Heli-yeah! Heli-skiing or heli-boarding is an extreme winter sport for getting in the elements to enjoy the rush of speed and powder in the high country.
When it gets cold and snowy, extreme sports riders can head out for some wild action in the wintery conditions for helicopter skiing. Heli-skiing or heli-boarding is for experienced adventurers and adrenaline junkies who enjoy the snow and experiencing skiing in places that are otherwise inaccessible. Helicopters take riders backcountry skiing in avalanche areas and the traverses are long, so skiers and boarders must be extremely intrepid as well as physically fit.
“Skiing is a dance, and the mountain always leads.” – Author Unknown
Heli-Skiing and Heli-Boarding
Outfitters with helicopters take skiers and snowboarders out off the beaten path and drop them onto a snowy slope for an intense, powder-fest. A ski lift is not extreme enough for skiers and boarders who enjoy the natural conditions of steep slopes, untouched powder and a variety of terrain on which to ride. Depending on the heli-skiing outfitter and location, riders may ski or board their way out with a guide, or simply opt for using a helicopter as an alternative to a ski lift; either way, this kind of riding is not for the inexperienced or faint of heart.
Heliskiing can be rather extravagant, depending on one’s budget and different riding locations. A single heli-ski run costs about $150 USD. It can cost upwards of $1000 per day, with packages of a few days costing $5000-$12,000 or more. There are many resorts that offer heli-skiing, equipment, experienced guides and accommodations that have been in existence for over three decades. Whistler in British Columbia, Canada, is one of heli-skiing’s longest running programs, as is HeliTrax in Telluride, CO.
The Ruby Mountains in Nevada is exclusively for heli-skiing and boarding; there are no lifts and no lines. This remote resort is isolated, has tons of untouched powder for extreme winter sports and first class accommodations. Ruby Mountain has also been available for heli-skiing for over 30 years and it remains one of the most breathtaking places to ride as well as one of the most luxurious.
Heli-skiing Worldwide Extreme Winter Sport
Heli-skiing and heli- boarding operators are available worldwide: in the U.S., Canada, the Himalayas, Iceland, Greenland, New Zealand, the Andes, and Europe. Helicopters need to have access to places to take off and land, but are able to get riders out into the wilderness. The sport has brought up issues of disturbing the natural environment and carbon footprint in untouched areas, so as with most extreme sports it is not without controversy. For fans of back-country riding it’s a great way for skiers and boarders to get to ride in spots that are unique, challenging, and somewhat exclusive.
In the U.S. and Canada there are places to heli-ski where the helicopter functions as an alternative to the ski lift; riders aren’t dropped off to mountaineer their way back down, but get shuttled up to the top of a mountain a few times to take runs down. It’s a great way to enjoy untracked snow and unique riding opportunities and a less risky heli-skiing option. There are heli-skiing packages to remote areas worldwide and plenty of options whether it’s for one day or a week of adventure. Pack up the gear and hit the powder off the snow pack for an extreme ride.