Early on last summer, I experienced a very difficult time in my life, after I suffered a serious road biking accident. I was first hospitalized, underwent surgery, then was out of all action, recovering for six months with strong pain from four badly broken ribs and a punctured, then collapsed lung. However, I was grateful that my injuries were not permanent, many others are not so lucky. With this in mind, I was determined to experience that missed summer in a special and powerful way at the next available opportunity. I thought why not head down to South America for an epic adventure, the best they can offer?
At the victory press conference for the 2013 America’s Cup, a reporter asked Jimmy Spithill, captain of Team Oracle USA, how he felt to be down 8-1 ‘matchpoint’ as it were, in the middle of the yacht racing series, after four long years of work, and with Team Oracle USA owner Larry Ellison, breathing down his neck. His answer was telling. Jimmy replied ‘It was very motivating’. I don’t think anyone would have expected or thought of that to be his answer, yet, it precisely described the only possible mindset that could allow Team Oracle USA to be able to crawl back from what appeared to be an impossible position to proceed to win the Cup from under the Kiwis expectant noses. That sheer determination to do better, to be singularly focused, and motivated at a time when everyone expected they would be discouraged and perhaps have lost all hope, was nothing short of remarkable.
'To the truly engaged, work and play are one and the same', Bill Tai (Silicon Valley Entrepreneur, Pro Kite Surfer, and Co-Founder of Mai Tai)
What happens when you combine some of the world's most promising entrepreneurs, a buzzing kite surfing community, and the hottest kite boarding pros from all four corners of the world? It's called 'Mai Tai', and I am not sure when you last took up a new sport, but here’s my story of losing my snow kiting virginity. Skiing with a windy twist!
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.
Come and see how incredible January is and you will be back again and again. My clients know how much I love heli skiing in January. More than half of my Heliski tours have been hosted in January.
January features “light blower powder” snow, temperate weather, the start of longer days, and the right antidote to cure any post-holiday blues – those addictive first tracks. It also is less crowded than February, and often less expensive to go heli skiing only because of lower demand, not because of conditions.
Heli skiing and boarding may be portrayed in extreme films as for experts only, but for us mere mortals the reality is thankfully very different. I am personally not an ex racer, nor an ex freestyler, nor a pro. I am just a very experienced, keen skier, with a hunger for powder and an attitude that seeks thrills and adventure. While heli skiing is certainly not for beginners or under-confident skiers, the wonderful experiences it affords are accessible to anyone capable of tackling with aplomb red and black runs in all conditions.
Speak to the experts at Total Heliski and we’ll soon reassure you that the level of ability needed to heliski or board depends on the type of terrain you’ll be skiing, the level of the other skiers in the group, and the time of year you go. And with the breadth of destinations we offer, there is a location out there that suits your ability perfectly.
In case you haven’t noticed, I love heli skiing. So much so that I started my own company based on one simple premise: Guide my clients to discover and visit locations and experiences that I love to ski. Period.
I get asked all the time, ‘Where is the best location to heliski’, and my answer is ‘Well, every where’. That’s why I created the ‘Total Heliski World of Adventure’. It’s all there for the taking. Here is the quick lowdown on some of our top locations:
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.
After an awesome winter of 2012 adventure heli skiing and heli boarding some of the best locations on earth, I had added some top heli skiing spots in Canada and an epic Total Heliski Tour to heliski the Himalayas to my repertoire. But like Yin and Yang, this year as summer rolled around, I felt something was missing. Then I remembered it was two years since I had been scuba diving. I don’t recall what happened in 2011, but my knee reconstruction recovery took most of my attention away from my favourite adventure activities, including scuba diving. During my last scuba trip to the Red Sea (See Part A of this blog), I’d vowed from now on to focus on ‘destination diving’ (the heliski equivalent) via purpose-built live aboard multi day scuba trips.
If you are a keen powder skier or heliskier like me, you are probably equally as adventurous in the summer time. For me, one of the summer sports I love is scuba diving. But like my skiing passion, I decided a long time ago that life is too short to waste, so I wanted to indulge in scuba diving only in the best spots around the world – the heli-skiing Canada equivalent of no less than the deepest, fluffiest powder under bluebird skies. In diving terms, it’s the clearest, bluest, warmest water, with the most abundant fish and corals, plus the chance to see big, audacious creatures like sharks, manta rays, or large turtles.
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.
The Queens Diamond Jubilee was an impressive extravaganza concluding without a hitch in the UK this past weekend. I think I join many other proud and patriotic Brits in taking my hat off to the UK for orchestrating yet another successful celebration with such pomp and ceremony following on from last year’s Royal Wedding. Few other nations could pull off such events to the scale and precision that the Brits do, and this must surely contribute to the perpetuation of tradition from which the UK tourism industry thrives.
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.
The Central British Columbia region is well known for a plethora of heliski operations, after all this is where heli skiing was born.
But there is an area in mid-northern BC where moose and the ethereal white Kermode bear begin to replace the population. It’s also no coincidence that it is home to some of the best heli skiing the world has to offer.