the ‘down stroke.’

heli-skiing deep powder, heliskiing deep
Photo Credit:  Bella Coola Heli Sports

But it can happen on every other turn when heliboarding….

heliboarding spray, heel side heli boarding spray

Stepping into your bindings is much easier than sitting down to strap on a snowboard, and having to stand back up.  No benches in the backcountry for heliboarders.
Skis are arguably easier to handle and maneuver in voluminous amounts of powder.  Stopping and starting is easier than snowboarding, and a pair of poles is a big advantage.  I know, helisnowboarders, you can carry poles, too.  Picking a safe place to stop out of any obvious avalanche danger, is most important. Helisnowboarders must be able to get started again on your own, which is a bigger challenge.

helisnowboarding powder, heli boarding powder

Advantages of Helicopter Snowboarding / Heliboarding vs. Helicopter Skiing

Powder (yes, again). The smooth, untracked snow surface offers the sensation of surfing that most heliskiers do not achieve.

Speed. Let’s face it, helisnowboarding is faster, especially on big wide-open terrain.

heli-boarding speed, fast heliboardingheliboarding sunburst, heli boarding back lit heli-boarding cruiser, helisnowboarding cruiser

If anything, the biggest challenge for heliboarding may be finding a way to stop.  Speaking of stopping, be sure that you are up for the task of stopping when helisnowboarding.
Helicopter snowboarding can be the ultimate thrill for expert snowboarders.
When helisnowboarding you never cross your skies, catch an edge or lose a ski, issues to be handled when heliskiing. Those are huge advantages over heliskiing.
Helisnowboarding in variable conditions can be easier than heliskiing.  As the group descends, the snow can change consistency. A snowboard handles light and heavy snow better than skis.

Advantages to Both Helisnowboarding and Heli Skiing

Heli skiing and helisnowboarding both offer a chance to become one with the mountain.
You don’t have to stand in lift lines or ride chairlifts or snow machines….or hike!
Fresh powder doesn’t disappear by 9:30 – 10:00 AM when heli-skiing or heli-boarding, like it does at resorts.
The speed of the helicopter allows for many more runs and much more vertical than resort or backcountry skiing.
Accredited guides reduce the risks associated with backcountry or off piste skiing and riding.

And riding a chopper, moving in 3-day is very cool!

One more thing, apologies to Tom Petty, but neither are good to meet girls…..

Check out my interview with Ramp Snowboards and Skis about the best snowboards for helisnowboarding

helisnowboarding, helisnowboarding canada girl
girl heliboarding, heliboarding girl powder


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