I was out running yesterday, thinking about Race Yourself, the defunct AR Google Glass app company I briefly joined in 2013 where you run against your own avatar to improve performance. I was wondering when that sort of AR might be a reality, then this led my thoughts onto the area of VR.It seems more promising judging by the amount of recent funding raised, and the explosion of startups building the ecosystem including the biggies like Jaunt, and Occulus.
In my last blog, I wrote about the various legends I’ve met around Squaw Valley. I wrote about all sorts of interesting, and rad skiers and boarders I’ve met.
Well there was someone I failed to mention, because I didn’t know he existed, and as it turns out- he’s not a skier or a boarder. To think I had to travel to Alaska to meet one more Squaw ‘Legend’.
All work and no play makes Jack (or Jill) a dull boy (/girl) (as the saying goes).
In the course of my day-to-day technology career as a business development professional, I meet a lot of great people all the time. It never ceases to amaze me how many of them seem to have noticed my heli ski lifestyle business from my Linked In profile. (I sometimes wonder how we survived in business before LinkedIn existed).
As I embarked on my second day of water kite boarding with Alan and Xantos from 4elementskiteboarding, this time the wind was right in the stunning La Ventana bay. I was told by Alan (my instructor) that La Ventana was named the best kite boarding location in the world. At the top of the top 10 for consistent wind and conditions of the location (the beach orientation is perfect for downwind kiting). As I looked out to the bay, I couldn’t help but think, they might be right. It was gorgeous. Now, let Battle Day 2 begin!!
A fellow kiter in the bar in La Ventana taught me the saying ‘KBWOW’. It means ‘Kite-Board-Wind-Obstacles-Water’. And that means, these are ALL of the variables that you must continuously, consistently and eloquently manage as part of your kite boarding experience. They should have added ‘AF’- arms-feet. I.e. What I’ve become aware of in kite boarding is that, unlike skiing in which you manage activity mainly from the waist down, kiting is a four limb activity, to help you manage KBWOW. It’s really intense and I can only imagine satisfying once you can master this. No wonder so many Type-A tech executives do this sport I thought.
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. I know I’ve written about this before in my HaylesTrails blog.
Well, today, I had my first day of waterborne kite boarding lessons in the sleepy Mexican fishing village of La Ventana on the Baja peninsula. This town gets overtaken by kite boarders and windsurfers every winter, because of its consistent winds and perfect orientation for down-winding on a kite board. It’s a paradise from every which way you look, and pleasantly un-commercial. There are very few hotels and restaurants, just a couple of bars and no tourist shops. There’s but one kite board shop, a few more kite board schools, and everything revolves around just a few places, meaning in any given week, you’re likely to run into the same kiters again and again. If you’re from the West Coast of USA or Canada, and a keen kiter, you’re likely to bump into folks from home as I did. You learn quickly the meaning of ‘Baja Time’, which is that everything pretty much shuts down by 9 or latest 10pm each night. Such is the pull of the promise of next days’ wind, and the addiction and commitment of the worshipers to the religion of kiting! All very ‘genial’, as the French would say.
Today, Christmas Day, 2014 is the first day of my first ever kite boarding holiday. I’ve done lessons in San Francisco before, but this is my first dedicated holiday to this new sport, which has, for years now intrigued me. And to be honest, I did it with intrepidation at the potential frustration I am going to experience trying to learn a new, sport now, and at the same time concerned for the FOMO (Fear of missing out) I’d possibly experience by not heli skiing at this time of year.
We’ve all been watching with wonder and amazement the performances and emotional achievements of the worlds best winter athletes at The Sochi Olympics. Whilst also hearing the back story of this being the $51 billion Olympics, where not everything was ready on time, and the tap water is also a gold, silver and bronze colour! Sochi, and the resort of Krasnaya Polyana where many of the events are staged, was a small, rustic Russian village and ski hill up until the start of the games. I saw this first hand when I went there to heliski four years ago.
In January 2010, I had the rare opportunity to visit Russia in the middle of winter. Sochi had just been awarded the Olympics, and I had been in contact with a French company who had pioneered heli skiing in that region of Russia. Sochi, I would learn was the gateway to some amazing heli skiing in the Krasna Polyana area, but also Abkhazia in Georgia, just a few hours drive away.
It didn’t need to be a full-on powder day for me to recognise Mt Baker as a hidden gem in a world of powder options. I arrived on one of the busiest days of the season, with foggy, overcast skies, and several days since fresh powder had fallen. However, these conditions didn’t detract from the fact that Mt Baker had (and often has) the deepest snow base in the world.It didn’t need to be a full-on powder day for me to recognise Mt Baker as a hidden gem in a world of powder options. I arrived on one of the busiest days of the season, with foggy, overcast skies, and several days since fresh powder had fallen. However, these conditions didn’t detract from the fact that Mt Baker had (and often has) the deepest snow base in the world.
I’ve written previously about the amazing experience of heliskiing endless powder, remote wilderness, incredible views, awesome lodge experiences. I used to think heli skiing in Canada or Alaska is pretty exotic, cool, epic- all those words. But then, I went heli skiing in The Himalayas and that changed my view on everything.
When i started heli skiing (read – pre internet proliferation), I had no idea about the extent to where you could go heli skiing, thinking options were limited to a couple of locations in Canada and Alaska. So, it was my mission when I started Total Heliski ,my heliski media and travel company, that I would open up the global possibilities of heli skiing and boarding to my members and clients. As such, The Total Heliski World of Adventure was formed, and this is my story about heli skiing further afield than Canada or Alaska. About heli skiing in the remote, majestic Himalayan peaks of the Himachal Pradesh region of India.
The saying bigger is better, but is that necessarily true? When it comes to the premium heliski experience, we are firm believers that bigger choppers aren’t necessarily better, and here’s why.
When embarking on a heliski adventure, your morning usually begins around 7am. Over breakfast the group’s energy and excitement mounts in anticipation of the day to come. Gazing outside, several feet of fresh powder snow has completely covered the once green and lush mountains, converting them into a winter wonderland. But what will really get your pulse racing is the sound of the approaching chopper, its blades whirring through the crisp air. The thud thud thud grows louder and everyone can see the small helicopter, the Bell 407, coming in to land.
Heli Skiing Canada: The first, and still the best.
In 1965, Hans Gmoser began the first commercial heli skiing operation in BC, Canada. Today, Western Canada commands more than 90% of the world’s market share. Here’s why it’s so popular.
1. It’s HUGE!
There’s nowhere like Canada for variety. Eight mountain ranges in BC alone provide the ideal terrain for skiers and boarders of all skill levels to experience the thrill of a helicopter ride to an untouched ridge. Hit a different run every day of the season, and you’ll never run out of fresh challenges.
2. Nature’s finest
We’ve all got our gripes with popular resorts. Lift line-ups a mile long; packed pistes; and when runs close, your ski pass still costs the same.
Well, whatever’s bringing your skiing holiday down, why not soar above it? With only yourself and the mountain for company, you can carve up the powder wilderness. Eat lunch looking out over seemingly infinite peaks; spot wildlife darting out of sight as you descend; and at night, relax by an open fire in a secluded lodge.
3. The never-ending season…
Well, spring’s arrived – time to stow away the skis and crack out the hiking boots, right?
Wrong! Canada’s unique geography allows winter to endure above the tree line right throughout April, keeping the snow beneath your feet just as light, fluffy, deep and fresh as it was in January.
And with places such as Banff and Jasper remaining open for resort skiing as late as mid-May, you’ve got the option of nudging the summer on the pistes, or enjoying a little warmth at ground level before jetting off to the Arctic, where it’s skiing season all year round.
If you’re interested in heli skiing Canada, browse our great package deals to find yourself the holiday of a lifetime.
With the ski season fast approaching, I have been inundated with questions from friends and clients on everything heli skiing. Their main questions, I call Heliski 101, and can be summarized in three words:
When? What? How?
When is the best time to go skiing?
What can I expect once I get there in terms of facilities?
How do I prepare for heli skiing?
So here’s my Heliski 101…
Not a lot really, but I thought this was a neat title to use for this blog entry about my recent experience at the 2010 (London) City Ski Championships.
Whilst Total Heliski members were flying through the pow-pow in Canada, Alaska, and Europe this season, Total Heliski set our sights on our mission to convert a whole bunch of neat, disciplined ski racers into free- willed, hedonistic heliskiers.